You just found out that your loved one is taking drugs, and you’re afraid to talk to anyone about it. Yet, deep down, you know that this is wrong, that somebody needs to say something, do something.
We agree, and we also think that you are the best person to start this conversation with your loved one.
But how do you start a conversation like this?
People who are addicted to drugs often have underlying psychological issues that led them down this path. Depression, ego issues or loneliness are deep-rooted problems that can cause someone to make bad decisions. Confronting a loved one about drug addiction can open up a can of worms that you never knew existed. Often, he/she will respond with outright anger and/or strong denial. There will be a heated argument.
Too often, family members or friends have the noblest intention: “Something is wrong with you and we want to help you fix it.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but someone coping with depression doesn’t need to be told that he or she is broken. It doesn’t help.
Many times, it only makes it worse.
The questions below not only prepares you for the confrontation but also what comes after the confrontation. These are questions that you must answer before confronting your addicted friend or family member.
What led you to believe that he/she is taking drugs?
Did something specific happen that led you to think he’s smoking meth? Or was it the smell of weed that gave her away?
When it comes down to your observations, be very specific. Write it down in a list if you have to. Think of it as checking your ammo before going into a battle.
Knowing the facts and observations helps prepare you for the argument that will come. With the list of observations, you can approach this topic from a rational perspective. Rather than accusing your loved one of taking drugs, you’re saying “I noticed that you have been smelling of glue every time you come back late”, or “You’ve been keeping to yourself lately, and I found this glass pipe in your room.”
Starting a conversation with observations and facts helps to reduce any defensiveness that your addicted friend or child might be feeling and sets the tone for a rational conversation.
Who knows, maybe after listing your observations, you might realise that your son might not be addicted after all.
What is the worst case scenario?
So you’ve listed down the observations, and you’re absolutely sure that your friend is addicted. Now what?
To you, the obvious course-of-action is for him to seek treatment. But to him, it probably isn’t. After all, who looks forward to going through 2 weeks of excruciating withdrawal symptoms followed by an intensive rehabilitation session?
As someone who loves him and wants to help, this is the hardest question to answer. Hard though it is, you need to be realistic: Can you really continue to be friends with him and watch him continue to abuse drugs? Are you able to live with a brother that refuses to go through rehabilitation and change for the better?
Since you are already reading this article, then it’s obvious your answer is no. Which is why you will need an ultimatum. You need to be ready to say, firmly, what you will do if he refuses treatment.
Your answer, selfish as it might sound, should be focused on you. What will you do? Will you stop being his friend? Will you move out? The message is this: You’re not forcing him into a corner, but you feel that you are unable to continue this relationship knowing his self-harming habit.
You will need time to come to terms with this answer, but it is necessary, for without consequence, there is no incentive for your loved one to stop taking drugs.
Are you ready for what comes after the confrontation?
You’ve made it through the hardest part of the preparation, and you deserve heartfelt respect from every one of us here in the talk2SANA crew.
Now, you have to prepare for what comes after. Rehabilitation is a lifetime process, and support from a loved one is crucial in preventing relapse.
Supporting a loved one in drug rehabilitation can be tiring and confusing if you are unsure of what is needed from you. Learn about the different rehabilitation options available, and what the rehabilitation process is like in Singapore.
If you have any burning questions, our live chat para-counsellors are available to answer them.
Rehabilitation is a lifelong process
I’ll end off with an ancient quote from Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
That single step is much easier to take when someone is walking beside you.