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Talking To A Loved One About Their Substance Abuse

If somebody you care about seems to struggle with substance use, you may have already tried to talk to them. Or maybe you have held off talking to your loved one about their addiction because you’re unsure what to say. Talking to somebody about mental health or addiction can feel intimidating. When you love somebody, it hurts when you see their quality of life deteriorating due to a substance use disorder. On the other hand, because you care about them, you may realize after a bit of time that it’s important to speak up and let them know you are worried about how they will react.

When Should You Have A Talk?

Plan your talk ahead of time. It’s perfectly OK to let a person know that you care about them and want them to get help. Set aside a time to speak to them and ask them to be there.

Don’t talk to somebody in the heat of the moment. For example, you may want to talk about their substance use when they come home drunk or high. If you do this, they may not remember anyway. They also may react badly, and the situation could escalate. Don’t try to have any discussions with a person if you think they are under the influence.

What To Say To Your Loved One

Talking to your loved one may be easy for you because you talk all the time. But if your relationship is not so chatty, you may struggle to gather your words. Getting angry or making accusations can turn the talk sour. If they come home drunk or high, it’s not a good time to begin this meaningful conversation.

You will want to gather your talking points. If you are worried about their substance use, choose a few examples of how it has impacted them and others negatively. Tell them that you’re concerned about them, their health, and their mental health. It’s OK to let them know you think they need outside help, and you’re here to support them all of the way. Let them know you're not here to judge them. You just want to help.

Come to this meeting armed with information. You can print out information on addiction and recovery from the web. Find phone numbers and websites for potential treatment options. Find out information about local 12-step meetings. You, yourself, may benefit from a group such as Al-Anon.

Your loved one may get angry or defensive; this is a natural reaction. Don't respond in anger, in return. Instead, give them the information you've printed out. Let them know what ways you can help them, such as driving them to a 12-step meeting or filling out insurance forms. Then let them process what you said. Even when they are angry, walk away. "We can talk more about this later" is an appropriate response.

Getting Help For Opioid Use Disorder

Solas Health offers compassionate, respectful, and affordable addiction treatment to patients throughout North Carolina.  We focus on Medication-Assisted Treatment, therapy, and other services that help our clients have the tools to achieve long-term abstinence. We serve all of North Carolina via telehealth.

Learn more about how we can help by calling us at 910-295-7246.


If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.

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Our  mission is to improve lives and help you get better. 

Addiction, pain, and mental health challenges interfere with the joys of living, but we can help.  Dr. Corrigan, and the whole team at Solas Health, will help.

If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.

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