How to Help a Friend With Addiction

It can be heartbreaking to watch someone close to you struggle with addiction, especially when you know they can’t get better on their own. It can also be difficult to know what to do or say. However, as a close personal friend, you may be in the best position to help your friend understand the urgent need to seek treatment.

In fact, most people who are in active recovery say they got help because a friend or relative was honest with them about their alcohol or drug use. Don’t wait for someone else to step in. Learn how to help a friend with addiction and get them the help they need.

Helping someone who has an addiction

Here are five ways you can help someone with an addiction:

  1. Educate yourself
    Do your own research so you can better understand what your friend is going through. The more informed you are, the better prepared you will be to help them get the help you need. Here are two resources to get you started: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  2. Research treatments
    Once you understand more about your friend’s addiction, you can begin researching treatment centers and programs. The more informed you are, the more prepared you will be to support them when they’re ready to get better. Miramar Recovery Center offers a wide selection of treatment programs that can be tailored to your friend’s unique situation and needs.
  3. Talk to your friend
    But, prepare for the conversation in advance. You may want to get help from a medical professional, find a time when they are sober and write down everything you want to say. During the conversation, it’s important to stay calm but also be open and honest about how the addiction is affecting their loved ones. Let them know they can count on you and that you are there to help them get better.
  4. Set boundaries
    Set boundaries and keep them. Let your friend know they are not allowed to use drugs or drink in front of you and you will not bail them out of jail should they get into legal or financial trouble as a result of their addiction. Setting boundaries can be difficult, but they help protect you and teach your friend to become accountable for their own actions.
  5. Practice self-care
    When a loved one is struggling with addiction, it can be easy to neglect your own needs. Be sure to take some time to care for yourself (e.g., exercise, eat healthy, enjoy time outside, or focus on a favorite hobby or activity). The saying is true—you can’t pour from an empty cup.

After talking to your friend about their addiction and when you feel it’s time to refer them to a program, call Miramar Recovery Center at (949) 691-5036. We can help them take their first step toward long-lasting recovery. We are confident we can help your friend break free from addiction and achieve a sober life.