Confronting anyone can be a difficult and awkward task. Even simple confrontations like roommates squabbling over dirty dishes can end badly. So if you have a friend or loved one that is suffering from drug addiction, it’s natural to be nervous. The stakes are much higher. But just like the dirty dishes, at some point the discussion must be had.
No one is naturally good at confronting a drug addict. These skills aren’t found in any required curriculum. There are steps you need to follow and points you must be aware of before confronting someone with a drug addiction. Here are our three most effective steps for confronting a drug addict.
1. Prepare Yourself. There are four major points you need to cover to prepare yourself when confronting someone with a drug addiction.
- First, know why you’re confronting them. What is it about their behavior that is causing problems?
- Second, explore the addiction. You need to know all the facts so you can have an informed conversation with the addict.
- Third, you have to pre-determine what you’re going to say. Have a script that outlines your thoughts. This will help you stay on task and be more assertive when the discussion becomes more difficult. If you’re bumbling around for the words, you’re not going to make as effective of a point.
- Lastly, check out their recovery options and insurance coverage. Be sure you can offer them a plan or a drug treatment center for next steps. Simply stating that there is a problem is not going to fix anything. Help guide them to the best resources at their disposal.
2. Tread Lightly. When confronting someone with a drug addiction, you must tread lightly. This is very similar to approaching someone with an alcohol addiction.
You must find the appropriate time to approach an addict, such as in a long car ride. Make sure they’re comfortable. The addict must be sober. Do not confront an addict because they’re on a bender and it just upset you. You won’t find the long-term success you’re looking for with a knee jerk reaction.
Your tone is a key element when confronting a drug addict. You must be gentle and open. Make them feel like you want to help them. There can be no judgment. Coming from a more accusatory, negative tone will often upset the addict and cause them to deny and lie. While this is not atypical behavior, you’re more likely to get the desired result (open conversation) with an understanding and helpful tone.
A pro tip is to use “I” and not “You” when speaking with an addict. This softens the rhetoric and shifts focus to you, not them. Say things like, “I feel upset when I see you on drugs,” rather than, “You upset me when I see you on drugs.”
3. Put Your Foot Down.
By confronting your friend or family member about their drug addiction, you are taking a stand. You are letting them know something has to change. The hope is that it’s their behavior, but that’s not always the case. Which is why you need consequences.
Have consequences on hand when you confront the addict. If there are no consequences, they likely don’t take you seriously and will not seek help. Use consequences such as kicking them out of the apartment, not covering for them when they’re too hung over to work, or withholding visiting rights to their child. Make the confrontation feel real. Every action has a reaction.
Being the one who confronts a friend or family member about drug addiction is never fun. But neither is watching someone in your life be destroyed by drugs. The short-term feelings of fear and awkwardness when confronting a drug addiction will be replaced by love and joy when the right help has been garnered.
Please do not hesitate to call one of our representatives to learn more about our Non 12-Step Rehab Program and how it can be helpful to your loved one.