Addiction affects friends, families and loved ones. Knowing how to help the person addicted can be quite a struggle. It’s hard to know when to get help, how to get help and how to approach the person. Helping an addictive loved one get help can mean the difference between life and death.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction is important when deciding if it’s time to approach a loved one about their problem. When their abuse starts to interfere with their daily life, causes memory loss and they have accidents, it’s time to talk to them. They may not realize their is a real problem or might not want to admit it. A loved one on the outside of the issue can give them the perspective they need to know it’s time to get help. Addiction isn’t just about an event that happens once or twice. If they get drunk and stumble in causing a stir once in a year, they might have just had a bad night. Watch for patterns over a period of time. They may try to hide it or say they only drink socially. Note a difference in their physical statute and/or their behavior when you believe they are inebriated.

Trust

It’s hard to trust an addicted person many times. They may have let you down due to their addiction even if it isn’t in their control. You have to step back and realize it’s more important for them to trust you than for you to let your hurt take over. Don’t nag or lecture them about the addiction. You want them to be able to talk openly about the problem and vent about it to you. They may swear up and down they can change, but an addicted person will not change until they are forced to face the consequences of their actions. It can be hard to trust them due to this fact, but you have to trust they will listen and get help when you approach them about their issues.

Compassion

It’s important to help your loved one by using compassion. The thing they most need is someone that listens and understands. Many times the addicted person feels as if someone is suffering with them and actually going through the process with them. This means they understand you recognize their pain and are trying to truly help. They feel heard and seen so they aren’t alone. Fighting addiction alone is crippling to many addicts. They know someone truly cares and wants to help them without criticizing them through the whole journey. They may understand you have no clue about addiction and what it does to their mind, but they also understand you’re trying to step in their shoes and won’t let them fail.

Communicate

Keep all lines of communication open and free of judgement. You need to learn more from the person about their addiction daily and let them vent about their frustrations. They may feel like a failure or feel they cannot be helped. Listen to them and be open with your concerns as well. Don’t lecture them about their addiction, but be a listening ear offering positive words. This will help them as they go into recovery knowing someone is on their side.