Beating addiction is not easy. If anything, it can be daunting and extremely challenging. It also requires a strong sense of commitment and willpower. The chance of success for an addict trying to self-detox on their own is relatively low, which is why professional treatment and care are so crucial to the recovery process.

The reason why some addicts don’t seek help for their addiction is that they are afraid of the stigma that comes with substance abuse. Others may not have people who care enough about them to help them seek treatment. There are also addicts who have loved ones that care about them, and want to see them sober and happy. But how do you approach an addicted loved one about such a sensitive, personal issue?

This is a major challenge for families who have a loved one who is struggling with addiction. But where there’s a will, there’s a way: if you want to help a loved one get the treatment and care they need, you need to prepare yourself before confronting the addict. How do you do this?

Understanding The Addiction

  1. Be Sure That The Problem Exists
    When you decide it’s time to confront a loved one about their addiction, do not go at them guns blazing. If you end up being wrong because you misread some signs and signals, you’re going to create an entirely new set of problems. Make sure you can evidently prove that the person in question has an addiction problem. It may also be advisable to consult an addiction expert who can give you some advice on what signs to look out for to ensure you do not make an incorrect judgment.
  2. Educate Yourself About Addiction
    Surprisingly, most people know very little about addiction. This makes it easy for them to put blame on the substance abuser. When you realize what substance your loved one is addicted to, do thorough research on their substance of choice. Some drugs are much more addictive than others, and their effects differ widely. You can come in and visit us at Scottsdale Recovery Center® to speak with one our counselors directly, or browse our website for additional information on addiction.
  3. Develop a Support Network
    One thing is certain: when approaching a loved one about addiction, you will need all the support you can get. It’s important to talk to friends, relatives, former addicts, addiction counselors and members of your family who you trust to offer support, advice and encouragement. This should be a group of people who are willing to be there every step of the way during and after the addict’s recovery.

Grasping The Nettle

Helping an AddictConfronting the addict is one of the hardest parts of the process because you may be met with a lot of resistance and aggression. Here are some subtle ways to let your loved one know that they need help.

  1. Have a Family Intervention
    The easiest way to let someone who has a substance problem know they need help is through a family intervention. Try to involve a small group of people, preferably individuals who are close to the addict. You may invite an interventionist, a former addict, or anyone else who can help make a positive impact on convincing the addict that they need help. The point of the intervention is to help the addict seek treatment, and it should be done with love and understanding.
  2. Consult An Addiction Expert
    Many families have come to us when seeking help for a loved one, and most struggle with knowing how to get the addict to accept that they need help. In these cases we recommend involving an addiction expert, who can help talk to the addict about the consequences of their addiction and what may happen if they don’t change their behavior. The expert should be one that gives the addict a solid dose of reality, without sugar coating any facts. The aim is to convince the individual to seek help or otherwise suffer the consequences of their destructive behavior.
  3. Involve a Former Addict
    Find someone who is a former addict to talk to your struggling loved one. This could be a person still in recovery, or someone who has been sober for years. The goal is to not scare the addict into getting treatment. Rather, the addict should be approached in a way that allows them to accept and understand that they need help. The former addict can do this by sharing his or her own experiences, and that alone may be enough to get the addict to seek help. Allowing an addict to be in the presence of someone who has successfully recovered can be a very powerful tool.
  4. Avoid Chiding The Victim
    If there is a sure way of getting an addict to reject any kind of help, it’s by lecturing him or her about their addiction. Let’s be honest, addicts are not the only ones who hate being lectured. The majority of people hate being talked down to, and with good reason. The best approach is to be honest with the addict in a way that doesn’t come off as harsh or judgmental. Show the addict that you care about them, and you want to see them live a good life free of addiction. You may learn that the addict wants help, but has some fears. Talk to them about their fears, and assist in finding solutions that ease their mind of these insecurities.
  5. Avoid Codependency
    Codependent behavior fuels addiction: you need to stop being an enabler if you want a loved one with a substance abuse problem to get the help they need. The addict needs to see you as someone capable of handling your business, but still being able to provide the support they need during recovery. You need to make sure you’re strong enough to be a positive presence during the recovery process, and you cannot do this if you continue to enable the addict. It is important that you address your concerns with the addict, and this can be a very difficult and uncomfortable confrontation. No matter what happens, you must stand your ground.

If you are struggling to get a loved one who has a substance abuse problem to get help, contact us at Scottsdale Recovery Center. We can offer assistance in connecting you with a former addict or interventionist, both of whom have huge impacts on addicts during this portion of the process. Give us a call, or stop by our Scottsdale location to learn more.


Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.