While addiction may seem like a consequence of choices you or anyone you care for made earlier, it is still to be considered as a health condition that needs just as much medical attention as emotional. And as heart-wrenching it is to learn about a family member with addiction, failing to share opinions and feelings with them makes it even worse.
Since substance abuse impacts our emotional and mental well-being, reluctant and violent behaviors are most common among addicts. Prolonged use of drugs and alcohol impairs a person’s ability to process thoughts resulting in toxic relationships and unpleasant social attributes. Thus, communicating with someone who has an addiction problem could be a serious challenge especially when you’re trying to offer help and not supporting their addictive behavior.
Although clinicians providing addiction intervention services have figured out effective ways of communicating with addicts especially defiant ones through years of experience of dealing with them. It becomes painfully critical for you to emphasize on adopting new ways of communicating with an addict when he/she refuses to accept help and treatment for their addiction. To instill courage and realization in a defiant addict requires more than just a well-intentioned act by you or any other family member.
Therefore understand the below-mentioned characteristics while attempting to communicate with an addict for a better outcome.
- Understanding Addiction: The better you understand the dependency over substance, its consequences, and recovery procedures the more likely are you to work your way into healthy conversations with the defiant.
- Identifying your role: Depending upon what relation you share with the addict is essential as it helps you understand your part in the whole communication process.
- Show Support: It’s essential to encourage and make the addict realize you’re trying to offer help. Being entirely aware of the addict’s situation and severity of the addiction will help you understand various treatment options.
- Be Gentle: Regardless of whether an addict is a family member or not, they’re most likely to speak to you about it if you allow them to, giving them enough space and freedom to let you know about it.
- Care Unconditionally: Whether you agree or not with whatever the situation for the addict is or how severe their addiction is, insist on understanding their behavior and offer unconditional support.
- Recognize Triggers: To know what triggers their addictive behavior is essential as it would help you remove such enabling habits out of their lifestyle. Taking measures to improve their surrounding environment is critical to purge risks of a relapse.
- Encourage Changes: Although initially, addicts are reluctant towards sudden changes in their surroundings, making them realize about giving up on addiction would help in establishing comfortable conversations.
- Show Consistency: Being consistent with actions, words, and as well as behaviors would give an addict hope and courage to try harder and be mindful of what’s being expected of them.
- Emotional Availability: Make sure the addict understands that you’re available for them not only physically but also emotionally at all times. Going through drug detox causes restoration of emotional balance which can be painful to endure for the addict on their own.
Behaviors to Avoid while communicating with a defiant addict
- A loved one should not be preached at, lectured at, or threatened with
- Taking responsibility for their addictive behavior such as being deceptive or giving excuses
- Not allowing them to open up about their situation and emotional condition
- Passing condescending statements, arguing and criticizing them for the consequences
- Providing money or unnecessary facilities to them
- Covering up for their addictive behavior by feeling guilty for them
- Being impatient and irritable with slow and gradual improvement in treatment.
It is best to encourage your addicted loved one to seek substance abuse treatment as soon as possible if you feel that they are abusing drugs.