Resources for Friends & Family
Are you concerned about a loved one? Learn more about what you can do.
What to do if You Are Concerned About a Loved One’s Behavior
Here are some things for you to consider if you are concerned about a loved one’s relationship with alcohol and/or drugs:
Review Silver Sobriety’s Signs of Addiction
Observe the person’s behavior over a period of time and take note of specific behaviors that concern you
Talk to other people who are close to the person (family, friends) about your concerns
Seek advice from a professional
Attend a local Al-Anon meeting to receive support from others who are in a similar situation
Don't be Afraid to be Proactive
Although it is common to feel helpless or overwhelmed, don’t wait for things to get worse – taking action early is preferable to waiting until the problem is worse or waiting for something bad to happen (losing a job, losing relationships with friends/family, getting a DUI, and/or long-term health consequences). Treatment may also be more successful if addressed in the early stages of Substance Use Disorder.
Have a Conversation
At some point, you may want to bring up the topic of your loved one’s substance use with them directly. If you do, here are some things to consider:
Do not try to talk about substance use while the person is under the influence – even if this is when the behavior of concern is being exhibited. The next day is a good time to talk about what happened yesterday/last night.
Start the conversation by letting the person know that you care about them and that is why you are bringing up a difficult subject
Tell the person what behaviors you have observed that are concerning – be as specific as you can, and give them time to respond
Don’t go into the conversation with a goal of convincing the person that they have a problem – the first conversation is about lovingly letting them know you are concerned and why, that’s it
If the person is not willing to talk to you, let it go, recognizing that someone who is unwilling to discuss the issue or consider whether there might be a problem is a strong indicator that a problem exists.
It is difficult to watch someone you love go down the dark path of addiction, in all its forms. Consequences from our actions are what usually motivates alcoholics/addicts to get help. It is hard to be patient, and in many cases loved ones decide to hold an intervention. An intervention is organized by someone with experience, usually a professional therapist. Typically a meeting is held first that excludes the alcoholic/addict, and serves to organize and prepare for the meeting. The subject is not usually told of the purpose of the meeting, and will generally be surprised to see loved ones and friends gathered. Some alcoholics/addicts want to flee at that point, but by welcoming and expressions of love, they can usually be persuaded to stay. The preferred outcome is for the alcoholic/addict to agree to treatment, usually inpatient.