How To Approach A Friend Who Needs Rehab
Share A Common Cause, Hobby Or Pass Time Your Friend Is Interested In
Talk to your friend about what causes, hobbies and pass times you both enjoy. From this work out some activities you mutually enjoy. Some examples might be woodworking, art work, playing games, restoring a vehicle, joining a community sports league, raising money for a favourite cause or charity, detailing vehicles, playing a musical instrument and learning a new skill together. This will help allow conversation to happen naturally.
Over several months the conversation that will naturally happen will deepen and develop your friendship. It will allow trust to be built. This isn't guaranteed to be easy. Friendships require effort. When you care about someone it is easier to feel hurt or have a misunderstanding. If this occurs it will need talking about to resolve. With trust comes an opportunity to support a friend attending a rehab program.
Express To Your Friend You Are Not Out To Be Their Judge
Build a relationship based on trust with the person you care about. The genuine nature of this friendship means you must be willing to acknowledge your own weaknesses and not come across as being phony. This isn't to put you into a role of being a "know it all". If a person is unwilling to acknowledge what they don't know, when they have made a mistake or when an action causes hurt the very support being offered is at risk.
When someone you know is struggling with addiction acceptance is the key. Using your own words say that you accept your friend for where they are at in life right now. Then explain you are willing to support them as they become a better person even if they experience a setback in their treatment. You might start this conversation with "I care about you. You matter to me. I am on your team. I accept you for who you are and who you want to become."
Share How We Can't Go Back In Time
One of the challenges a person living with addiction may face is to not live in the past. Your friend might only know a life of pain and torment. Your friend may have endured abuse. But it is also possible your friend may not have learned to be loved and to love themself. You never know what a person has gone through without first being willing to listen without judging and making it a priority to spend time on this friendship. If your friend is suffering from these things encourage them to consider attending a support group or one on one therapy. Let your friend who is struggling know you are in their corner and care about their progress as they work through these issues. Let your friend know there is nothing wrong with becoming a better version of themself.
It is so important that your friend is learning new ways of responding to uncertainty, anxiety and what triggers their addiction. You have a very important role to play in this and their treatment plan. Friendships are able to affirm what is talked about in therapy sessions and give hope for future change. For a person who is struggling having a friend show acceptance is a true lifeline and giving a face to what having hope means. In terms of peer support you are able to show acceptance without judging and affirm the topics discussed during their therapy sessions. It is important your expectations match what the health care community is focused on. See your friend for who they are in the present, support their desire for change and believe in their future successes.
Encourage Your Friend To Work With What Is Available
We can't live in in the past. Nor can we escape to living in the future. Our bodies are in the present. There is hope that with a solid commitment and determination your friend may have a different future by working towards making a change. As a friend offering your support so confidence isn't lost in their action plan. It is grit and determination that will bring your friend to a future not smothered by addiction. What you are able to do is be there when your friend feels vulnerable, needs some words of encouragement, someone who will listen without judging and offer hope that the plan developed for them will succeed.
Does your friend have the bare minimum in place for what a person needs to live? Water. Food. Sleep. Clothing. Shelter. Without these it is much harder to have the head space to tackle addiction. If needed help your friend connect with community groups that will address each item. These organizations aim to treat their clients with respect while addressing situations where a client becomes abusive. If your friend is resistant to their help offer assurance that they will be able to make a future donation to help the next person when they've worked through their issues. Breaking the cycle of just surviving is helping your friend establish stability in their life and having the head space to tackle addiction. With these essentials in place support your friend as they develop a plan with the health care community for treatment and developing life goals.
If Necessary Share Some Tough Love In Establishing A Routine
Help Your Friend Get Organized To Attend Their Therapy Program
Explain Their Treatment Program Is No Different Than People Receiving Help For Other Medical Conditions
Your friend may experience an encounter with someone who demeans them for needing addiction treatment. Let them know your commitment to them as a friend and a person remains unchanged. Talk through their right to receive appropriate medical treatment. Relate this to when someone breaks a bone as a result of a poor decision and requires an operation to heal the fracture. It is important your friend shares any lingering doubt or worry from these types of encounters with their medical team. Help your friend organize their thoughts and prepare what they would say to communicate this. If it is helpful encourage your friend to directly ask their health care team to confirm they are still committed to the treatment plan even though they felt ashamed when they were confronted.
Help your friend not feel a stigma in their pursuit of help to break an addiction and becoming a better person. During their times of weakness and feeling vulnerable share progress and positive change you see in them. Build them up in who they are, remind them of causes they are passionate about, past successes and skills they have developed that contributes to their world. Help your friend understand there is a place in the world for them to occupy. Ask your friend to tell you about past accomplishments. These could be from their education, certifications they have received, skills they have mastered or moments in life where they risked helping someone else. Help your friend realize their addiction is just one part of their life and that there is indeed hope for their future.