It’s painful to watch someone you love overtaken by the monster of addiction – many of us wonder if there’s anything that we can do to help.
How can I help my friend?
You find yourself asking the same question – don’t beat yourself up, there isn’t any one straightforward answer.
It’s important to remember – you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. They need to want it more than they want anything.
People will not fight a battle they don’t want to, you wouldn’t expect them to go toe to toe with Chuck Norris in a fist fight without ever throwing a punch in their life before – would you?
Probably not, unless they really enjoy being beaten to a pulp. Similarly, you can’t expect your friend to fight an addiction ill equipped.
Many people don’t even believe they have a problem, that’s a problem by itself.
You want to just grab them by the shoulders and throttle some sense into them – it’s an option, although not a particularly effective one. Although it might release some built-up tension – this could land you in jail and then you’re not helping anyone, probably best to strike the sense throttle from your list.
There are more gentle ways to go about helping your friend fight a drug addiction.
For some people an intervention could be beneficial –
Interventions can be a wonderful tool to aide your friend – but there is a right way to do them.
Gathering friends together to wake them up to their self-destructive behavior could be just what they need. Interventions are a delicate thing and should be well planned out and preferably lead by a professional. Hurt people hurt people – there’s no one more in pain than people watching the ones they love go down a dark path, it’s easy to accidentally shift the vibe from loving and supportive to defensive and accusatory – completely defeating the point of an intervention.
A professional can also help to devise a plan of action and follow up plan to help the intervention go as smoothly as possible.
It can be hard to keep snarky comments to a minimum,
They’re not doing anyone much good in this situation – we all have that one friend who has a hard time keeping their often hilarious, but sometimes hurtful, comments to themselves. You might want to leave this friend out this time – or at least ask them to tone it down for just this one occasion.
Feeling as if all of their friends are against them is enough to make some people turn away from friends and family that love them and lean more heavily on their crutch.
Make sure they know that you support them but not their addiction.
Sometimes it’s hard to want to keep in touch.
It’s important not to give up on them.
Invite them out more – it’s hard to get someone with an addiction involved in group activities sometimes but keep trying. Getting them out among people who love them will brighten their day and give them less free time to think about what they’re not doing.
Be available for them when they need you, sometimes all it takes is a friend to talk to when they’re struggling with their demons. Your voice could be the one thing that keeps them on the right track, encourage them when they’re doing well.
Speak to them about revelations they have about their addiction and try to keep an open mind and be understanding of their struggle. You might not understand what they’re thinking but if you’re open to listening, you might discover something that’s vital to helping them break their addiction.
Don’t enable them
It’s hard not to want to help your friends when you feel as though you can – but stop. Don’t give them money and don’t give them more handouts than they can use as a means to an end. If you need to help your friend do it in ways they can’t take advantage of. Buy groceries and pay bills directly, don’t continue to enable their behavior by providing them a way to continue down the road they’re on.
Leading by example
Try not to drink or smoke around your friend and try to promote healthier living – leading by example can be the most effective tool in guiding them back to the surface of sobriety.
Why should I change my life for them?
It can be had to alter your own life for your friends benefit – but if your friend is important to you, it’s not a hard decision to get them back. At least, you can act like you’ve drastically altered your lifestyle while you’re around your pal, what they don’t know won’t hurt them, right?
Sometimes nothing helps
Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to remember that this isn’t your demon to face. All you can do is be there and support your friend through their battle and be the best supporting player you can be.
You can’t drag them kicking and screaming to salvation and you can’t rescue them at the cost of your own sanity. People will make the choice eventually to make the change in their own life, just try to encourage them back to sobriety and promise you’ll be there to help them.