Strategies for Honest Talks About Addiction

Family talk

Addiction is a massive issue within the United States, perhaps larger than many people know. In fact, according to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 46.3 million people met the criteria for struggling with substance abuse. For perspective, this is around 14 percent of the nation’s population. These numbers make it clear why it is so important for us to be able to have open conversations about addiction.

Moreover, this means being able to have honest conversations with those struggling. Here are some strategies for having an open and honest conversation with those battling addiction.

Show Compassion for Your Addicted Loved One

When speaking to an addicted individual, show compassion for their situation. Their addiction may have created a slew of issues and difficulties, but being accusatory typically doesn’t go anywhere. In fact, it can often have opposite results than intended, as the individual may simply refuse to talk or may get angry themselves.

Instead, try to be understanding of their situation and show compassion. This doesn’t mean being accepting of their addiction but letting them know you are bringing it up because you care.

Set Boundaries with the Addicted Individual

Compassion is important, but it is also critical to let the person know what will and won’t be tolerated. This is where setting outlined and firm boundaries is essential. Boundaries don’t have to be mean, and no one needs to feel bad about setting them. It is simply a delineation of what kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

Ultimately, setting these lets the addict know what behaviors aren’t okay, and it can help them check themselves as well.

Once boundaries are established, they need to be enforced. If the addict is allowed to regularly bypass or push boundaries, then the boundaries will be eliminated pretty quickly. Nothing is wrong with wanting to help the individual, but boundaries keep a border that prevents help from becoming enablement.

Bring Up Drug Addiction at the Right Time

Timing is everything when it comes to talking about alcohol or drug addiction. Trying to talk to the individual while they are under the influence often won’t go anywhere and could have adverse results. Instead, approach them when both parties are sober.

It may seem like the individual is always under the influence, but there will be times in between. One example may be in the morning when they first get up and haven’t had a chance to use.

Offer Treatment Options and Support

Make it clear to the addict that the conversation is not about shaming them but rather about trying to help. This can be done by discussing potential treatment options that they could attend. Better yet, research some treatment options and present them when the conversation has opened up a bit.

This shows your commitment and that you are working alongside them in an attempt to help. They may not be ready to accept treatment at this point, but it can start the process and perhaps get them thinking about it.

Narconon is Here to Help Your Loved One Break the Chains of Addiction

Here at Narconon, we understand how difficult it can be to overcome addiction. Luckily, we can help. Our program has helped thousands of people break free from addiction, and their testimonials speak volumes. The holistic Narconon program is designed to help people rehabilitate their abilities and learn life skills to overcome addiction.

If you want to know more about our program, you can call us or use our online contact form. You can also click here to request our free information pack.


Suncoast Staff