When it comes to speaking to someone with addiction problems, there are certain things that a person should avoid if they want to be effective in their conversation at all. Like any other problem a person faces, addiction can be a sensitive topic and one that is not easy to discuss. For someone who doesn’t understand the complexities of addiction, it can be easy to judge others and make assumptions about their characters. Communication disorders often occur when people don’t feel respected.
If you were faced with a serious problem and someone came over and started talking to you derogently about it, how would you feel about it? Would you be inclined to open up to this person and listen to what they have to say? I doubt it. Now think about whether that person could speak to you compassionately and listen to what you had to say without judging and judging. How much easier would it be for you to open up?
It’s important to remember that when you speak to someone who is struggling with a drug problem, they are dealing with a person with emotions, past hurts, and difficulties. You are not talking to someone who is deliberately hurting their family and everyone they love; This is just a sad part of the addiction that happens the further someone becomes entangled in their noose.
Five things to avoid when talking to someone about their addiction:
1. Why don’t you stop already?
Many people will say this out of frustration. For someone looking in from the outside, it seems like a fair question. Why should someone keep doing something that is destroying their life? It makes no sense. Someone who is not addicted to anything can assume that they would quit when they realized that the negative consequences are destroying their life. But if you see this from the addict’s point of view, it will not help him if you say this to an addict; it will only make them defensive.
2. (insert name here) could stop all alone, why can’t you?
It is unproductive to compare yourself to other people, and it is just as useless to compare yourself to other people. If you point out that such and such could quit on their own, it will not help your loved one to quit on their own. Some people can stop without help, but most people who have an addiction need some form of support to get better.
3. You don’t even care how your actions affect others.
While it may seem like your loved one doesn’t care how their actions affect others, it usually doesn’t. The thing about addiction is that it harms everyone involved, whether or not they use drugs themselves. As a result, the addict often says and does things that they normally wouldn’t do if they weren’t addicted. This is not to say that you should put up with abusive or toxic behavior, just that the important thing is to be aware that it is usually the addiction that is causing it.
4. Why did you choose to get addicted?
Asking someone this question is unproductive and destructive. Telling someone that is like a slap in the face. While it may have been that person’s decision to start using it, it is usually never a person’s decision to become a full-fledged addict. Some people can experiment with drugs without drugs rule their lives, while others try a drug once and become addicted quickly. There is nothing productive about asking this question, and there is no need to do so. The point shouldn’t be how you allow this to happen, but what we can do to fix it.
5. You are a terrible person.
Telling someone that they are a terrible person because of their addiction will not make them change; it will only make them defensive and stop wanting to hear what you say. While you may feel like your loved one has become someone you no longer recognize, there are several ways you can let them know how you think. Again, it’s important to focus on the behavior, not the person.
Five things to consider instead:
1. What could we do to help you get better?
Addicts often know they need help; they’re just unsure how to ask for it. By asking such a question, you acknowledge that there is a problem and show that you are ready to help find a solution. When people feel like you are on their side and want to help them get better, they will be much more open to help.
2. Do you think it would be beneficial to seek professional help?
Many people need professional help to manage their addiction. There’s a reason there are so many different treatment options, and that’s because an addiction is difficult to overcome on your own. There are certainly people who can do it without help. However, it is usually a good idea to seek support to make the process more effective and increase long-term success.
3. I feel (insert emotion here) when you (insert action here).
The above statement is an effective way to communicate how the actions of others affect you. While the person can still try to distract, they will be more inclined to see how their actions affect the people they love. If you can do this, you will be in a better room to change something.
4. I’m not sure how this happened, but I want to help.
When a person is at the point where they need help with their addiction, there is no point in asking them how they got this far; This is something you can work through during your treatment program. At this point, the best thing you can do as a support person is to let them know that you are ready to help them figure out how to get help, and then do your best to support them throughout the process.
5. Your addiction is causing you to act in ways that you normally wouldn’t.
By focusing on the addiction that is the problem, the person will be more willing to see how their actions are negatively affecting their life. In addition, it is easier for a person to take responsibility for the harmful actions when they do not feel attacked. So focus on the problem and remember that this is someone you care about and who you want to help get better at.
When we can speak to others with kindness, compassion, and a degree of understanding, we are in a much better position to help that person get better. Nobody wants to spend an hour listening to someone criticize them and talk about all the bad things they do. If we can focus away from the person on the problem, it becomes much easier to address the real problem.