Gateway Foundation Shares Tips on Discussing Substance Abuse with a Loved One

If you are concerned that someone you care about has a substance abuse problem, it can be extremely worrisome as well as challenging to confront the issue. In approaching a loved one with an issue with substance abuse, the key is to choose your words and moment carefully when telling him or her how you feel. Ideally, pick a time when he or she is sober and when both of you are feeling calm.Discussing Substance Abuse

  • Begin the dialog in an open, caring and supportive frame of mind. Anything less and the dialog may not go as planned.
  • Avoid a moralistic tone about substance abuse. It is better to focus on the consequences that you have observed for the person and for his or her family.
  • Plan what you are going to say. This can be an emotionally charged conversation. Script out what you’d like to say, and go over it—it will help keep you on track.

This is not the time to demand your loved one stop abusing alcohol or drugs. The goal is simply to acknowledge that you believe your loved one needs substance abuse treatment and that you can help with entering treatment.

  • State calmly that you believe drug or excessive alcohol use is occurring; provide the evidence, and what you want the person to do about it.
  • Be supportive and truly listen to his or her responses, but be firm in your course of action and refuse to argue with the person.
  • Have a definite ‘next step’ plan in mind, including a contact person at available treatment center and telephone numbers so you can proceed if he or she should agree to substance abuse treatment.

If you have questions about alcohol or drug use of someone you care about, Gateway Foundation has the answers you need. For a free and confidential consultation, contact Gateway Foundation at (877) 505-HOPE (4673).

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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