How can we find help for drug addicts?
This is a common question that so many of us struggle with and for
which there are no easy or simple answers. Help for drug addicts (if
it's a medical emergency please call 911 immediately) takes a
long-term commitment, which is based on a loving, compassionate
relationship. But this relationship also needs to have good
boundaries that are set and maintained.
How can you have an appropriate and
helpful relationship with a drug addict?
Here is a list of boundaries which must
be set and maintained while trying to help a drug addict:
No Money: Never give them
money or anything of value because you're like facilitating their
No Housing: Don't let them
live with you until they are fully in recovery and you know that
they won't seal from you.
No Lying: Don't cover up
their drug abuse or lie to get them out of a jam caused by their
No Covering: Call the
police and report ANY illegal activity that they're engaging in.
No Shielding: Always allow
them to feel the full consequences of their bad choices.
Many of you may be thinking: So what
can you do to help drug addicts?
You can be emotionally supportive for
them throughout their process of addiction and recovery. Here are
some examples of emotional support that research has shown to be the
Listen, listen, listen: When
they talk, listen carefully and absorb what they're telling you.
Don't interrupt them or tell them what to do, just LISTEN. Most
addicts are never listened to and they feel very isolated and
Don't judge them: Try
to be as non-judgmental as possible. You are not them and you
haven't experienced what they have experienced. Addiction is a
disease of the brain, which changes us into people that we don't
Facilitate “CHANGE TALK”:
Change talk is, as the name implies, talk about change. Whenever
they talk about making positive changes in their life help them to
expand on those thoughts by asking questions: What would your life
look like if you did make this change? What steps do you need to
take to successfully make this change? Have you tried to make this
change before, what happened?
Pro and Con list:
Have them create an honest pro and con list for continuing to use.
Allow them to be honest about the pros of using and gentling help
them discuss the cons. Almost always, if they can be honest and
objective, the cons are so negative that they totally out weight
the benefits of using.
can be a big help for an addict by being totally emotionally
supportive, non-judgmental, and available as a sounding board as they
begin to contemplate change.
and Finally Remember:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." - Matthew 7:7-8