Sad person on lake dock

Watching someone you love spiral out of control with addiction is not pleasant. At first, they might be able to keep it together, but eventually, you’ll notice their personal and professional lives deteriorate until they are the withered shell of the person you once knew.

You don’t have to stand by and watch your loved one crumble in such a way. While you can’t force them into drug detox or drug rehab, you can help them make that decision for themselves. Here are just a few steps to take if someone close to you is currently battling substance abuse issues.

Talk With Them About Their Substance Use

In some cases, your loved one might not even realize they have a problem. They might think they’re just having fun, when in fact, they’ve actually become mentally and physically dependent on the high drugs give them.

To break the ice and help them realize the error of their ways, you’ll need to talk with your loved one about their problems. Try to find a time when they’re not high or drunk, as they need to have as clear of a head as possible to truly hear what you’re saying. Use these tips to guide the conversation:

  • Use “I” statements to express your feelings and explain how this person’s substance abuse is affecting you. They might not realize their actions have hurt other people.
  • Don’t try to lecture, preach, guilt, or bribe. These actions might scare the person away or make them angry.
  • Explain that you’re concerned about their health and well-being, and use facts and evidence to support your fears.
  • Offer support throughout the recovery process, especially when it comes time to find the right drug or alcohol detox and rehab.

Go With Them to the Doctor

The first step in getting care for addiction is visiting a primary care doctor. Your loved one’s doctor can assess their health, determine whether or not their substance abuse qualifies as an addiction, and provide a referral for further treatment at either drug or alcohol rehab. For example, the primary care doctor might recommend a visit to:

  • A psychiatrist for medications or behavioral treatment.
  • A psychologist for behavioral treatment.
  • A social worker for behavioral treatment.
  • A drug and alcohol counselor for addiction-specific behavioral treatment.

Help Them Research Treatment Options

If you’re able to break through your loved one’s walls and convince them treatment is the right option, you’ll need to help them select a program. The possibilities are overwhelming, and when you factor in things like financing and living arrangements, the climb can seem nearly insurmountable. If you’re up for it, try to handle the fine-print details so all your loved one has to focus on is getting better.

Some forms of treatment to research include:

  • 12-step groups.
  • Inpatient programs.
  • Outpatient programs.
  • Behavioral therapies.
  • Medications.

Be There When They Need You

Your support can’t end once your loved one enters treatment. If anything, you’ll need to be even more supportive. Offer to drive them to and from the facility each day, or just be available any time they need to talk. Ask them about their triggers for substance abuse, and actively help them avoid situations that might induce a craving. If your loved one does suffer a relapse, don’t be angry — instead, be supportive and encourage them to seek additional treatment.

Watching your loved one struggle with addiction can be excruciating. However, you don’t have to stand by idly. Take a role in your loved one’s recovery to help them overcome the hurdles they face in getting sober.