What’s the first thing that you think of when someone mentions that they have a problem with drugs? Chances are good that you think of a lot of illegal drugs, but they aren’t the only danger to be wary of: prescription drugs have their share of abuse problems as well. Over 52 million Americans have used prescription medications non-medically over the course of their lives, for various recreational purposes. (Source)
Clearly, there needs to be a conversation taking place, but the problem is that a lot of people don’t know what that conversation should be. We don’t know how to approach people that are clearly suffering. The addictive nature of both prescription and illegal drugs is well documented, but that doesn’t mean that sitting down with a friend or loved one is any easier. The person is in the grips of powerful addictive drugs, and those drugs do not let go easily. But there is light at the end of the tunnel: there are plenty of people that have managed to overcome a drug addiction. Want help approaching this conversation? Here are three real world tips to help someone battle a drug addiction effectively.
1. Be Available
Everyone battling addiction is going to have different preferences. Some people want to stay up all night talking through their problems, while other people just want to sit in silence. But that doesn’t mean that you have to let them go through it alone. Be available as much as you can, and be flexible when they ask for something. Addiction disrupts a lot of normal functions of life. Maybe they don’t want to eat alone, so you can cook a small meal for the two of you.
2. Don’t Condemn
Everyone has an opinion about addiction. But you can’t bring your opinions to the table. They’re not needed and can be extremely harmful. People tend to view everyone struggling with drug addiction through the same narrow lens. There are people that go to work every day and yet use illegal and prescription drugs recreationally. They slip through detection because they’re functional, but that doesn’t mean that they are engaging in a healthy activity. Sooner or later, the addictions they have will overwhelm their life.
3. Contribute to Healthier Activities
One of the toughest parts of drug addiction is that your social circle becomes composed of almost entirely of other drug addicts. That’s something that can be difficult to change, because all of one’s social activities involve these people. It can be difficult to turn down a chance to engage in recreational drug use, especially when the offer is coming from someone that already participates heavily in the activity. You can help them break the pattern by really going out of your way to spend time with them. Go out to the movies, go bowling or just head to a nature center. There are a lot of healthy activities that can help them form new habits that don’t involve getting high.
You should remember that these tips don’t work in a vacuum, and they certainly do not work overnight. But as long as you’re willing to support the person going through such a stressful time, there is really no limit to how much improvement they can experience.