How to talk to a family member about addiction?

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September 7, 2021

Approaching a loved one about their possible substance use disorder can be difficult, despite having only the best intentions. The stigma of addiction is heavy, causing many people who need help to be in denial of their drug use and the serious consequences that have come along with it. While there is no single best approach to having this discussion with a family member, it’s essential to understand that reactions of anger, defensiveness, and denial are not uncommon and only act as a barrier to seeking treatment, not a dead end. 

People have found that gathering only the most trusted and closest loved ones together to speak with the family member struggling with addiction can succeed in having an open discussion. Some prefer to do this with a counselor present, for which AppleGate Recovery can provide resources to those interested. These meetings are conducted in a safe and calm environment where everyone has a chance to speak, and the person of concern is offered a pre-planned treatment option to get the help their need with opioid addiction. This is often a significantly helpful measure since all of the legwork in finding treatment and setting up intake is done for them in advance. 

There are times when more than one of these meetings need to occur before the family member with opioid use disorder is prepared to take a step towards recovery. Families should prepare for such resistance but shouldn’t give up upon the first few efforts. AppleGate Recovery has family resources with substance use counselors to help people organize their thoughts and plans while dealing with the other aspects of addiction affecting their family unit.