Know an Addict?

addictMost of us are acquainted with or have a close relationship to an addict. Addiction is everywhere, and its effects are felt far and wide. The addict you know may be a friend, a family member or someone you barely interact with. Regardless, you should be aware that addiction is a serious illness and communication about it should be handled with sensitivity and care. Some people are already practiced at this while others have room to grow in their awareness.

Those who have long been close to an addict probably have a good idea of what to say to them and do for them, as well as what not to say to them and what not to do for them. Anyone who cares for an addict wants to see them get better and put thought into how to help them. They know that trying to help them means walking a line between encouraging them to help themselves and knowing when to stop pushing at them. Too much in either direction can send them into binge mode.

Those who are are limited in their interactions with addicts, as well as limited in their knowledge of addiction, should be open minded, respectful and compassionate in their interactions with addictions. It is possible that you hold inaccurate views of addiction and could afford to learn about the workings of a brain that is not like your own. Let the addict inform you of their condition rather than trying to inform them. Grow in your understanding and empathy for how they feel about their addiction and offer them whatever support you can.

Experts say that the best thing people can do for addicts who are in their lives is gently encourage them to seek help. Offer them support in beginning their recovery but make it clear that you will not condone or enable their addiction. Addicts are simply human and have all the same needs as anyone else, including the need for relationship, for understanding and for support. Do your best to provide these things to the addict in your life.

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