You’d be surprised at how harsh people’s words toward addicts can be. Here are some common thoughts people have about addiction and even communicate to the people they love.
“I’ll never feel sorry for you until you take responsibility for yourself.”
The fact that your friend is talking to you about their addiction means they are working on taking responsibility for themselves. Admitting you have a problem is really hard. You know the mantra “admitting you have a problem is the first step” and it’s true. If that’s what they’re trying to do, don’t question it. Tell them you’re proud of them for taking responsibility for themselves. Tell them that you appreciate them feeling like they can talk with you about it. But don’t reject their first steps toward recovery by diminishing how difficult that step is.
“You can decide to stop anytime, you just refuse to do it.”
No. This is just completely untrue, and not at all fair or safe to say to an addict. There is a reason why people go to drug rehab centers, and alcohol treatment centers to go through detoxification and alcohol and drug rehabilitation treatment. It can be dangerous to do these things without being medically monitored by a licensed professional.
“If you really wanted to stop you could do it, you just don’t want to.”
Addiction is no respecter of will. Which is to say, people who are addicted cannot stop on command. Addiction is a physical condition. The body changes the way it responds without a substance. Sometimes a body will stop working all together if you go cold turkey when you are trying to get help for your addiction.
Never encourage an addict to stop using drugs or alcohol without the help of a doctor or rehab clinician. Without the proper care and tools, withdrawal and detox can cause problems and wreak havoc on internal systems.
**If you know someone who suffers with drug or alcohol addiction please support them. We have a variety of blog articles in how you can support them through this difficult time. Still, the easiest steps to take are these: bring compassion to the table when you talk with them. If they approach you asking for help, sit down with them and help them find a drug and alcohol rehab program that works best for them.