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The Transition House, Inc.

How to start a conversation about substance abuse in your family

How to start the conversation about substance abuse in your family

John thinks his brother, Fred, was not himself the last time they saw each other.

Fred’s appearance seemed rumpled even though he usually made it a point to look his best. Fred also seemed disinterested in the things he always loved, so John is suspicious that something in Fred’s life has changed.

John doesn’t want to jump to conclusions, but he thinks his brother may have fallen into substance abuse.

What should John do? Here is a guide on how to start a conversation about substance abuse in your family.

  • Study warning signs – We all go through periods in our life where we may not act like ourselves. But if you see too many of these warning signs of substance abuse, it may be time to take action.

  • Talk to others – If you think a family member is abusing a substance, talk to others who may have been down this road before you. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have people who can listen and help you determine the best course of action for your situation.

  • Have the conservation – The talk you have with your family member, close friend, or partner depends on your relationship with one another. Here are some suggested guides on initiating that conversation.

  • Understand that it’s a disease – Willpower doesn’t have anything to do with whether someone can overcome an addiction. Anyone can fall into substance abuse.

  • Get others involved – You don’t have to go at it alone. In fact, it may be better if friends or family members are involved in the process.

  • Bottomed out? – A person doesn’t have to hit rock bottom for treatment to be effective. Early identification and action may improve the success of recovery.

  • Counseling matters – Stopping the abuse of a substance may be the start of the battle. Counseling after substance abuse ends is critical to successfully overcoming addiction.

Through this process, experts advise you to seek professional help. Those who have dealt with addiction before know how to have those conversations and what does, and does not, work. And before you dive in, you may want to know the difference between substance abuse and substance dependence.

If you want to understand more about substance abuse, download our eBook by clicking on the button below.

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