Understanding Addiction and How You Can Help Others

Understanding Addiction and How You Can Help Others

Having a loved one in your life who is abusing drugs or alcohol can be a complicated position. Seeking help or rehab is not always the first option as they may not want help or are not ready to quit their addiction. First, noticing the signs and symptoms followed by having progressive, understanding conversations can open their eyes to the idea of a sober life. If you wish to be a vital part in their recovery, here are some ways that you can help start their journey to recovery. 

Identify the Problem. Drug and alcohol abuse can sometimes be detected by observing someone to be intoxicated, lying about their usage, developing problems at work or school, only attending events where their substance of choice is present or they can use before attending, and more. You likely will not know the extent of what they are using and how much they use, as they tend to hide the truth from those who will care enough to stop them. 

Prepare. Make a plan to step in. Be mentally prepared to take on the ups and downs of dealing with addiction. Look into the biological and psychological facets of their dependence, so you can better understand what they are going through. This will help you address their situation in a way that feels familiar and safe to them. 

Attempt to Intervene. Approach the conversation in a way that does not involve blaming or attacking them. Consider asking their loved ones if they are willing to help you. This may be the best way for them to receive the love and support they need to ask for help. 

What is the Next Step? Identify what resources are available and talk with your loved one about choosing a path to recovery. Advocate for a healthy, optimistic future that they might not have envisioned for themselves. A common part of recovery for many addicts are attending alcoholics/narcotics anonymous meetings. This will connect them with other people like them who also want to recover.

Taking Care of Yourself. Your wellbeing is never to be ignored when you make the selfless decision to help others. Set boundaries. If it brings on emotional issues, you may want to get help from a therapist or find a support network. Loved ones of addicts need to recover too. 

Dealing with Relapse. Recovering from addiction is hardly ever a linear path. There will be setbacks and days where they give up on their progress. Your loved one might benefit from having a sponsor who has been in their position. Sponsors can offer advice based on their experience in the event of a potential relapse.


Hi, my name is Liza Brown, LMHC, NCC, CAP. I am an Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addictions Professional, National Certified Counselor, and a Qualified Supervisor in the state of Florida. I specialize in working with teenagers/young adults who are struggling with substance use, behavioral difficulties, depression, and family conflict.  I work as a Certified Addictions Professional in Broward County.


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