My friend is a drug addict, how should I help her?

When you have a friend coping with drug addiction, it can be difficult to know what to do. Even if you’re not the one dealing with substance abuse, you can feel stressed about how to support them. It’s important to be there for them, but you also don’t want to take the wrong course of action. It’s a lot to have on your plate. However, there are things you can implement which can really help your friend on her road to recovery. These are some strategies we recommend for helping a drug addict friend.

Don’t Enable Her

Whether your friend has admitted that she’s a drug addict or the signs are just too big to ignore, you must not enable her. It’s totally possible to be an enabler as a friend. This could be downplaying her concerns about her health or inviting her to do things that will trigger her addiction. You don’t have to be malicious to be an enabler, either. It might make you uncomfortable to tell your friend you’re concerned about her addiction, but what will happen if you don’t. To be a true friend, you need to intervene as best as you can.

Don’t Demonize Her

Shame is a terrible treatment for addiction. People who utilize it don’t want to help the other person get better. Instead, they want to flaunt their superiority, feeding into their egos while diminishing others. Your friend’s drug addiction might’ve caused her to make mistakes, but they don’t make her a bad person. It’s totally normal to feel anger and to be frustrated with addicts, especially if they’re people you care about. Before talking to your friend, make sure you’re in a calm enough state to do so. Some tempers might start to flare up, but your support for her should be clear. Above all else, work to maintain your composure and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Set Whatever Boundaries You Need To

You don’t have to cut your friend out of your life until she’s sober. Tough love approaches like that could actually be counterintuitive. If you’re comfortable around your friend, then you should be able to maintain a healthy relationship with her. However, there might be lines crossed that you need to deal with. Completely severing ties with her are pretty extreme, but it may be necessary in certain cases. It could just be that you need to put your foot down for certain things, such as telling your friend you won’t go out with her due to her addiction.

Have an Intervention

Interventions are often depicted in media as ways for addicts to finally acknowledge they need help. While there’s no telling exactly how your friend will respond to an intervention, there are ways to make them more relaxed. The first step is hiring an intervention specialist. As their title indicates, an intervention specialist serves as an intervention leader. Since they’re not directly affected by your friend’s addiction and actions, they can act as a neutral party. Be aware that even successful interventions can be highly emotional. Rehearse what you’re going to say and ensure that everyone is there for support. Understand as well that your friend might display signs of resistance, such as denial or deflection. It’s normal to protest when confronted like this, but it doesn’t make what you’re saying untrue.

Tend to Your Own Needs

You can’t let yourself get obsessed with your friend’s addiction. It’ll definitely be on your mind, but you need to come first. Your friend shouldn’t expect to rely on you for constant support. Don’t distract yourself with unhealthy behaviors, like looking at social media constantly or binge-eating. Avoid burning yourself out with work or spending free time with people who are sucking up your energy. To help your friend, you need to help yourself too.

Help Her Find Professional Help

Addiction isn’t something that can merely be treated through a friend’s love. Your support is definitely helpful, but your friend needs professional help. If you really want to help them through this, help them with locating the right support. These are some of the things you can consider.

  • Long-term inpatient treatment
  • Detox
  • Short-term inpatient treatment
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Addiction counseling
  • Group therapy

Be sure anyone place you consider will provide them with the right detox center for their needs. The final decision needs to be up to them. During their treatment, continue showing them support, but don’t try to control them. Addiction is a serious thing to deal with, and we want to help you and your friend. Call us today at 833-497-3812 so your friend can get the help they need.