How to talk about addiction

Addiction isn't an easy topic to discuss. Often, someone may already be incredibly concerned about a loved one, but they can’t do anything because they don’t know how to talk to them about addiction. However, this is a necessary step, especially if their loved ones are in denial about their substance use disorder. In order for them to start looking into addiction rehab programs, they would first need to understand the impact that their addiction has on themselves and the people who love them.

At San Antonio Recovery Center (SARC), we use a mix of holistic and evidence-based therapies that promote long-term sobriety. Our programs include the full continuum of care from detox to aftercare in order to help patients maintain their new, healthier lifestyles. We also work with most insurance plans so that clients can begin treatment quickly. Contact us at 866.957.7885 so that we can discuss what treatment plan works best for you and your loved ones.

Recognizing Addiction in Your Loved Ones

Before broaching the topic of addiction with someone that you care about, it may be necessary to look for signs of substance use dependence to better assess the approach that needs to be taken. Here are a few common signs of addiction:

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes, enlarged or small pupils
  • Sudden, unexpected weight loss or weight gain
  • Poor physical coordination, appearing unkempt, strange body odors
  • Repetitive speech patterns or slurred speech
  • Change in sleep patterns, insomnia
  • Anxiousness, inattentiveness, irritability
  • Lack of motivation, depression, suicidal thoughts
  • Defensiveness, minimizing the real amount of substance use, rationalizing
  • Lack of motivation, emotional and mental withdrawing from other people
  • Sudden mood swings, paranoia

Not all people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol suffer from issues at work or with their personal relationships. If your loved one is displaying a few of the symptoms above, even if they appear to be high-functioning, it may be time for you to express your concerns.

How to Talk About Substance Abuse

It may be difficult to communicate your feelings to a loved one, especially when it comes to addiction. Emotions may run high and there is a fear that you would end up pushing them away instead of helping them. Here are a few points to remember so that you can talk to your loved one about their substance abuse in the most effective way:

  • Be Kind – Show them that you understand that a substance use disorder is a medical condition that is beyond their control. Let them know that your actions come from a place of love and a desire to help them get better. Avoid assigning blame or using derogatory labels such as “junkie.”
  • Be Clear – Tell them how their addiction affects the people around them. Firmly enforce strict boundaries and offer concrete examples of when these boundaries were crossed. Always communicate your concern for their well-being over these behaviors.
  • Be Prepared – Listen to your loved one when they respond, and be ready for how they may respond to your concern. They may be sad, shocked, defensive, or even angry. It's important to maintain a level head and to let them know that you are all on the same team. If you must, take a break in order for things to settle down before proceeding.
  • Be Aware – Educate yourself in the options for treatment in and around your area. Be flexible in the kinds of treatment that your loved one will be willing to take or can afford, either budget or time-wise. Let them know what treatments are safest and most successful.

It's important to keep in mind that any discussion should be made with a clear head, so avoid initiating a talk with your loved ones while they are intoxicated or under the influence. Have this conversation in a calm, quiet place and avoid crowded areas such as bars or restaurants.

Avail of an Addiction Treatment Program at SARC

Once you and your loved one are ready to take the next step toward recovery, SARC can help you find the best treatment plan for you. We offer a variety of residential and outpatient programs to suit every client’s needs. Contact us at 866.957.7885 today to find a rehab program that works for you.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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