Ask An Expert With Maria Ulmer: How Do You Tell Someone They Need Addiction Help?

Summit Behavioral Health’s very own addiction expert and Chief Clinical Director, Maria Ulmer, offers helpful insight on a question frequently asked by the loved ones of an addict.

Q: How Do You Approach Someone to Tell Them That They Need Help?

A: Addressing someone you care about regarding an addiction or compulsive behavior can be stressful and overwhelming. Often we over-think the situation and before we know it, we are consumed with worries and fears about the “what ifs”…

“What if they are offended by my concerns?”

“What if they become angry or upset with me for confronting their behaviors?”

“What if even after I’ve expressed my concerns they continue to drink or use drugs?”

We do not have control over someone’s behaviors, thoughts, or feelings, however, we do have control of our own behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Take some time to reflect upon your experience in your relationship with the addict or alcoholic. Consider how much you care for this person, how much they mean to you, and how their addictive/compulsive behaviors have interfered or impacted your relationship with them. Once you have taken the time to do some self-reflection, sit down and have a conversation with your loved one and share with them your honest and genuine reflections about your relationship with them and how their using behavior has begun to get in the way of being able to continue on in a healthy relationship with them.

There are support groups in the community for you access such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. It is often very helpful to reach out to others for support – especially those who have had similar experiences such as yours. Counseling can also be extremely effective in helping you to sort through your concerns and how this is affecting your daily life and responsibilities. It is important to practice healthy self-care each day and a therapist/counselor can assist you in prioritizing your emotional and physical needs as you learn to manage this relationship. There are lots of resources on the web and your local community regarding addiction and recovery – remember you are not alone!

Thank you for your question! – Maria Ulmer

If you have a question about addiction and recovery, that you would like answered by our expert, please take a second and submit it to us. Our expert, Maria Ulmer, will be answering these weekly. Remember, you are not alone, which means you are not alone in your questions either. We are here to help! #SBHAskAnExpert

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