Figuring out the things not to say to a recovering addict
A friend who’s been addicted is now in recovery, and needs understanding. It’s important to be aware that there are things not to say to a recovering addict. These things might sound like reasonable observations or questions; they tend to do harm, however.
You don’t look like an addict to me
To tell a recovering addict that they look normal can feel like a nice thing to say. To a person struggling to keep their head above water each day, however, it can seem completely wrong. To begin, it can sound patronizing, because they know what they look like. It can also sound flippant – if you won’t accept the existence of a serious problem that is right in front of you, how are they supposed to ask you for help?
What’s the worst thing that you ever did when you were addicted?
While the curiosity is understandable, this isn’t a subject that ever sounds right when directly addressed. An addict in recovery is someone who experiences regret over things that have happened in the past. Those actions may have caused serious harm or damage to their lives. If you need to talk about them, it needs to be done with a certain amount of seriousness, not gaiety.
Is life without drugs and partying boring now?
It doesn’t make sense to say anything to the recovering addict that makes them think fondly about the past. Recovering addicts receive special training in therapy, to avoid lines of thought such as this one — they can lead to something known as an addiction trigger, a stimulus that sets off a mental state of craving.
Why did you even begin using?
It’s important to remember that using drugs or alcohol isn’t something that only addicts do — it’s something that a significant part of the population does. Most people get away without entering a state of addiction. The repetitive and prolonged use that marks substance abuse and leads to addiction, comes with certain difficult mental and psychiatric disorders, causes that one isn’t truly aware of or clear about.
To ask this question is to suggest that addictive behavior is a voluntary choice. Research, however, has proven that this is not so. Addiction is a psychiatric disorder, and in many cases, substance abuse is, as well.
Did you really need to go to rehab?
This is one of the more important things to never say to an alcoholic in recovery. The suggestion made with this question is that it’s possible to will oneself into quitting, and there’s no need for professional help. The truth is, that while some people do manage to quit on their own, it isn’t possible in a great many cases.
Not only is addiction a mental disorder, it often involves complications brought on by other psychiatric and psychological disorders. It takes a complex treatment approach to correct these problems. Even if it were possible to will oneself into quitting a habit at the moment, sobriety attained with such brute force rarely holds. It’s important to understand that addiction is not chosen; it is a condition that leaves one with little choice.
What you do want to do: to offer encouragement
Addiction is a life-threatening condition, not a curiosity. If you’re in a position to help someone struggling with an addiction, kindness and understanding are good choices.
Meaningful words of encouragement for a recovering drug addict can only come from a real understanding of what addiction really is. Reading up about addiction is one of the best things you can do. Then, you can discuss what you’ve read. That could be a helpful gesture.
The website of Better Addiction Care is a particularly useful resource to turn to, both for information on addiction, and addiction rehabs. With excellent articles, deep information and reviews on every rehab across the country, it can be very useful resource as you attempt to learn how to help the person that you are concerned about.
Help is as close as your telephone, and you should not wait another day to make the call. Call us today and you’ll be connected to an addiction care specialist that an help you find the right facility and treatment program. Contact us now at 1-800-429-7690.