Loving someone who suffers from chemical dependency is one of the most difficult things anyone can go through. The emotions you experience while she struggles with drugs or alcohol can be completely overwhelming and leave you feeling powerless.
It can feel like your entire life has been overtaken by her substance abuse. But you can take action – by confronting your loved one about her drug or alcohol problem.
Getting Ready for “The Talk”
Being prepared for this difficult conversation can greatly affect its outcome. The following tips can help you communicate effectively:
- Tip #1 – Have a Plan
Confronting your loved one about her substance abuse can be unpredictable, so it’s important to have a plan for whichever direction the conversation turns. If she’s receptive to your thoughts and concerns, have a plan. This could include providing information regarding a therapist, rehab facility or 12-step meeting in the area. If the conversation takes a negative turn, be sure to have a Plan B.
- Tip #2 – Listen Effectively
Listening is key and can make her feel that you’re really taking the time to understand her point of view. Make sure you don’t interrupt or jump to conclusions. All of these factors can have a beneficial impact on the outcome of the conversation.
- Tip #3 – Keep Calm
This is a situation which involves vulnerability on both sides, and thus, it’s easy to play off each other’s emotions. So, if you start off accusatory and angry, she’s likely to respond in the same manner. Instead, speak gently and reassure her that you want to help. Avoid judgement or blame. By using a compassionate tone, you’re more likely to achieve the desired result.
- Tip #4 – Set Boundaries
By confronting your loved one, you’ve taken a stand and let her know something has to change. Be sure to have consequences if she refuses treatment, such as refusing to pay her bills or giving her any more money. If you continue to enable her destructive behavior she’ll be less likely to seek help.
- Tip #5 – Implement Self-Care
Chemical dependency is a disease that can wreak havoc on the entire family. The lying and manipulation takes an emotional toll, leaving you feeling utterly drained and exhausted. Regardless of the outcome with your loved one, it’s important for you to seek outside support, either through individual therapy or through a community support group, such as Al-Anon.
Additional Reading: Your Loved One Asked for Help…Now What??
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