Give Ultimatums Or Threats
Issuing a final demand to someone who is not ready for change will likely result in them rejecting the terms of that demand. Theres a fine line between making threats toward someone and discussing expectations. It can be difficult not to make strong statements in the hopes of changing your loved one, but its always important to remember that an ultimatum can have the opposite result of what youre hoping for.
There is a difference between setting boundaries and a threat. Consider what is realistic. Not giving your loved one money that they will ultimately spend on drugs is a boundary. Vowing to never speak to a close family member again isnt realistic.
Youre Going To Be This Way For The Rest Of Your Life
Ive witnessed addicts of all ages recover and it truly a beautiful thing. You cannot predict the future and you certainly cannot determine someones fate based on their past. Even though it can be frustrating, exhausting and heartbreaking to love an addict, we must try to remember that nothing good can come from verbally sentencing someone to a lifetime of misery.
Pay attention to what not to say to a drug addict. These words will do more harm than good. For guidance on how to help an addict in your life, reach out to Morningside Recovery. Our compassionate staff will be more than happy to offer assistance. We offer a variety of rehab programs and addiction treatment services. Give us a call at now.
Stupid Questions Sober People And Non
A lot of the worst questions stem from a failure to understand what sobriety and recovery really look like. If someone has made it known to you that theyre trying to get sober, take that at face value and dont assume they can still drink here and there or partake in other recreational drugs.
Some of the most offensive questions are:
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Why Dont You Drink
If youre aware that a loved one is recovering from alcohol use disorder, Why dont you drink is perhaps the most common question theyll be forced to deal with.
Your friend may be perfectly happy being sober, but theyre likely sick and tired of fielding this poser.
Ask yourself how you would feel if someone started questioning why you were drinking a beer or glass of wine. Youd likely be taken aback, and possibly offended.
Many people in addiction recovery find it difficult to put themselves in social situations where alcohol is being served. Even if they typically avoid the bar, restaurant meals or functions like weddings and funerals often present a flashpoint. If your friend has made the effort to go out even though they may be feeling uneasy about alcohol in their presence, why draw attention to this?
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Tip #: Take Care Of Yourself
Focusing on your own life is the most important thing you can do to assist the addict. If you are stressed out due to their issues, in addition to your own, it creates resentment and strain. It makes it difficult to want to help someone who has created so much difficulty in your life. By taking care of yourself through exercising, getting plenty of sleep, socializing and getting support, you may be better able to help your loved one when they are ready to accept the help.
The most important thing to remember is that you arent alone. Many people battle with these issues every day and it is vital to get the resources and support you need.
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Addiction is a disease, but there is help. If you or anyone you know needs help, dont hesitate to reach outthats why were here. Coalition Recovery in beautiful Tampa, Fl offers an incredible clinical program for drug and substance abuse and is innovating a new approach to aftercare through higher education increasing the chance of achieving long-term recovery. Dont wait. A better tomorrow starts here. Because tomorrow matters.
Eight Things You Should Never Say To Someone With A Substance Use Disorder
If you have a loved one who struggles with addiction, its often hard to know what to say. Their behavior may seem totally irrational to you. If youve never struggled with addiction yourself, its almost impossible to understand why they act the way they do.
Perhaps the most frustrating part is that the irrationality of addiction makes it very hard for you to help them. You may have the best intentions but somehow always end up saying the wrong thing. The following are some things you should never say to a loved one with a substance use disorder.
Youll Be Back To It In No Time
If an addict declares that theyve had their last fix, dont scoff and doubt them even if youve heard it many times before. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the addiction and trying to do something about it. It may take many first starts to finally get it right and they need all the help and encouragement they can get. Instead of expecting failure, try to identify just what it is that is causing them to stumble. Recovery is often a process of trial and error best fueled by patience and compassion.
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What To Say To An Addict
When loved ones face addiction, it almost always ends up affecting the whole family. Addiction is a difficult disease for families and friends because of how much it can hurt others, antiquated notions about what causes addiction, the associated tragedies that seem to follow addiction like a shadow, and an oftentimes unwillingness for the addict to speak about their problems due to shame, the nature of addiction itself, and other factors.
