Three Ways to Help an Addicted Friend

Helping an Addicted Friend
Dominic Nicosia

Written By

Dominic Nicosia

Very often we look at a friend who is vulnerable to drug or alcohol dependency and convince ourselves that it’s not our business to intervene or not our place to say anything about it. In theory, this sense of neutrality may make perfect sense; in practice, watching an addicted friend fall further and further into substance abuse can be painful and disheartening. If drug or alcohol addiction is allowed to continue long enough without treatment, it will eventually erode the friendship and all other aspects of the addict’s life. There are ways to help our addicted friends without betraying their trust or putting our personal safety or feelings at significant risk.

Confront Your Addicted Friend Directly

An addicted friend is still a friend and friend will understand that you’re trying to help them. While addiction alters the brain chemistry, somewhere inside of that neurological chaos is the friend we know and love. A frank, honest, supportive and non-judgmental conversation can be the first step toward getting our friends the treatment they need. We should not be naïve enough to believe that they will always be 100 percent honest with us, so we need to use our best judgment in determining their reactions to our overtures of support. If we gain nothing else from this exchange, we make them realize that they can no longer hide their addiction.

Talk to a Family Member

Even if we don’t think it’s our place to confront an addicted friend, it is surely the responsibility of their family to get them help. By simply voicing our concerns to our friends’ parents or siblings, we are doing our part to intervene to get them help. The dynamics of friendship can be tricky and, while this may seem like a breach of trust, we just have to reassure ourselves that we’re doing the right thing and have our friend’s best interest at heart.

Tough Love

In some cases, setting certain boundaries and keeping distance from our friends while they engage in active substance abuse may be enough of a wakeup call. By the time our addicted friend realizes what their substance abuse is doing to their friendships, chances are other areas of their lives are suffering as well, including their careers, their finances and even their legal freedom. Pulling back from them until they get treatment might be just the wakeup call they need.

Confronting an addicted friend is different for everyone, depending upon the specific dynamics of the relationship. We should never, however, be afraid to step in and help when given the chance, even if they don’t want to acknowledge that we’re helping, at first.

Dominic Nicosia

Dominic Nicosia

The Senior Content Writer here at Recovery Unplugged, Dominic Nicosia oversees the maintenance of our online blog while also handling and overseeing all written communications within Marketing. He also writes articles, thought leadership pieces, and basically everything written regarding web content. Dominic has over seven years of writing experience in the addiction care field and a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from the University of Arts in Philadelphia. Dominic has been writing and playing music for years and is the proud owner of a Jack Russell/Pitbull mix named Jack. His favorite books are The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
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