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The best place to start helping a friend or family member who is using substance starts with a conversation, as it is crucial to encourage them to get help to save their lives.

These conversations are usually difficult to initiate, especially if you do not know what to say or do.

When speaking a friend or family member or a friend about their substance use, it is normal to feel apprehensive. You can avoid this feeling by educating yourself with good quality information about addiction, its causes, and effects, which will help you, frame the conversation and relate to the person.

Do not worry about saying things perfectly; focus on showing empathy, expressing your concerns, and offering your support in a caring, honest way without being angry or judgmental.

Here are a few more suggestions to start a constructive conversation:

  • Choose the right time to talk; the best time would be when they are not under the influence of a substance
  • Share your concerns focusing on the persons’ health and well-being
  • Listen carefully to what they’re saying to help you understand what they are going through
  • Encourage them to seek professional help by suggesting that you help them make an appointment.
  • Inform them about available support options and let them know that you will support them through their journey.
  • Support them and don’t give up even if they are not ready to seek help.

What if they don’t react well to the conversation?
It is okay if your conversation was unsuccessful from the first time; it is neither your fault nor theirs. Denial can be common in individuals with addiction. If they have become defensive and angry, do your best to remain calm and do not be afraid of backing off and ending the conversation.

Remember that change requires time and ongoing encouragement; by raising the issue, you may have made them more likely to open up in the future; until then, stay connected and show your support.

What if your talk went well?
Encourage them to reach out and seek help; our expert staff will help them to overcome the challenges they might face through the recovery process.

Most importantly, provide support and stay positive; let them know that you understand how much courage it takes to accept and ask for help.