It can be difficult watching a friend struggle with drug addiction, knowing what to do, and what to say can make even natural conversations feel forced and awkward. Trying to help your friend may leave them feeling emotional, and it may make you feel drained too. Talking about addiction, and sharing problems regarding addiction is one of the most difficult things to do. The impact addiction has on a person’s life, wellbeing and outlook cannot be underestimated. The most important thing to remember is that addiction can be overcome, your friend can be helped, and they can work towards living a normal, clean, and healthy life in time.
Ways To Help A Friend Who Has An Addiction
Recovery from an addiction is not always a quick process, and both you and your friend must understand it could take years, and not just weeks. If you are determined to help and you want to help them directly then here are just a few suggestions as to what you can do, and why.
Use A Registered Rehabilitation Center
Drug addiction is most certainly life-changing, it can also be potentially life-threatening. Trained professionals within an appropriate facility or center are most likely to get the most effective results. For example, White River Recovery Netherlands has experience in dealing with people with drug addictions, and experience is what matters the most. Saying or doing the wrong thing, or trying to force someone to go cold turkey to quit might trigger additional health issues and problems, and it will most certainly affect their mental health in the process. Those struggling with addictions can be volatile, temperamental, and dangerous if they do not get their fix, so never try and intervene in someone’s withdrawal of drugs, instead leave it to the trained professionals.
Don’t Neglect Mental Health
When recovering from addiction you will most likely see that mental health can be impacted. The negative thoughts and feelings that people experience when coming off drugs can affect their state of mind, and it could even potentially leave them feeling suicidal. The impact of coming off a drug addiction and the mental health issues all compounded together could leave your friend feeling very vulnerable and isolated, so, where you can it is wise to seek professional mental health guidance and support.
Encourage Them To Take Up A New Hobby Or Interest
Distracting your friend can help them take their minds, thoughts, and focus off their addiction. When addiction is coming to an end the person will sometimes feel very overwhelmed with the amount of free time they now have on their hands. To ensure that free time is productive and not wasted it is important to encourage your friend to take up a new hobby or interest. At first, it might be difficult to convince them, but, if you stick with it persistence will pay off.
Focus On Positivity
Addiction is negative, and this period in your friends’ life is most likely to be one of the most negative times they have ever faced. Whether they are doing it alone, or they have a partner helping them, times can still be stressful. Focusing on positivity, and adopting a positive approach will help to make things easier, and the positivity will help even the darkest of days feel that little bit brighter. The negativity can be draining on everyone involved so remain positive and upbeat where you can.
Provide A Listening Ear
It is good to talk, and it is good to share, but you may find that your friend needs you to listen more than you know. Encourage them to share their experiences when they feel confident enough too, and comfortable enough too, but don’t force them to disclose any information they may be uncomfortable sharing. Listen to everything they have to say and be non-judgmental, they may be looking for solace, but most definitely they will be looking for someone who will listen to them without judging.
Empathize With Your Friend
Showing empathy shows that you care. Understanding your friends; situation and empathizing with what they are feeling will show them that you genuinely care. Care is important at this time as your friend is probably feeling very fragile and tender. When you show empathy it shows that you have listened and that you are a good support system which is ultimately what your friend needs the most at this time.
Make Time For Your Friend
You cannot buy time but you can give time, and you can share time. Even if you can only spare a few minutes each day you will see the difference it makes to your friend. You will never really know what they are going through, but if you give them time as and where you can, you will be providing them with an outlet that is ready and waiting for them to use at any time.
Be Respectful And Wait It Out With Them
As previously mentioned the recovery process is not instantaneous. It can take time to wean people off their addiction completely. For example, they may be reliant on a small quantity of whatever it is they are addicted to for a few months before they are completely free, so be respectful to their needs, wants, and requirements, and ensure that you strap yourself in for the long haul.
Recovering from an addiction, and helping a friend come to terms with everything that is going on in their life can be upsetting, and it can be mentally draining for you too. So, even though you are there for your friend you also need to ensure that you are there for yourself too. It can take a lot out of you, and it can negatively impact your life and your relationships, so you must seek guidance and advice when necessary. Do not just soldier on through the bad times, instead get the help you and your friend need. Never be embarrassed to ask for help and support, as somewhere there is someone who has been through what you and your friend are currently facing.