How to Speak to an Addict or Alcoholic About Recovery

By Soul Sanctuary Staff, November 2018

If you are the parent, partner, or loved one attempting to convince a drug addict or alcoholic to get help then you will likely encounter many confusing and frustrating moments along the way. Here are some basic guidelines to follow that have helped others break through the barriers.

Be honest with them – Don’t make up phony excuses about why you’re not going to help them out unless they get help. Hold your position and let them know why you refuse to provide them with any support. Don’t enable them.
Don’t get fooled by their lies, deceptions, or clever antics – Many addicts are terrific liars, and if they are part of the family, they know how to pull your strings. However, you know what the truth is. You know what your loved one has become and what they will continue to be until they get help. In deciding how to help the addict or alcoholic in your life don’t let yourself be fooled by them.

speak to an addict Only provide help that is conducive to getting them clean and sober – Do not provide money unless it’s for treatment and you can keep track of it. For example, pay the treatment center directly instead of letting the person who needs help carry it. If they want to use your computer or phone to look for a rehab center that would be great, but you should monitor their use.

Do not equate love for your child, partner, or parent to your saying yes to them – Don’t let them convince you that you don’t love them because you aren’t giving them what they want and when they want it. Love and saying “yes” are not the same. It’s tough love.

Offer to help, but only in ways that lead to self-help – Invite them for a hot meal combined with some help looking for support groups. Offer the use of your phone to contact a sponsor. Provide a change of clothes for a tour of a rehab facility. These are approaches that provide help without enabling.
Get help for yourself – You’re of no help to the addict in your life if you are miserable, depressed, or angry. Seek out support groups for partners or parents of addicts and alcoholics. Read books about addiction. Seek out your own support counselor. Make yourself strong and get support to stay that way.

Dealing with addiction in the family can be as devastating as dealing with a fatal disease. It is one of the hardest things to watch, understand, and negotiate. Following the guidelines in this article can help you and your loved one get through it.

If someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drugs, visit or call 800-772-1097 to learn more about our treatment programs.