Is Your Loved One an Addict? Five Steps You Can Take Today

Confronting an Addict

A woman talking to young girl about being an addict

Currently, the level of drug addiction in the United States is at a near record high. According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of people who take illegal drugs has risen an estimated 500 percent from 1990. Thankfully, the availability of proper treatment centers and drug addiction knowledge has increased as well. If your loved one is an addict, you do not have to suffer in silence. Here are five steps you can take today.

1. Educate Yourself

While you will never truly understand what it is like to be in your loved one’s shoes, educating yourself about his addiction is a great way to gain a little understanding. Realize that an addiction is a disease; most addicted people cannot simply wish their way to good health. People with genuine addictions often lose their ability to control their cravings over time and even people seeking help are likely to relapse at some point.

2. Refuse to Play the Blame Game

It can be very tempting to blame yourself or your loved one for her addiction, but not only are your accusations likely unfounded, but they will get you nowhere. Addictions generally form as the result of a complex interaction between genetic factors, environmental pressure, habits, chemical changes and personal choice. In other words, while you and your loved one may have played a role in the addiction’s forming, no one is really to blame.

3. Seek Out Others Who Understand What You Are Going Through

According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 22.6 million Americans over the age of 12 use or have used illicit drugs. This means that if someone you love is an addict, you are far from alone. Instead of trying to bear the burden all by yourself, seek out others who have dealt with these same issues before you. They will be able to offer you valuable support and much needed advice as you help your loved one battle his addiction.

4. Stop Enabling the Addiction

It is only natural to want to help your loved one when needed, but you must be careful that your help does not turn into enabling: helping your loved one to continue in her self-destructive behavior without consequences. Examples of enabling behavior include giving the person money, making excuses for the person and taking responsibility for the person’s actions. While the tough love approach can be difficult, it is sometimes in the person’s best interest.

5. Help Your Loved One Find the Appropriate Treatment

While you cannot force a person to seek treatment if he is not ready, you can help him find the help he needs when he is ready. Inpatient therapy offers addicts several benefits.

  • It is a safe place where they can struggle and fail without judgment.
  • They will receive around the clock support from trained professionals.
  • They will have no access to drugs or alcohol, making it easier for them to complete treatment.
  • They will be supervised and supported 24/7.
  • They will be free of the negative influences that encourage their addictions.
  • They can develop new habits and routines without their everyday triggers.
  • They will have access to tools for recovery.


Just because you cannot force your loved one to overcome his addiction does not mean that you have to sit idly by and let him destroy his life. Seek out the resources and support you need to be the best friend you can be to the person during this difficult and challenging time.

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