What Can You Do to Help an Addicted Person?

From the substance abuser’s perspective, the subject below can be a very real issue. You, as a relative or parent, may consider that you have done more than your share of help. Yet, despite all your efforts, the person only turns around and continues to abuse drugs or alcohol. And your life is the worst for it.

At a closer inspection, this scenario is more common than one may believe. But how do you start successfully helping an addicted person? Read on to get more insight.

phone Graphic

1 888-488-8434
Speak to a live agent

Or Contact us through
our form here.

In Some Cases, this Might Sound Familiar?

How many times has your loved one talked about their financial difficulties? Their rent is late, bills are not paid, or they can’t afford food for the children, etc. There are as many scenarios like this as there are people who are abusing mind-altering substances.

The person presents a problem or some urgency, and you are the only one who can solve this. More often than not, you help by paying their phone bill or sending a few dollars so they can eat a hot meal. You are attempting to hold off homelessness, starvation, cut communication, etc. But is it really helping? What is a loving parent to do?

Suggested reading:

 Aperson handing out money.

Enabler Defined

Backing Off
From Help

 A stop sign.

Ability to Deal with Life & State of Mind

In fact, it is not proper help despite the good intent mentioned above. For anyone abusing some mind-altering substance, it’s only a matter of time before the ability to deal with life dwindles. They lose the ability to be responsible, caring, understanding, and other qualities you usually recognize in them. These qualities are what permit them to function in this current society.

It takes proper recognition of the actions needed to eat each day. One needs to purchase food, so one needs to have income. To have money, one needs to work, etc. This statement is a given for anyone in a proper state of mind.

But the drug-addicted individual does not think this way. They are constantly bothered by the need for another high, buzz, rush, numbness, thrill, etc. Therefore, they depend on a clear-minded relative to aid in the important actions to make it to tomorrow.

The abuser’s cry for help is not truly about the lack of money.

 A thumb up and one down.

Dos & Don'ts


 Father enbracing two children.

This is the First Step in Helping an Addicted Person

Hear Them Out, Listen, Understand

You will often hear the addicted person state: “No one ever listens” or “No one cares.” Usually, it is due to some agency, a friend, or a relative telling the person what is wrong with them. “What is wrong with you!” “Don’t you see your life going to pieces?”

You can be sure the misuser is quite aware that something is wrong, just as you are. There is no need to tell the person your “opinion” of what is wrong. It can only set things back. This person needs others to take a moment and “listen” (when they are sober.) Helping someone is listening to what the person has to say. 

You may be surprised at what you will discover. Find out more on the dos and don’ts of approaching a loved one. The person may open up and tell you how tired they are of using drugs or alcohol. Or they may blame you and the world for their state of affairs. 

Your task is to receive and understand this and let them know you got what they are saying. It does not mean you need to AGREE. But let them know you heard what they said, that it was received and understood. You will be amazed how this can bring a more profound and sincere dialogue.

Game Plan: Getting Them to See the Light

The whole reason is to get the individual comfortable talking to someone who will not judge, evaluate, or degrade their communication. You can now build on the dialogue from this newfound trust and bring the person to accept help. 

So, the next time your daughter, son, or spouse says, “nobody ever listens,” you know what to do. Reply with “I’m here and ready to listen” and do so. They might refuse at first but just repeat your statement. Eventually, they will see your sincerity. You will get more done this way. With your conversations, get them to recognize for themselves that they need help.

Remember that you are not there to give them money or pay their bills, nor are you there to bail them out of their own problems. Your task as a parent or a friend is to listen and get them to see the light. At one point, they will request your help for professional addiction counselling. Then, by all means, do what you can to make it happen.

Ahand preventing communication.

Five Steps
Through Denial

Drowning in

 A with face in hand.

What is the Time Span for Results?

Drugs or alcohol causes the person to become introverted (looking inward). The substance they use sticks them in a mixing bowl of thoughts, emotions, and feelings. By having the person open up little by little, you are assisting in sorting through these confusions. 

The results in helping an addicted person can happen rapidly or over a length of time. But whatever occurs, do not give up. Following these simple steps will save you from anxieties, frustrations, and worries and may well save your loved one’s life.

Call a professional referral counsellor if you have difficulties helping someone struggling with addiction. They can guide you. They’re available to take your call.

ARC Services Logo


Find out more about us.

Read More
Very kind and informative. It encourages me to continue supporting a beloved family member who has been through this problem.
Cyn C.
Read More
Very very helpful in a time of desperation. I highly recommend using their service. They have the knowledge and experience. When one place did not work out they very quickly recommended another which worked out perfectly.
Lisa B
Read More
Well, I'm not the best with words. I will do my best. My agent, Susan is the best person I've ever dealt with- she's been so professional, and patient and kind- and no one will ever understand how much she's helped me so far. My journey is not over yet, however the guidance I'm receiving is helping me so very much and I cannot thank you enough. Keep up the great work and thank you for being there for myself and my loved one- as I get the info I give to my loved one.
Picture of Marc J. Bernard

Marc J. Bernard

Substance Use Disorder & Recovery Professional,
Referral & Consultation Counsellor

phone Graphic

1 888-488-8434
Speak to a live agent

Or Contact us through
our form here.


Newsletter Sign up

Get news and helpful articles