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Keeping An Open Mind

Helping someone overcome an addiction really is an act of love. To support and not judge is the most important factor at this time and a willingness to simply listen is invaluable. People struggling to cope with addictions may not have had the opportunity to speak about their problems and what may lie behind them, so a sympathetic ear may just help them to unburden their anxieties.

Promising confidentiality is vital as trust is an important issue in the recovery process. However, addicts do lie and it must be made clear from the start that this will not be tolerated. Promote an honest and open environment by not being shocked at any revelations, or judgemental about the life the addict has been leading.


Building a relationship with an addict will provide a greater understanding of the problem. Encouraging them to read about their addiction may help them come to realisation about the severity of the problem. Assisting them in the recovery process by finding therapy groups, and supporting them by joining in on meetings if permitted, will show commitment. Attending GP appointments with them will also be useful, especially if there is a lot of information to understand.

Never ridicule the addict, whether in public or private. This is a sensitive time for them and may ruin the relationship that has been built up, or at worst send them straight back into a pattern of destructive behaviour.

Health And Safety

If the person is struggling with their addiction, don’t give up. There are others ways to help until they manage to beat the habit. Encouraging the use of condoms if the addiction is sexually related will at least help prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Finding a needle exchange to provide access to sterile syringes and needles will help prevent the spread of blood-borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C if the addict is a drug user.

Providing a safe haven will be beneficial to the addict who decides to go ‘cold turkey’. Having somewhere to stay and someone to help them through the experience may be vital for recovery. As this is a harrowing process and there may be medical implications, the carer should seek professional advice and be prepared for the experience.

Alternative Help

There may be alternative therapies available to help with stress levels during the recovery period. Hypnotherapy can often be useful especially with addictions like smoking. Aromatherapy can be calming and soothing and help instil a feeling of well-being. Any therapy, which promotes relaxation and makes the addict feel better within him, is beneficial at this critical time.

Keeping a journal of highs and lows can be a useful tool, especially during moments of weakness. It may point out events that trigger a relapse in the recovery period, which can then be avoided in the future. It may also prove useful in the future to help others with similar problems.

Helping someone onto the road to recovery can be very rewarding. It can also be a traumatic experience for both, so it is advisable to be well-armed with the facts and be prepared for difficult times ahead before making a commitment.

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