They Engage In Criminal Acts
When someone becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, their value systems take a back seat to right and wrong. Essentially, the screaming brain compels them to do whatever it takes to find life-sustaining drugs.
A teen who never got into trouble may suddenly start having run-ins with the law.
The quest to satisfy the survival part of the brain can lead them to do illegal things they would have never considered before, such as:
- Stealing prescription pills from the medicine cabinets, purses, and homes of relatives, neighbors, or family friends.
- Lying about pain or causing self-injury to get prescriptions.
- Doctor shopping to try and get more prescriptions written.
- Forging prescriptions.
- Shoplifting valuable items to sell or pawn.
- Getting drug money by turning tricks or selling drugs.
- Injecting heroin.
The teen you previously thought incapable of even cheating on a test at school may suddenly find herself with an arrest record and a long line of people whose trust shes lost.
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Why Can’t You Just Stop
Addiction costs people their jobs, family and other relationships, and sometimes even their lives. Addicts know this as well as anyone. If they knew how to stop the addiction in its tracks, they would choose clean living. Instead of asking why they haven’t quit yet, ask them how you can help them in their recovery.
What Else Should I Keep In Mind
It is recommended that substance use be used to describe all substances, including alcohol and other drugs, and that clinicians refer to severity specifiers to indicate the severity of the SUD. This language also supports documentation of accurate clinical assessment and development of effective treatment plans.7 When talking about treatment plans with people with SUD and their loved ones, be sure to use evidence-based language instead of referring to treatment as an intervention.
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Educate Yourself On Addiction
Our society often blames people for their own addictions as if it is a moral failure on the persons part. Make sure that before speaking to your loved one, you understand that addiction as a disorder. The more knowledge you have about addiction, the better youll be able to communicate.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes addiction as an inability to stop using a drug failure to meet work, social, or family obligations and, sometimes , tolerance and withdrawal. Currently, people in the medical community more often use substance use disorder to refer to addiction.
There is still a lot of stigma surrounding addiction. Harmful beliefs including that people with addictions are selfish, lazy, and destructive are still common. Watch your tone of voice and make sure you are not speaking to your loved one in a blaming or accusatory tone.
Learn more about addiction from reliable medical sources, and try to understand your loved ones point of view.
At the same time, dont assume you know everything about their addiction simply because you do research. Each person with an addiction is a unique individual with their own experience.
Why dont you just stop using drugs? Youre being selfish.
You are still my friend, and I care for you no matter what. Is there any way I can help?
Strategize Before You Talk
Sometimes it is advantageous to have a companion present when you talk with a drug addict who needs help. A partner can often ensure the conversation stays constructive and can neutralize the resistance and denial from the drug addict.
Another tip is to not be confrontational, even if the drug addict goes on the attack. In addition to choosing the best time for this conversation, you must also be extremely patient. Do not cut the addict off as he or she offers resistance. Let the drug addict speak.
With these ground rules in place, lets look at what experts say are the thoughts that need to be put forth.
You have changed This is the first point you want to make. And, you should have specific examples of behavioral, career or relationship changes. Experts suggest this as the way to commence this conversation. I wanted to talk to you, because I have noticed you have changed, is a great start.
I love you Experts say that drug addicts are often insecure. Letting the addict know that you love them expresses the support the addict will need to continue this conversation.
You are not alone Drug addicts tend to be secretive and aloof from long-term relationships. By confirming the addict is not alone, you are showing lasing support as they enter recovery. The recovering drug addict will need help in the future. Be there.
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If You Really Wanted To Stop You Could Do It You Just Dont Want To
Addiction is no respecter of will. Which is to say, people who are addicted cannot stop on command. Addiction is a physical condition. The body changes the way it responds without a substance. Sometimes a body will stop working altogether if you go cold turkey when you are trying to get help for your addiction.
