Communication is the key to a successful and happy relationship. Whether it’s a family member or romantic partner, establishing a channel of trust is the foundation for a healthy relationship. However, communicating with a loved one that is struggling with an addiction can be confusing, frustrating and self-demoralizing, simply because addiction can change the way that people think. Here are 4 tips to follow if you are having a difficult time communicating with someone who is struggling with addiction:
Be Kind and Understanding with Someone Struggling with Addiction
Through your words and actions, you should demonstrate empathy and understanding towards an individual that may be experiencing physical and mental stress. Addictions have become a stigmatized issue in modern society, where blame and condemnation are cast upon people with addictions instead of patience and a willingness to help. It is important to understand that someone struggling with an addiction and have the capacity to know that addiction does not define a person. Learning to forgive and making amends can go a long way in re-establishing a healthy relationship.
Listen to Their Struggles
It’s easy to preach when you know one side of the story; you may want to berate or vent your frustration about your loved one’s addiction, but instead, do everything you can to understand their story. For everything that you say, listen twice as long. Withhold judgement and prejudice and simply listen to them talk about their current condition, how their addiction began, and how their addiction makes them feel. Individuals struggling with addictions are more likely to explain their feelings and hardships if they know they will be heard without criticisms or disappointment.
Help Them Receive the Help They Need
People with addictions are often the last to admit they have an addiction and may come to terms with it far later than their friends and family have. Addictions are stigmatized which may discourage individuals from speaking out and finding help due to fear they may be discriminated against. Help them find the necessary resources to assist them emotionally or physically, and if they refuse, you may wish to look for help yourself. Living with an addict or seeing a loved one struggle can take a toll on your emotional state and may prevent you from thinking clearly or functioning properly in your own life.