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Offering Support to an Addiction Sufferer

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 24 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
Help; Support; Cousellor; Health

There are many ways in which a person can help their friend or relative overcome their addiction but the most important factor is a willingness to be able to do this and also an open mind that is prepared for what can be, a very difficult time.Offering help and support can be an extremely valuable measure in helping someone beat their addiction and there are a great many ways in which this can be achieved.

Act As Counsellor

Listening to their problems can be very helpful as the person may not have had the opportunity to express their fears and worries before. Do not judge them for what they are saying, simply listen and prompt wherever you feel it is necessary. Often people who are struggling to cope with everyday anxieties do not often speak of these worries and will keep them to themselves allowing them to grow in intensity.

It is very important to let the addict know that the conversations will stay confidential, and in fact the whole process will remain a secret unless any professionals need to know the information. Having someone they can trust will make a big difference in the success of the withdrawal process. It must be noted however, that addicts DO lie and you must reiterate that this will not be tolerated and that you genuinely do want to help them overcome their problem, but you can’t help if they are going to persist in lying to you.

Discourage lying and deceit and promote an open and honest environment by not being judgmental or shocked by the lives addicts lead.

Try and instill willpower and motivation, reading leaflets and books on this subject may help plan some useful strategies for this.

Lead by Example

Encourage the person to attend meetings or therapy groups and if permitted accompany them to these occasions. This will help build your relationship with the addict and also will provide a greater understanding of their problem.

Go with them to the GP appointments; they may be grateful for this as there is often a lot of information to understand that will be more easily remembered if there are two of you.

If you have an addiction yourself, for example smoking, give up with them; go through the experience together and offer each other support and guidance. This may encourage the addict to really want to keep trying to beat their habit and will also make them feel useful and give them a purpose.

Never try to embarrass them into giving up by ridiculing them in public; this risks ruining your relationship permanently and may even have the reverse effect.

Encourage Health Promotion

If the person is really struggling with their addiction, there are other ways in which you can help. Encourage the use of condoms if sex is the problem; find out where the nearest needle exchange service is and encourage the addict to use it if injecting drugs is the addiction. Whatever you can do to try and encourage a safer environment will be beneficial, not only to themselves but potentially to many others around them.

If the addict has chosen to go through ‘cold turkey’, provide a safe haven for them where they can stay until this period has passed. This can be an extremely difficult and harrowing experience for both the addict and the carer so make sure you are fully aware of the process and make the necessary provisions.

Encourage the addict to keep a journal or reflective log of their experience, this may be useful later on, for possible publication in the future or may be used to help others in group therapies.

Find out about alternative therapies such as hypnotherapy and aromatherapy for helping with stress levels and reducing withdrawal, explore these possibilities with the addict.


Remember, addicts do have a tendency to lie so keep reiterating the fact that this will not be tolerated.If their problems are beginning to negatively affect your relationships and life at a level that you feel is unacceptable, talk these issues through with the person, using the help of a counsellor if necessary. Re-evaluate your role in their recovery process and whether it is in your best interests.

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My ex partner is suffering with depression and anxietyand dose not want to be here anymore he broke down to me last night saying he's been trying to take the slow painful way out by drinking excessive amounts which I had noticed but what ever I say or try and do to help isn't helping I'm obviously going about it wrong.... I think I managed to get him to realise what he is doing and their is people here that need him around etc I didn't say much I just sat and listened etcas he has been in agonising pain with his liver and kindeys and is loosing blood whilst going to the toilet only found this out last nighthe said he wont go to the doctors or hospital but after he had calmed down and thought about it i think deep down he is really scared and dosnt no what to doi think he is worried he wont be able to keep working if he sees a professionaland if their is someone that can advise me on what to do to help him throughas he said what do we do now and honestly I don't have a clue where to start or what to do in the correct way so it won't make more damage
Cj - 24-Nov-19 @ 10:56 AM
I’ve receently moved back from Australia to the uk. Everything has changed but I love a very happy life, it’s almost perfect. But I’m currently in a self destructive path, I’m taking cocain around once a week, alone and lying to my partner about it. She finds out everytime, and I could lose absolutely everything all for a couple of lines by myself which I instantly regret. It seems that when I get the chance to be alone I resort to taking cocain.
Messlon - 11-Nov-18 @ 1:56 AM
Need help as I have a gambling problem
Eddie - 27-Sep-15 @ 10:57 PM
@Lonely mum - I am very sorry to hear this. It is a very complex situation and one with few answers as there really is no right and wrong way or cure-all here. You have supported him as much as you can and I'm sure will continue to do so in every way. However, this does not mean that if you get a place with him, all of a sudden he is going to be a changed person. As you well know, there are a lot of behavioural issues that will not change overnight because they obviously stem over years. I can only suggest that you do what you think is right and what is in your heart. As parents we all blame ourselves for the way our children turn out, even if they turn out fine, so there is always something to blame ourselves for and we have to stop somewhere. Your son obviously needs help, but he also has to be willing to help himself and stop blaming others for how his life has turned out. He has to own his own decisions in life too. I understand it is very difficult when someone has mental health issues to tear themselves away from drugs, as sometimes drugs are the only things that can numb what is going on in their heads. But if he wants to change, it is only he that can do this, regardless of the amount of counselling or rehab he has. I very much sympathise with your situation as it is not an easy one to answer. You could give Family Lives a call via the link here which may help if you can speak to someone face-to-face. They too might not have the answers, but they can go some way to helping you make your decision. I hope this helps.
BeatingAddictions - 1-Jun-15 @ 1:40 PM
My son has alcohol & Drug addictions along with mental health disorders and self harming tendencies . We have been struggling like this since he was 11 years old he is now 27 . He has spent most of his adult years in prison and is now institutionalised he doesn't like prison but the outside world is scary with too many temptations he has been to rehab twice and has spent sometime in places in which he has had a place to live and support but constantly breaks the rules and is asked to leave. The last few weeks have been a nightmare as after being once againasked to leave supported living for taking legal highs ! He found him self on the streets and destitute so he was crying for me to help him . He isn't ready to deal with his problems and blames everyone else for his fate . I can't bring him home because he is destructive he steals , lies and blames me for bring born . He wrote to me yesterday from prison and told me he hated me and everything that has happened to him in his life is my faught . I am thinking about giving him another chance maybe get a flat with him and support him to get better I can't have him home as his stepfather is afraid of him and what he maybe capable of . What do you think shall I try one more time or leave him to his fate ? Either way I do feel like a crap mum and I'm in a very lonely place at the moment :-(
Lonely mum - 28-May-15 @ 10:38 AM
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