As a Delaware drug and alcohol treatment center, we understand that finding the right things to say to someone with an addiction can be challenging.
Many people mean well but often say hurtful things without realizing it. Certain comments and statements can be especially harsh when it comes to speaking to someone who suffers from drug addiction or alcoholism. People who struggle with substance abuse disorders are often sensitive and insecure about their situation. They often understand the full scope of their conditions but have trouble asking for help. It’s important to know what not to say to someone with an addiction to avoid pushing them away in their time of need.
6 Things You Should Not Say To Someone With An Addiction
“You’ll Never Change”
Assuming that people with addictions are incapable of change is insensitive and untrue. Likewise, making comments discouraging their ability to improve their condition and defining them by their mistakes is limiting and harmful. A person who has a drug or alcohol problem should always be reminded that they can change and should be encouraged to seek out addiction treatment. Labeling the individual by their problem rather than trying to help them is harmful and can drive them further into their habits. When it comes to what not to say to someone with an addiction, you should never tell them they can’t change.
“Let’s Go Get a Drink”
Among the many things you shouldn’t say to someone with alcoholism, the number one thing is “let’s go get a drink.” In no way, shape, or form should you ever encourage a person’s addiction or tempt them to use drugs or drink. While alcohol is legal for certain ages, it’s still a drug and can still lead to dependence. Alcohol is just as difficult to quit drinking as it is difficult to quit using drugs. A person with addiction rarely needs much encouragement to engage in substance abuse and your words can have a huge impact. Instead, suggest an activity that doesn’t involve alcohol or isn’t located in an area where the person usually drank.
At Banyan Treatment Centers Delaware, we offer alcohol addiction treatment for those who are unable to quit drinking on their own. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance that can cause a variety of health problems if abused. With our help, you or someone you care for who struggles with a drinking problem can achieve sobriety.
“You Just Need to Toughen Up”
Addiction is a chronic disease and is therefore difficult to recover from without professional help. Telling someone with an addiction to “toughen up” or “deal with it” is insensitive and dismissive of their struggles. Addiction recovery requires community support and treatment. As a loved one of an individual with an addiction, your words can either be motivating or harmful. Individuals with substance abuse disorders need validation and support when deciding whether they want to get help for their problem.
“You’re Not Even Trying”
If you’ve never struggled with physical or psychological dependence, then you couldn’t understand the common problems addicts face in addiction recovery. Many people with drug or alcohol problems feel embarrassed and ashamed about their conditions and are hesitant to reach out for help. The physical and psychological aspects of addiction are also tough to conquer without support. Many substances change the chemical structure of the brain, causing a physical dependence that can be difficult to break out of. A person may also become emotionally or mentally attached to drugs or alcohol, and the thought of not using them anymore can be anxiety-inducing. Help the person meet their goals instead of making them feel as if they never will.
One of the most hurtful things you shouldn’t say to someone with an addiction is that they’re selfish. Telling them they’re selfish implies that they have control over their condition, which is not true. Remember, addiction is a chronic disease, meaning the individual will struggle with the desire to use drugs or alcohol for the rest of their lives. Regardless of how the addiction took root, you cannot and should not blame someone with a substance abuse disorder for their problem.
“Why Don’t You Just Quit?”
Among the other things you shouldn’t say to someone with drug addiction are “just get help” or “just quit.” Addiction causes relationship problems, health problems, and financial problems, leaving many individuals alone and even homeless. If a person with an addiction could quit, they would! Instead of asking a person why they can’t just quit, help them find addiction treatment.
Our residential treatment facility in Delaware is comprised of a strong and professional team that strives to offer safe and efficient addiction treatment to all of our patients. We know that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for substance abuse, and that’s why we can help you or a loved one get sober.