What Never to Say to an Addict

by Timothy Stewart

When I was in active addiction, you could not get through to me. I lost the support of most of my family members, aside from my sweet nana and my granddaddy John. My own mother once said to me, “Son, if you continue to live the life you’re living, you’re not going to make it. I want you to know that I bought a $10,000 insurance policy to bury you with a cause you ain’t gone make it.” Not the most supportive thing to say, and it didn’t change me. It didn’t affect me in any way at the time. But the words that did make a difference to me came from my nana, always said with tears in her eyes: “God’s going to bring you out.” She believed in me, she let me know she believed in me, and eventually, I came to believe in myself. 

If you’re worried that someone you love may be grappling with addiction, and you feel the time has come to step in and help, it’s essential to know what not to say—and how to rephrase what you want to say to ensure your message is heard. 

Instead of saying:

“I’m ashamed of you.”

Try:

“I’m here for you.” 

Instead of saying:

“Why can’t you stop?”

Try: 

“Let’s work together to help you get this under control.”

Instead of saying:

“Why are you doing this to yourself and your loved ones?”

Try: 

“I know you never asked for this addiction and you don’t want to have it, but I want to help you overcome it.” 

Instead of saying:

“Why can’t you just stick with the program?” 

Try:

“You haven’t failed. I will help you get you back on track.” 

Recovery takes time, discipline, and commitment. No one chooses to become an addict, but when it happens, that person needs love, care, and guidance—not judgment. Remember always that under that horrible addiction is a person you love, whom you want to see succeed. Keep positive. Keep patient. And keep trying.  

For more information on helping a loved one break free from addiction, order Free Yourself From Yourself today. Click hereWhat you should never say to an addict?

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