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by Carmen

(New York City)

How do I talk to my loved one who is in treatment and suffering. He recently has gone through some horrific trauma and relapsed on heroin. I have addiction issues of my own but I can’t seem to find the right words.

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Sometimes those we’re closes to the most difficult to communicate with.

by: Debbie Wicker

Dear Carmen,

So sorry that your loved one is suffering from the trials of heroin addiction. Heroin addiction attacks the brain and convinces that we must use to feel “normal” and not feel terrible. Addiction is a very complex mental health problem and often co-occurs with other mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Each of us is wonderfully and uniquely made, so each of us experiences the positive and negatives things in our lives uniquely. I love spring and summer when everything is lush and in bloom. My sister hates summer and loves the cold and snow of winter.

Addiction is the same way, what works for you to stop using may not work at all for your loved one and vice versa. So when you talk to your loved one about his addiction, don’t assume that you know what he’s experiencing or that what worked for you will necessarily work for him.

I recommend that you both begin working the 12 steps and attending meetings (AA or NA or Al-anon) together. 12 step meetings allow us to figure out our own uniqueness and work toward understanding our own path back to sanity and sobriety. Attending meetings and working the steps together will certainly open up the conversation in a positive and constructive way if both of you are willing to do the steps.

Good Luck,


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