When is it Time to Say something about a Friend’s Addiction?

Addictions Content Team Info icon
Calendar icon Last Updated: 09/16/2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It is very difficult to recognize when using a substance becomes an addiction. It is even harder to recognize it in someone else. There may be times when you ask yourself if you should mention a friend’s drug or alcohol use. This is one of the most difficult decisions you can make, on one hand you do not want to lose a friend to the substance and on the other you do not want lose them by asking about an addiction. There are a few ways you can tell when it is time to say something about a friends addiction.

Your Concern

The first way to tell is if you are concerned about your friends drug or alcohol use. Something makes you feel you should talk to them about it. If you are concerned about a friends drug or alcohol use you probably should talk to them about it, even if it is just a casual conversation.

If it is Causing Problems

One of the major indicators of addiction is that it causes problems. These could be problems:

  • at home,
  • at work,
  • with friends,
  • with family members, and
  • with you.

Losing a job, constant arguing, or abnormal behavior are all signs that use has slid into addiction. Most people realize at this point that there is at least a problem although they might not immediately identify addiction. Often others see addiction before the addict does.

How to Approach your Friend about their Addiction

Always approach an addict in a calm and caring manner. Understand that addiction is usually unintentional and that they do not mean to be an addict. Most addicts are defensive about their addiction, so expect resistance. Make sure you listen to what they are saying about their drug use. If you are noticing signs of addiction there might be another cause for it, if it is an addiction you might be able to use what they say to help them seek treatment.

Unfortunately, approaching an addict is difficult. It is best to approach them when they are sober and alert. Some people prefer to approach their friends after a bad night of drug or alcohol use. This way the pain or remorse is fresh in their mind.

Be Consistent

Make sure that you are consistent in your approach. If you need to write down why you are concerned, you can make sure you say what you need to. It is important to make sure that you stay calm when you speak to the addict, be consistent, and ask them to seek help.

A confrontation is not productive to getting an addict to help. Some addicts get confrontational but if you remain calm and collected, there is a better chance they will respond.