I have always had one problem with addicts. My biggest problem with most addicts is that they live in denial. They do not want to agree that they are no longer in control of the drug of abuse or alcohol they are using. I think this is why helping addicts has become a very long procedure because honestly you will only be able to help a person after he has realized that he is no longer in control of his indulgence in the use of the drugs and therefore needs help. It is this step that has made it difficult for friends to help friends who are losing their lives to drugs and other substances addiction. In most cases addicts will begin looking for help when it is too late and therefore their fight against addiction becomes hard and even expensive. The earlier and addict realizes and accepts that he is no longer in control of the drugs he is using the easier it will be to treat them. However, you may seek professional help to help someone acknowledge that he is no longer in control of his drugs of abuse. The professional will also go a step further to help instill the will to break free from addiction into the patient. When this is done it will now be manageable to help motivate a patient to overcome addiction.
You will also need to realize that despite your relationship with the addict whether he is your son, your wife, your husband, your best friend or your student there is no conversation that can magically make him stop using drugs that instantly. It is good to know that when you tell them to stop using drugs but they continue, it is not out of indiscipline but out of compulsion that they continue to use these drugs against your wish. It is important to note that most addicts are constantly in conflict with themselves, always trying to break free from the bondage of addiction. When you fail to realize this you will automatically build a wall between you and your friend and helping him will be the last thing you will succeed at in this planet earth.
Make them know their worth-most addicts have lost hope in whom they really are. They believe they are not good at any other thing and their lives become a real nightmare. By helping an addict too know that he is worthy and he can create something better out of himself you will be able to help him overcome the feeling of uselessness that in itself leads them to drug addiction. Most addicts are not aware of their potential and therefore if you can help them know how worthy they are then you may begin on the right foot to helping them seek addiction treatment program. By appreciating them you will be one of the few people out of their drinking circle that sees anything positive in him and he will become a friend. You can only motivate someone who is willing to be open with you and you can’t do that before you make yourself a friend in the eye of the addict.
Avoid arguments with the addict– like I said most addicts live in denial and they are not convinced that anything is wrong with them. They therefore will always be having a different opinion of themselves from you. It is however not good to begin arguing with them as this may spoil for your good relationship. Any argument with an addict will portray them negatively and make them withdrawn and this will help neither you nor them.
Addiction is not Logical– addiction is not logical; this is a fact that you need to appreciate so as to be able to help a friend dependent on drugs. These people are using drugs as a matter of compulsion; they do not do it by choice. They will therefore not listen to logics and it is therefore important to avoid using facts in your arguments as that is a language they do not understand. No matter what you promise them if they stopped using drug it will not bother them. This will also help you to be more patient with them and avoid more arguments.
Let them know it is their responsibility- this comes after you have successfully helped them to overcome denial and appreciate the fact that they are out of control of the drugs they use and therefore need help. Let them know that no matter what you can do, without their commitment and will to stop using drugs they can never overcome it.
Show empathy and concern– a man shall never agree that you know his pain until you have walked a month in his moccasins. You will be able to help your friend by showing empathy and concern. Let him feel like you are with him in his pain. You should not criticize his chosen way of life at any point of your interaction as that will only build barriers towards helping him achieve addiction treatment.
Here at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center in Myrtle Beach we understand the struggles that addicts are daily involved in and therefore we open our arms wide enough to help them overcome addiction. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) has always been ready to help visit us in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for more help on addiction.