Never encourage an addict to stop using drugs or alcohol without the help of a doctor or rehab clinician. Without the proper care and tools, withdrawal and detox can cause problems and wreak havoc on internal systems.
If You Don’t Change I’m Done
Issuing threats to an addict is rarely effective. For some, the addiction is as much mental as it is physical. They may have the best of intentions and plan to walk away from the substance they’re abusing. However, when the craving hits, they can’t control it. Supervised detox and inpatient treatment are the only things that will help them overcome the thirst to use again.
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What Was Your Moment Of Clarity
Even though you might find it quite fascinating to ask drug addicts what their moment of clarity was, it is only fascinating for you to hear.
For them, it is a roller coaster of emotions and flashbacks that they have to go through, just to tell you what their moment of clarity was. It is not healthy for them at all.
Telling you their deepest secrets and deeply personal issues of shame, self-awareness, and spirituality might be very hard for them. It may even put them back in the position to drink if its too much for them to tell. Which is exactly why its not a good question to ask.
Discuss Concerns When They Are Under The Influence Or Their Emotions Are Running High
Nothing meaningful or helpful can be discussed when someone is under the influence or the people involved are upset. No one thinks clearly when theyre overwhelmed by their emotions. It can feel uncomfortable to hold onto what you want to say for a later time, but waiting for the right moment to discuss serious issues is important. Otherwise, you risk using harsh language that increases hurt and shame and lessens the chances theyll respond positively.
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You Can Have One Drink Right
Addicts, especially in the early stages of recovery, need to avoid all substances. Even if one didnt receive treatment for alcoholism, drinking can begin a cycle of abuse that could spiral back into full blown addiction. Never suggest engaging in a behavior that could lead to a relapse, no matter how harmless it may seem.
About The Raleigh House
The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver that believes addiction isnt just a physical problem. Our masters level trained therapists get to the root cause of addiction and, with your loved one, will develop a strategy to manage and enjoy life without drugs or alcohol. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the treatment programs at The Raleigh House.
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Do Believe In Their Recovery And Transformation
What to say to a recovering addict should include your belief in the fact that they can find joy and happiness in their life again. In fact, many addicts find even more joy and meaning in their life after becoming sober. With your support and understanding, along with their relapse prevention plan, they can achieve anything they set their minds on. Addiction isnt a sentencing to a lifetime of misery.
Tip #: Get Counseling
It may be helpful to get some individual counseling to assist yourself. Counseling isnt just for the addict. The more you are able to manage the better you will be able to help your loved one. There are a variety of resources to find counselors. Your company may have an Employee Assistance Program or your health insurance may have mental health benefits that you can access. Talk to someone you trust about finding the resources you need and do a search for resources in your area.
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First Lets Establish That Addiction Is A Medical Problem
Addiction is a medical problem, says Dr. S. Alex Stalcup, medical director of New Leaf Treatment Center in Lafayette, California.
All of our patients get an overdose kit on their first day. People thought it was creepy at first, but we give Epi-Pens to people with allergies and devices for people who are hypoglycemic. This medical device is for a medical disease, he says. Its also another way of explicitly stating this is a disease.
Since New Leaf started providing overdose kits, deaths have also been averted, says Dr. Stalcup. He explains that folks who carry these kits are really just dealing with major risk factors until they get better.
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I Didnt Realize You Had A Problem
Like many questions you could ask someone in addiction recovery, pointing out that you didnt even realize they had a problem could be well-intentioned, but its also wildly unlikely to do anything to strengthen your friends commitment to sobriety.
Rather, by effectively denying the existence of a problem, even if referring only to a past lack of awareness, your friend could get the wrong idea. They may not make this distinction, and they could feel youre implying they have no need to stop drinking or using drugs.
When you confront anyone in recovery with this kind of leading statement, its seldom beneficial. On the contrary, you could end up compounding existing feelings of shame and guilt your loved one is harboring.
Whats the better approach here, then?
Well, why not simply tell them how proud you are of the positive choices theyre now making?
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