There are no magic words to help someone suddenly realize they have lost control over their drug abuse and need treatment. However, there are things you can say to an addict to better help them see your point… and to more strongly make it.
1. “I Love You.”
It is important that your loved one realizes that everything you are doing comes from a place of devotion. If you do not remind the individual of how much you care about them––and especially if your words become hostile or angry––your loved one may begin to tell themselves your concern is superficial or self-serving in some way rather than face their own addiction. This is why it is so necessary to let them know you care for them and that your concern comes from a place of love.
2. “I Have Noticed…”
Instead of saying things like, “You do this…” or “You always…” try to use “I” statements where you only speak for yourself. Addicts can tend to become hostile when confronted about their drug use, according to the National Library of Medicine, and this kind of speaking will keep from elevating the conversation further.
3. “I Will Support You.”
Addicts often are afraid of starting recovery and having it become too hard or that they will be all alone while going through it. By telling them they will have your full support as they go through treatment, you can make the process less intimidating and possibly help them be more likely to agree to it.
4. “I Need to Set Boundaries.”
It can make a real difference in your relationship with your loved one if you tell them you will no longer be able to do certain things––give them money, allow them to live with you, let them see your children––if they do not get the help they need. This way, they not only understand you are serious about what you say, but you will also be able to create a healthier relationship between the two of you that do not enable their drug use. According to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, taking over someone’s responsibilities, protecting them, and continuing to give them second chances are all ways of enabling an addiction.
5. “I Found a Treatment Program for You.”
Finding a treatment option for your loved one before having the conversation makes it harder for them to put off finding help. Although you may end up going with a different option, it is incredibly necessary to show them the seriousness of the situation by doing the research yourself and finding a treatment facility you believe could be helpful to them.