Do’s and Don’ts When Talking to a Loved One About Addiction

In an industry that often promotes and encourages partying, recognizing that you or a loved one needs help can be the hardest part.

Here’s a guide for Do’s and Don’ts when speaking to a loved one about addiction.



ENCOURAGE THEM TO FIND PROFESSIONAL HELP:  Maybe offer to attend a meeting with them, show a desire to learn. 

ENCOURAGE THEM TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND THEIR ADDICTIONS:  Learn about triggers, symptoms, warning signs. 

COMMUNICATE USING “I FEEL” STATEMENTS:  Refrain from saying things like “you make me feel…”, instead try saying “when this happens, I feel…”. Try to avoid guilt. 

SPEAK WITH POSITIVITY, OPTIMISM, AND LOVE:  This could help your loved one feel the comfort and encouragement they need. 



ASSUME IT’S EASY FOR SOMEONE TO TALK ABOUT THEIR ADDICTION: Lots of feelings including sadness, shame, guilt, anger may be occurring.

ASSUME ADDICTION IS A CHARACTER FLAW: Addiction is a chemical imbalance and illness.  

ASSUME CERTAIN “TYPES” OF PEOPLE GET ADDICTED TO SUBSTANCES: It can happen with people from all backgrounds, high paying jobs, families, etc as much as anyone else. 

PUNISH THE PERSON IF THEY RELAPSE: Addiction is an ongoing process that has both successes and failures. 



Preferred Language Resource: Words Matter: Preferred Language for Talking About Addiction | National Institute on Drug Abuse 

National AA Finder: Alchoholics Anonymous 

National NA Finder: Narcotics Anonymous 

National Al-Anon Finder: Al-Anon Family Groups