It can be hard to watch someone struggling with addiction. You may feel like it is not your place or that that person will grow out of it. Whatever the excuse is, it is important to always be there for your friend in any way that you can or you will regret it if you wait until they hit rock bottom.
When you see your friend, research and observe the signs of drug addiction by noticing needle marks on their arms, if they are thirsty, sweaty, or have small pupils. If they are tackling alcoholism, see if they smell of alcohol, have slurred speech, are clumsy, or have empty bottles and cans all around their environment. An addiction means that someone is using more drugs to get rid of withdrawal symptoms, are developing a tolerance, are continuing to use despite the negative consequences, neglecting their obligations, their physical appearance and health.
Do not ignore the signs of addiction. Approach the situation with care to avoid a fight from occurring. Let your friend know what you have noticed about them and that it looks like clear signs of drug addiction. Do not judge them or make them feel guilty for their unhealthy habits as it will turn them away from you. While it may seem scary to reach out to your friend about their addiction, you could be saving their life and they will thank you later. Show up for them and listen to them speak of their own addiction. You may have done your own research on drug addiction but the person experiencing it will know much more than you can find in any textbook. Ask honest questions to better understand like what makes them abuse drugs and what got them started. If they talk about experiencing signs of depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, this can help explain a lot about their addiction and how their mental illness needs to play a factor in recovering.
Supply your friend will all of your knowledge of the negative consequences of drug use. Let them know what the true horrors of jail is like and why you should do your best to avoid ending up there. Show that person statistics and videos of drug overdoses as well as testimonials of friends and family who have lost people to drug overdoses. If you notice your friend is under the influence and is about to get into their car, hide the keys. Let them know that either you are driving or that they are not to get behind the wheel of a car again until they get clean. Let your friend know how much you want to help them in anyone you can and that they do not have to go through this alone.
Tell your friend to look into treatment options and not to get discouraged if one option does not work as there are many. People recover from drug addiction every day and everyone has the power to be successful. There is outpatient therapy for less serious addictions where you can check in with your drug counselor every day without having to leave home or school or tell anyone you have a drug problem. Insurance companies keep that information safe and will always ask your permission about addressing it. Inpatient treatment is living at a facility for thirty, sixty, or ninety days for around-the-clock care.
Your friend should not lose hope in finding someone to help them as there are, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3,500 board-certified doctors specialized in treating addiction. You can go visit the website of American Society of Addiction Medicine and click “Find Physician.” The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry has a “Patient Referral” program as well on their website. Treatment is a great way to counteract the effects that drugs have done to your brain and behavior and to help you regain control over your life. Give the rehab a call and ask them about their daily schedule and how they handle relapse. Make sure that they treat the addiction that your friend has as every rehab treats something different. You can even schedule a tour with you and your friend to see for yourself if the facility is the right fit. When your friend checks into rehab, you are allowed to visit them on your own time when it is appropriate.
You can become a part of your friend’s recovery by committing to attend therapy and support group meetings. That way, you can learn something new about your friend’s addiction, speak to your friend’s therapist about how your friend’s addiction affects you, and the best way you can help. It also helps to celebrate accomplishments whenever your friend has hit a certain mark like a six month mark or a year mark of being sober. Do not get frustrated or upset at your friend if they relapse as drug recovery is not supposed to be easy. Just ask your friend what led to the relapse and what you can do to prevent it from happening again. Do a lot of activities with your friend to keep their mind off of drugs like calling, texting, playing sports, and other fun activities to conquer the temptation. Remember to take care of yourself by making sure you are healthy as well. Being there for your friend will save their life in the long run.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888-570-7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.