Help is here. You are not alone
Table of content
Table of content
All About Recovery
Facebook Group • 2213 members
There's always clouds before the rainbows. Join many others who are going through the same thing as you and see proof that it can get better.

How to Help an ADDICT in 5 Easy Steps

Written by Seth Fletcher on November 30, 2014
Last update: May 15, 2024

When you’re around someone at the mercy of an addiction, it can be easy to feel burdened.  Genuine concern can quickly turn to frustration and good intentions can often worsen the situation.

If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells and don’t know what to do – you’re not alone.  Here are 5 tips that can help:

#1:  Don’t be the hero

When it comes to people on the outside looking in, everyone’s an expert.  It can be easy to point out faults, dole out advice and plan a course of action when you’re in their shoes.

People that recover need to “hit bottom” on their own terms and understand the extent of their problem.  The consequences of their addition have to accumulate until they’re either spurred into action or can accept help.  Forcing their hand will only mean interrupting the natural resolution they have to come to.

#2:  The right kind of support

As heart wrenching as it is to see someone lose themselves, one has to be careful not accidentally cause harm with good intentions.  Allowing someone to carry on their addiction in your presence will only make things worse.

The same goes for covering for them, fixing their mistakes or even offering financial support.  It’s a fine line but it can be a decisive factor in how they map out their future.

#3:  It’s not a weakness – it’s a disease

Most people think addicts lack willpower.  This is an unfair assumption and makes it seem like a personal mistake instead of the much more serious issue that it is.

An addict’s brain is actually chemically different.  The dopamine system is rewired and over stimulated resulting in a partly unconscious loss of reason and control.  Treating substance abuse or other addictions like a disease is more progressive than writing it off as a lack of integrity or discipline. Our program will help you get back on track.

#4:  No ultimatums

Backing someone into a corner by forcing promises upon them or having strict expectations is the wrong approach.  You may think that their relationship with you will trigger loyalty into overwriting their compulsions but you’d be way off.

Someone who is addicted is already beyond making commitments or being able to exert strong control over their lives.  A threat, no matter how it’s delivered or the context it’s framed in is still a threat.  This will only push them away.

#5:  Seek help

A touchy subject all around, once the trust is there, it’s only right to seek help.  Addictions are tricky and can be deeply rooted in the individual or a reaction to the present.  There are physiological aspects to it as well.  An expert in the right environment is a guaranteed way to directly address an addiction i.e staging an intervention.

It’s best to start with encouragement and then get involved in treatment.  Either way, remember that this is a deeply personal journey and each individual has to do it at their own pace. For more information, especially with alcohol addiction, please contact an addiction specialist.

Certified Addiction Counsellor

Seth brings many years of professional experience working the front lines of addiction in both the government and privatized sectors.

More in this category: