While there are certain things that you can talk about to someone who is struggling with addiction, sometimes you might end up saying something that does more harm than good. Here are just a few questions that you should never ask an addict, no matter how good your intentions may be.
“Are You Sure You’re an Addict?”
Just because someone doesn’t fit the stereotype of a drug addict doesn’t mean that they aren’t one. A lot of addicts have jobs, active social lives, and otherwise look like they have their lives together. That doesn’t mean they aren’t still addicts or that their addiction isn’t negatively affecting them. People often check into rehab because they feel like they’re going to lose control of their drug and alcohol use, not because they already have lost control. Also, belittling a problem as serious as addiction is not going to help someone recover. Addiction is a serious problem, and people need all the support they can get if they want to recover.
“Can’t You Have Just One Drink?”
You might be able to go out with friends and have just one drink, but that usually isn’t the case for someone addicted to alcohol or drugs. They likely won’t be able to stop with just one drink, so don’t encourage them to try. Not only will it make things difficult for them, but it’s disrespectful of their attempts to stay sober.
“I’m Going to a Party With Lots of Alcohol. Can You Come and Be My Designated Driver?”
Don’t do this. You’re asking a recovering addict to be surrounded by substances they’re trying to avoid so you can have a good time. They will be tempted to indulge, which could trigger a relapse. It is possible that they could be just fine and not start using again, especially if they’ve been sober for a long time, but you never want to assume that this will be the case.
“Do You Have Any Cravings? Have You Been Tempted to Use Today?”
The answer to this question is often yes, so you don’t need to ask. Asking a recovering addict this will just remind them of how difficult it is for them to abstain from drugs and alcohol. They will likely just want to move on with their life and focus on being healthy and sober.
“Are You High Right Now?”
This falls into the same category of asking someone if they’ve been tempted to use. Even if they aren’t high, asking them if they only remind them of how difficult it is for them to stay sober. It also sounds like an accusation, as if you don’t trust them to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Like we said earlier, an addict needs support from their loved ones if they hope to be clean and healthy. Implying that you don’t trust them will only make things worse.
“Why Didn’t You Try to Quit Sooner?”
A lot of people think they can guilt someone into seeking treatment, but the truth is that an addict can only seek treatment when they’re ready. The decision has to be theirs, and it might take them years to get to that point. Someone who is ready to go into treatment for their addiction should be supported, not be made to feel guilty for not seeking treatment sooner.
“What is Treatment Like?”
If someone wants to talk about the treatment they receive for their addiction or go into detail about Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, they will tell you when they’re ready. Addiction is still greatly stigmatized in our society, and addicts often feel a lot of guilt and shame because of it even when they are seeking treatment. It’s the reason why programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are anonymous.
Someone who is struggling with addiction needs a lot of support from their friends and family, but asking these questions is not the right way to give that support. Instead, ask your loved one how they are feeling and what you can do to help them. You don’t need to ask anything more specific than that.
As always, if you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction or you yourself are an addict, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you find the treatment program that you or your loved one will need. Call us at 844-903-2111.