Mistakes to Avoid When Helping an Addict


Realizing that a friend or family member is an addict is a difficult thing to deal with. You probably haven’t dealt with an addict before, and you have no idea how to handle it. There are lots of things you should and shouldn’t do to help your friend, and yourself. You need to be understanding to a point, but you also need to know when to be tough on them. You’re bound to make some mistakes along the way, but you can avoid some of them by educating yourself. Avoid some of these big mistakes both before and after they enter recovery.


Not Being Ready to Help

The person you know may not have entered recovery yet, or they may have relapsed. You can’t force them to get help, but it’s important to be ready for when they want it. The feeling of being willing and able to ask for help could only last a short moment. So you need to be prepared to offer it as soon as you catch a glimpse of them wanting to change. You can have some information ready for them, such as some brochures on a nearby treatment center. You could book them an appointment with their doctor or talk them through their options. It will help if at least one of your knows what you’re talking about.

Making Everything About Their Addiction

Addiction takes over people’s lives, and not just for the addict but those around them too. Their life is going to be all about their addiction and recovering from it for a long time. But that doesn’t mean that you have to make every conversation or encounter about their recovery. If they’re going through rehab, you can talk to them about their process and how they’re feeling. Just make sure you balance it out with other topics too, whether it’s what’s on television or something happening in the news.

Not Giving Them Space

They might want to have some space to themselves once they start their recovery. They have a lot to think about, and they might have many feelings of guilt about things they have done. They might not even be allowed visitors without prior warning if they’re in a residential facility. If they ask for space, try to give it to them as much as you can. They need to concentrate on their recovery, so don’t involve them too much in your own affairs.

Giving Them Too Much Space

It can also be a mistake to put too much distance between you. If you feel like you need some time away from them, that’s perfectly acceptable. You’ve been affected by their addiction too, and you might need some time to process. However, feeling completely abandoned is unlikely to help them with their recovery. If you do want some space to yourself, make it clear that it’s not necessarily forever. Otherwise, take the lead from them and ask how much they want other people around.

There are a lot of unspoken rules surrounding addiction and recovery. If you need advice, speaking to an expert and doing some research will make you feel more equipped to deal with it.