If you have a loved one suffering from addiction, you know the heartache and pain that comes with substance abuse. It’s not an easy road for either of you.

The difficult truth is addiction is a disease, not a choice. The person is suffering greatly inside, using substances as a way to escape emotional or physical distress. Addiction stems from an underlying issue, like trauma, mental health struggles, or lack of human connection. 

The pain of addiction is intense and feels impossible to overcome alone. However, the perceived gains of using — relief from suffering, pleasure, or companionship — keep the addiction cycle going. 

If you have someone struggling with addiction in your life, there are steps you can take to help them toward healing. There will be hard moments, but there is hope. Here are some ways to get you started. 

Approaching Your Loved One 

Express Your Concern

The process begins with recognition. You can start by expressing your concern for their well-being. Say, “I’ve noticed you seem to be struggling lately, and I’m worried about you. I want you to know I care, and I’m here to support you.” Let them know specific instances that worried you while affirming that you offer unconditional love.

Suggest Seeking Help

Gently suggest they speak to a medical professional about treatment options or look into local support groups. You can even help them research what avenues feel safest. If they are nervous about going alone, you can offer to attend meetings and appointments with them. The choice is their own, but knowing they have you as a support system can make the prospect of seeking help less daunting. 

Set Clear Boundaries

To protect your health and safety, be clear in expressing what you will and won’t tolerate. If they are actively using, you may need to limit time spent together or restrict them from your home. You can’t force them to change their behavior, but you are responsible for your own response. 

As difficult as it may be, don’t shelter them from the consequences of their actions. While it may be tempting to pay their rent or bail them out of jail, this shields them from the reality of their situation and allows the addiction to continue unchecked.

Getting Treatment and Support 

man walking down a raod

This will be challenging, as denial and resistance are familiar with addiction. Make sure to prepare yourself for excuses, broken promises, and manipulation. 


If you’ve approached your loved one and they are still in denial, an intervention may be necessary. Gather close friends and family and meet with an interventionist to plan how to confront them about the impact of their addiction and the need for treatment. Be specific about the negative consequences you’ve witnessed and express your care and concern for their well-being. Let them know you will no longer enable their addiction in any way.

Detox and Rehab

The initial step is detox, where medical staff help them safely withdraw from the substance. Then, rehabilitation focuses on the underlying issues fueling the addiction through various therapies and counseling. Inpatient or residential rehab provides a controlled environment for recovery, while outpatient allows them to live at home. Find a program that specializes in their particular addiction and any co-occurring disorders. The longer they stay, the better their chance of success.

Ongoing Support

Recovery is a lifelong process. They will need ongoing support to avoid relapse, learn new coping strategies, and an action plan for if/when they relapse. Let them know you will be there when times get tough. 

You can also educate yourself. Support groups such as Al-Anon can give you community and resources for caring for your loved one. Additionally, substance abuse therapy is a resource not just for the person struggling with addiction but also for you. Walking the road to recovery is difficult, but we can support you with every step you take. Contact our offices to set up your first appointment.