This is a question I am asked on a daily basis. "How do I help a friend or family member who is addicted to opiates?" There are many answers to this question, and I think it's important to cover a few topics about helping others. First thing I recommend to all people who are worried about their friends or family is to read and educate themselves on opiate addiction and withdrawal. Here at CalmSupport.com we have a ton of information on opiates in our blog section (which you are currently reading). I also have two channels on Youtube and a free social networking website called FreeFromHell.com. FreeFromHell has thousands of members who talk about personal stories, blogs, forums and a real-time chat room to speak with people who have lived through addiction and withdrawal. It's a great support system for addicts as well as friends and family members of addicts.
I understand that you want to help the person you love and care about, but if you are not educated about the problem they are facing it will be hard to help. You may be easily manipulated into thinking they have it under control, when in fact they most likely don't. Addicts are great liars and can persuade you to believe anything that comes out of their mouth. The fact that they are able to do such things keeps them using and creating havoc around them with little repercussions. In most cases that is until they make one bad decision which exposes how bad their addiction really is. This may come in the form of them stealing, lying or cheating to get more money or pills.
Once you have educated yourself and feel comfortable talking about the issue with the addict, be sure you do not start the conversation with an aggressive tone. Being aggressive towards the addict with what you say will go in one ear and right out the other. They may even get angry and defensive. You want to keep the conversation peaceful and on topic. Feel the addict out and see if they are willing to talk to you. Express support right from the start of the conversation and explain to them that you understand that they have an addiction problem. The most important thing is to let them know you care and want to help them get treatment.
Talk to the addict and explain to them that you understand that unless they want help, there is little you can do to persuade them to get clean. I always hear family members telling me they can send the addict to a rehab facility. What they don't realize is that unless the addict wants to get clean for themselves, they are both wasting time, money and emotions. The roller coaster of addiction takes a serious toll on everyone affected by it. Explain to them that you worry about them and that you only want them to live their life to the fullest. Do not throw blame at them, and do not guilt them into feeling bad. This is only going to cause them to use more to try and block out their emotions. Support is the number one thing you can show an addict.
Most addicts are miserable. They do not want to live the way they do. The life of an addict is hectic and tiring. Trying to keep up the lifestyle of an addict day after day is very stressful. On top of the lies, cheating, and stealing that addicts face, they know that withdrawal symptoms can be right around the corner. Many addicts know how horrible withdrawals feel and will do anything to get their fix to avoid withdrawals. This is when addicts make life altering decisions such as stealing or robbing.
Approach the addict with open arms and let them know that no matter what happens, you will be there for them and that your phone is always ready for the call when they are ready to get clean.