• Scott McClure

How to Help A Friend Who Has An Addiction

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

Watching a loved one battle substance abuse and addiction is a painful experience and people often find themselves at a loss on what to do. This blog will guide you through the steps many have taken in order to help their friend battling addiction.



Identify the Problem


Detecting substance abuse and addiction in a loved one can be tricky, but there are certain physical, behavioral, and psychological signs you should watch out for.  These can help in determining whether the substance use problem at hand is mild, moderately high, or has become quite severe, i.e. the person may have developed an addiction.

Identifying the issue is the first and foremost step in helping someone with an addiction.  However, don’t just rely on your observational skills for reaching a diagnosis. People battling an addiction tend to put on a façade to keep their substance use a secret, and their actions can go undetected for a long time. Even the slightest indication in their behavior, emotional state, or physical appearance should be accounted for and you should preferably consult a qualified health professional or an interventionist before determining whether the condition has become a full blown addiction.


Communicate Empathetically


Identifying the issue and seeking assistance from a medical professional is just the first step. It’s extremely probable that your friend refuses to get professional help or medical treatment due to feelings of shame in getting help, because of the enormous social stigma in our culture today; which could prevent them from getting the professional help they drastically need.    


Forcing someone or promising them gifts if they would only get treatment is not advisable, you will have an individual who doesn’t want or even believe that they need to be there and nothing will come of it. Empathy is key! Hear their concerns out and give them reassurance that things will improve once they begin receiving professional help.

You can also arrange for an intervention where their closest friends and family members express how much they value their presence, and come together to plan a recovery process.  


Be supportive of their choice instead of enforcing your opinion, and show empathy. A little kindness can go a long way!


Discuss Treatment Options


Educate yourself about addiction and the various treatment options available, so that you can be of more help to your friend. Reach out to trained professionals and establishments that deal exclusively with addiction, and learn as much about the recovery process as you can.



Your friend needs to know that you are on their side and that their feeling and concerns are being heard. Asking for help can be extremely difficult and the last thing you want is for them to struggle all alone.


The more informed you are, the more helpful you can be in helping them select a suitable treatment option. However, at the end of the day it is still their choice to receive treatment and don’t try to force them into making this decision!


Help your loved one get the help they need to fight substance abuse and addiction!  Get in touch with our team in Houston to learn more about our sober living facility for men, designed to help individuals gain full recovery.

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