Allow your loved ones to talk about what’s going on in their lives.
Seek professional help, follow up on treatment, and be encouraging.
Don't threaten, lecture, or make excuses.
You may worry that you’re overstepping your bounds, or that bringing it up could make the problem worse or hurt your relationship. But if someone you care about is showing signs of substance abuse, it’s important to face it right away. Starting a conversation could be the turning point that spurs your loved one to get help.
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Before talking to loved ones about your concerns, understand that they may not be ready to hear what you have to say; they might deny that there is an issue; they might find it difficult to accept your help. The best thing you can do in these situations is listen — asking guiding questions to keep the conversation going when necessary, but also really allowing your loved ones to talk about what’s going on in their lives. Opening up the channels of communication may help your loved ones feel less alone and start working toward acknowledging that they have a problem.
Here are some ways you can gently start a conversation with someone you’re concerned about, focusing on your own observations:
Once you’ve started the conversation, you can begin to ask questions such as these:
Remember, you’re there to provide support, not to fix the situation or dominate the conversation. It’s important to listen and respond, when appropriate, with encouraging words, such as:
The best thing you can do in these situations is listen — asking guiding questions to keep the conversation going when necessary, but also really allowing your loved ones to talk about what’s going on in their lives.
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