Addiction Recovery - Relationships in Recovery

8 Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone with a Drug Addiction

Addiction can be a real minefield when it comes to conversation. Here's 8 things you shouldn't say to someone with a drug addiction.

8 Things Not To Say to Someone with a Drug Addiction

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

March 22, 2024

The Forge Recovery Center

If you're trying to support someone with a drug addiction, it's important to know what to say – and what not to say. In this article, we'll explore eight things you should avoid saying to someone struggling with addiction. Understanding how your words can impact them is key, whether you're a friend, family member, or caregiver.

So, let's dive in and learn how to offer the best support possible. If you or someone you know needs help navigating addiction, reach out to The Forge Recovery Center for personalized treatment care plans tailored to your needs. Your journey to recovery starts here.

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is when you find yourself unable to stop using substances despite the harm they cause. It's like your brain gets tricked into thinking you need the drug to feel good or normal, making it tough to quit. This struggle can affect your health, relationships, and daily life.

But remember, it's a condition many people work through with the right support and treatment.

Signs of Drug Addiction

Substance use disorders may result from the consumption of prescription painkillers, psychoactive narcotics, or even over-the-counter medicines.

The following are some signals of someone with a drug addiction:

  • Odd odors on your body, on clothing, or a decline in coordination

  • Alterations in appetite, sleeping habits, and looks

  • Eyes with a bloodshot appearance, unusually big or tiny pupils

  • Extreme mood alterations, irritation, disorientation, or explosive anger

  • Appearing to be frightened, nervous, or paranoid without cause

  • Unexpected temperament or attitudinal changes

  • Behaving shadily or using a suspicious manner

  • Decreased productivity at employment or education and lower attendance

  • Relationships preferred hangouts, and interests abruptly altering

  • Incurring risks while using drugs, for instance, driving a vehicle or engaging in unsafe sex

  • Having legal issues, such as being detained for unruly behavior or intoxicated driving

  • Ignoring obligations at career, school, or household

The initial step on your path to healing, which frequently requires enormous grit and determination, is identifying the existence of a crisis. Once the condition is recognized, it is essential to remember what not to say to the suffering individual.

1. Don't Say the Key is Balance

If you're detoxing from opioids, you might be tempted to swap in alcohol for your usual substance. But it's really important to steer clear of all drugs and alcohol while you're healing. Also, try to keep away from drinking or using substances around someone who's recovering.

Saying things like "the key is balance" might sound encouraging, but it can tempt them to experiment and might deepen their struggle with addiction.

2. Never Say Why Don't We Have a Drink

The one phrase you want to steer clear of when talking to someone struggling with alcohol is, "Why don't we have a drink?" Persuading or encouraging them to drink, or in any way supporting their addiction, is a big no-no. Remember, just because alcohol is legal for adults doesn't make it any less addictive.

Quitting drinking can be just as tough as kicking a drug habit. Your words carry weight, and it often doesn't take much to tip someone back into old habits. Why not suggest a fun, alcohol-free activity instead, especially something outside their usual drinking spots?

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Would you like more information about someone with a drug addiction and how to help them? Reach out today.

3. Avoid Saying You Won’t Ever Improve

It's not cool or fair to think that if you're struggling with addiction, you can't get better. Knocking someone down for their potential to turn things around or defining them by their mistakes is not helpful. It's important to remember that change is possible if you're dealing with alcohol or drug issues.

Encourage yourself or your friend to seek help for addiction. Labeling someone by their struggles instead of offering a hand can hurt more than help, and it might even push them to stick with those harmful habits. And one thing you should never do? Tell someone with an addiction that they can't improve. Always believe in the possibility of change.

4. Refrain from Using the Words “You Are Not Attempting”

If you've never faced a battle with physical or mental dependence, it might be hard to understand the tough road folks with drug issues walk on their journey to recovery. Many people tangled up with alcohol or drug addiction hesitate to seek help because they're wrapped up in guilt and shame. Trying to beat addiction alone? That can be super challenging.

Many substances mess with your brain's wiring, creating a physical need that's hard to shake off. And it's not just about the physical stuff. Alcohol or drugs often fill an emotional or psychological void, making the thought of quitting daunting. Instead of feeling like you're never going to make it or not even giving quitting a shot, remember, there's help out there. You're not alone in this.

5. Don't Say, Why Not Just Give Up Now?

Hey, saying "Just get help" or "Just give up now" isn't the way to go when it comes to drug addiction. It's tough, you know? This battle can leave you feeling alone, maybe even without a home, because of all the financial, health, and relationship issues it brings.

If quitting was easy, people would just do it. How about lending a hand instead? Helping someone find the right addiction treatment is way more useful. And guess what? The Forge Recovery Center is there for you, offering personalized care plans to fit your needs. Why not give them a shout for guidance?

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We’re here to help you find your way

Do you have more questions about someone with a drug addiction and how to help them? Reach out.

6. Avoid The Phrase You Must Simply Become Stronger

Dealing with addiction is super tough, and going it alone? Even harder. When someone's struggling with drug addiction, telling them to "just get stronger" or to "deal with it" is not cool. They need more than that - like counseling and folks who've got their back. What you say can make a huge difference. Being supportive and understanding can give them the push they need to seek help. Remember, a little empathy goes a long way.

7. Never Mention You Are a Selfish Person

Telling someone who's struggling with drug addiction that they're selfish is something you want to avoid. It's like saying they have total control over their situation, which isn't true at all. Addiction is a tough, ongoing battle, and they'll be fighting those urges to use drugs or drink for a long time. It's not fair, nor is it right, to blame them for their addiction, no matter how it started.

8. Refrain From the Phrase I Avoid Hanging Around with Substance Abusers

If you're trying to help someone kick an addiction, making them feel ashamed by saying things like, "I avoid hanging out with substance abusers," can make it harder for them. The stigma around drug addiction is a big reason why it's so tough for someone to open up about their use, seek help, or even think critically about it. Instead, saying, "I'm glad you're trying," can show them you understand their tough spot.

Criticizing, nagging, or scolding them about their drug use could make them think you're trying to control them, especially since using drugs is often their way of coping. This can backfire, pushing them to find comfort in their drug use even more if they feel judged or misunderstood.

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We’re here to help you find your way

Do you need advice about someone with a drug addiction and how to help them? Reach out today.

Seek Treatment For Someone With a Drug Addiction

When trying to support someone with a drug addiction, the words you choose can either build bridges or walls. Addiction is not a choice or a moral failing; it's a complex condition that demands understanding, patience, and compassion. Avoiding phrases that judge, shame, or isolate can significantly affect someone's journey toward recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, remember that help is available. The Forge Recovery Center offers a supportive environment and expert care to guide individuals through their recovery journey. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Reach out today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.

Want to learn more? Contact The Forge Recovery Center today.

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