How to Confront a Friend About Substance Abuse

How friends and family can confront suspected abusers before it's too late...

The loss of Whitney Houston is being felt around the world. It's not yet known what the exact cause of death was but many suspect substance abuse played a role; Houston had a history of addiction that she was trying to overcome.

And when it comes to drug or alcohol addiction - or any other addiction, for that matter - there's no one more important in the life of the addict than the friends and family around him or her. It's rare when addicts decide on their own that they're in trouble and need help; therefore, it's up to those around them to intervene and help rid their loved one of that addiction.

The situation will always be sensitive and difficult to approach but these tips from addiction special Dr. Anne Brown can make sitting down to confront a loved one about their problem a little easier:

  1. Be ready to be disliked. "You have to understand, they're not going to thank you … but you sit down with them" anyway.
  2. Do NOT organize a group of people to sit down with someone for an intervention when you yourself haven't tried talking to the potential addict one-on-one. Try saying: "Hey, I love you. I'm concerned." And you have to give evidence of a problem. You can't just say "you're drinking too much."Have specific dates and instances ready.
  3. Choose a time to talk when everyone is sober, and start the conversation with something like: "I'm really concerned about you. I love you. I know you wouldn't want to be doing the things you're doing. I want you to get some help."
  4. Click here for final step in confronting substance abusers

Take a good, hard look at your circle of friends and family, or someone else in your life that perhaps you or others have gossiped about. Chances are, you know at least one person who may have some type of substance abuse problem and may need your help.

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About the Author: Dr. Anne Brown, PhD, RNCS of Aspen Progressive Addiction Solutions and who is in private practice, specializes in addictions. Click here to learn more about the services Anne Brown offers.