Knowing your friend is using drugs can cause a major strain on your relationship. You want to be supportive and helpful, but you don’t know what exactly you should be doing in this situation. Do you seek help for them and risk their wrath? Do you stay quiet and hope for the best? While there is no clear cut answer for everyone, there are some tips you can use when you have a friend or loved one who is using drugs on a regular basis.
Enabling or Supporting?
It’s devastating watching your friend continue down the wrong path. You want to support them as much as you can, but you don’t know if you are doing the right thing. Are you simply supporting your friend through this tough time, or are you enabling them to use even more? If you are lending your friend money for drugs or are allowing them to stay with you when they use, you are enabling them to continue their behavior. Maybe they have become addicted to pain pills and have convinced you that they need them to get by. By agreeing with their thought process and never challenging them, you are being an enabler.
If you want to support your friend, there are ways to do so without actually enabling their behavior. Read on to find out what you can do for your friend.
How You Can Help
Find out how severe the problem is- This may be hard if your friend is hiding his or her addiction from others. They may be simply experimenting with drugs or they could be addicted. While neither scenario is good, you’ll likely need additional help if your friend is physically or mentally addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Listen to your friend- Talk to your friend about why they are using. You can be a shoulder to lean on when they need someone to listen. Encourage them to look for professional support. If they don’t want to listen, ensure them that the option is always there and that you will help them when they are ready. Your friend may not even want to talk about the problem but knowing you are concerned for them will still be a big help.
Understand the disease- We now know that addiction is a brain disease. Would you expect someone with diabetes to ignore their symptoms? The same goes for addiction. Don’t insist that they can quit with sheer willpower alone. They need professional help just as much as someone with a physical disease. Educate yourself about their addiction. Read up on the drugs they are using to learn more about them. While you can’t exactly walk in their shoes, you can try to find out what their life is like at the moment.
Don’t abandon them- It isn’t always easy to stay friends with someone who is using drugs or alcohol. However, many people with addiction problems fall in with the wrong crowd. They may start hanging out with others who are drinking or using drugs. Even if they start pulling away from you, don’t give up. While they may not want to talk about their problems with you now, leave the door open for them to come to you any time that they need to.
Ask for help- If your friend is in immediate danger or is endangering others by their drug use, look for outside help. Talk to a professional, such as a school counselor or addiction specialist, about your concerns. You can also seek help for yourself. Loving a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can take a major toll on a person’s health. Find local support groups that can help you sort out your own feelings and emotions. You’ll also learn valuable lessons as you listen to others who have gone through or are going through the same thing.
Suggest support groups– Your friend may not want to talk to you about his or her drug addiction. But they may talk to others who are in the same situation. Do the legwork for them and find local and online support groups. Provide them with the information they need, but don’t harass them about joining. When they are ready to talk, they will.
Let Us Help
When your friend is ready to get the help they need, let them know you will always be there for support. We’re also here to provide professional support, day and night. To learn more about our drug and alcohol services, call 833-762-3765 today.