Here are some tips from the team at Arrow Health on how to talk to someone about their addiction.
Empathy and understanding
Speaking calmly and with kindness is important to being heard and supporting your loved one through this time. There is a great deal of stigma and shame surrounding addiction and the fear of being judged, rejected or insulted is real for someone struggling.
That fear of being judged and unheard is heightened when accusatory language is used. This can cause the person you are concerned about to become defensive. It’s hard for someone to listen and hear what you want to say when they feel disrespected, belittled or shamed.
Clear communication can get cloudy when heightened emotions are present. Don’t forget to check in with yourself and try to remain grounded even if the conversation becomes tense or defensive.
Finding a professional therapist to have a chat with or help to mediate an intervention may also be a good idea if your conversations aren’t getting anywhere or often wind up on the defence.
Letting your loved one know that you are available for them to talk to is important. Allow them time to process what you have said and keep communication open. Let them come back to you, and pay attention to their needs. Are they looking for advice or are they just wanting to be heard?