People have long believed that a person must
hit bottom before he or she is in a position to get help. About
20 years ago researchers began to realize that "not helping
hurts"; they discovered that we were killing people with kindness.
As a result, a person with a substance problem would sometimes arrive
in treatment - or at the emergency room - too late.
Neither you nor anyone else can force someone to stop using substances,
but you can encourage and help them to make changes.
TALKING TO TEENS ABOUT THE PROBLEM?
- Don't jump to conclusions
- Identify specific concerns with spouse
- Get as many facts as possible before
- Arrange a time and place for discussion
- Discuss specific changes with child
- Be cool, calm, collected, concerned
DON'T PANIC OR BE CONFRONTATIONAL
- Ask the child for an explanation
- Don't assume anything, wait for an
- State rules and consequences of failure
to follow rules
- Continue to monitor the situation
after the discussion
CALL FOR APPOINTMENT/INFORMATION TO DISCUSS:
- Setting better limits: What is appropriate and inappropriate
- Setting preventative rules to assist your teen.
TALKING TO AN ADULT
ABOUT THE PROBLEM?
- Talk to the person you're worried
about. Find a time when they're not under the influence and
when you're reasonably calm.
- Tell them about the problems their
substance use is causing.
- Help them to see the effects of their
substance use as this might encourage them to change their behaviour
- Listen to them. Find out how they
feel about their substance use and how it helps them.
- Avoid getting into arguments, it will
make it more difficult for them to talk openly to you about
things in the future. For the same reason try to avoid sounding
as if you're nagging or accusing.
- Be consistent. Don't keep changing
your mind about what you're saying, or say one thing and do
- Make it clear when behaviour is unacceptable.
- Make it clear what action you will
take if they do not keep to their side of the bargain.
- Don't make idle threats.
- Discuss with friends and family what
you are trying to do, encourage them to support you and take
a similar approach. This will be less confusing for the person
who is abusing substances.
- Help the person who is using to be
realistic. Don't encourage them to make promises they can't
- Try to change patterns of behaviour
that make it easier for them to use. For example, don't give
them money if you think they will spend it on alcohol/drugs.
- Don't try and hide the effects of
the person's substance use (for example, phoning work with excuses,
clearing up the mess, putting them to bed, missing social events
for fear of embarrassment.)
- Encourage the person to reflect on
how drink/drugging is affecting their life rather than using
a label like "alcoholic or addict."
- Offer your help-go to an NA/AA/CA
LINK meeting with your friend or offer to get him/her educational
materials or help to find a professional to talk to about the
problem. Link Services Assessment
- Be encouraging and positive IF YOUR
FRIEND/SPOUSE TAKES SOME INITIATIVE.
- Offer your help-go to an NA/AA/CA meeting with your friend
or offer to get him/her educational materials or help to find
a professional to talk to about the problem.
- Neither you nor anyone else can
force someone to stop using substances, but you can encourage
and help them to make changes. Help is always a phone call away!
- Consult an addiction specialist
for additional support and guidance.