Confrontation is an awful task, no matter the situation. Even a simple reason to confront someone, like asking your roommate to stop leaving the toilet seat up, can leave you feeling a bit anxious.
Talking to a loved one about their drug or alcohol addiction definitely qualifies as a source of anxiety. Remember that it is natural to be nervous.
No one is just automatically awesome at talking to an addict. Here are a few tips that may help you to approach your addicted loved one with educated ears.
Mentally prepare yourself
The most important thing to understand before talking to your loved one is why exactly you are confronting them. What about their lifestyle or behavior is troubling and detrimental to their well-being?
Also, it is best to research their particular addiction before having a conversation about their using. You will need to know a bit about the addiction so you are able to have a well-informed conversation with your loved one when the time is right.
Consider a full-fledged intervention
If you think you have given all you can give to trying to communicate with your loved one, and it all fails, it may be time to consider a full-fledged intervention. Gather the family and a few select friends together, and begin exploring possible meeting arrangements.
It may also be a good idea to bring in a professional to regulate the intervention. Confronting an addict is rarely a super calm occasion, and a therapist will know how to decompress the conversation.
Tread lightly with your approach
It is crucial to find an appropriate time to confront your family member. An ideal time is when your loved one is most comfortable. They MUST be sober for the conversation (or some semblance of sober). If you try confronting an addict while they are on a bender, it will always be met with anger and contention.
Your tone is also important during the conversation. You have to be gentle and open to listening. The goal is to make your loved one feel that you are only trying to help them. There is no room for petty judgments in this conversation.
Take a stand and lay out boundaries
The act of confronting your loved one’s issue is a way of taking a clear stance on the situation. You have to let them know that things are different now. Something has to change. Hopefully, it is their behavior, but typically, it is not.
Most of the time, you are forced to show your loved one that you do mean business. Sometimes you have to cut contact. Sometimes you will need to cut financial ties. Consequences must ensue for your addicted loved one to understand that you are serious about change.