Millions of people are affected by drug and alcohol abuse. Not only does it affect those who are abusing and addicted to substances, but it also affects their loved ones.

If someone you love has a problem with drugs or alcohol, there’s no doubt that you want them to get the help that they need. However, you can’t force an addict to get help; they have to want to be helped. Unfortunately, many addicts aren’t willing to admit that they need help. Why? – Because they don’t think that they have a problem; they’re dealing with Denial.

Dealing with Denial: Alcohol and Drug Rehab

When addicts are in denial, they believe that they are able to control their addiction. They think that they can stop using whenever they want to. In reality, however, their addiction is in control of them. Addiction is a disease, and one of the reasons why it is so hard to treat is because it convinces those who are affected that they are able to control their substance abuse, when in reality, they can’t.

How to Approach Someone Dealing with Denial?

Talking to someone about their substance abuse is never any easy thing to do. Ignoring the situation will only make things worse, but you have to approach the topic delicately. It’s embarrassing for someone to admit that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol, so it’s not uncommon for individuals who are struggling from the disorder to feel like they are being attacked and get defensive.

Make sure you pick the right time to speak to your loved one. If possible, avoid discussing your concerns while he or she is under the influence. Instead, wait until the individual is sober, or as close to sober as possible. When the time is right, keep the following tips in mind when you are discussing your concerns:

  • Be gentle with your approach. Avoid being argumentative or condescending.
  • Be as specific as possible; discuss situations that clearly illustrate your concerns; times that the individual was driving under the influence, said embarrassing or hateful things, stumbled and fell to the floor, or broke promises because of his or her substance abuse.
  • Explain why you are concerned; tell your loved one why you are fearful for his or her safety and well-being, as well as the safety and well-being of anyone else he or she comes in contact with.
  • Let the individual know how his or her drug and alcohol abuse is affecting your life and the life of others whom he or she cares about; children, parents, siblings, friends, etc.
  • Highlight the ways in which substance abuse has negatively affected the life of your loved one. For example, you might want to bring up how you’ve noticed it’s impacted his or her interests, career, and family life.

Seeing someone you love struggle with drug or alcohol abuse and addiction is extremely difficult; trying to talk to your loved one can be even harder. Let your loved one know that you are there to support him or her every step of the way as they make their journey down the road to recovery.


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