How To Help A Drug Addict or Alcoholic


One of the most common challenges addicts and alcoholics face, as well as their family members, is knowing how to go about figuring out what to do next. There are so many different treatment modalities and it can seem daunting deciding which route to take. Not to mention, if you are an addict of my variety, you are an atrocious procrastinator. And unfortunately, in severe cases, procrastination can mean death. Below are a list of things to consider if you are trying to help yourself or a loved one out of the depths of addiction.

In essence, it can be boiled down to 3 simple things.

Where to begin when trying to help an addict or alcoholic:

  • Education

  • Support

  • Action

1. Awareness of the situation: while this may not be a direct action one can take, our emotions about ourself and those we love often obfuscate the reality of what we are dealing with. Many people think that saying "you could die tomorrow," particularly in the case of a heroin addict, is too extreme and a fear based tactic to get people to seek treatment. While that may be somewhat true, and I speak from my own personal experience here, I used to believe that about the severity of the situation and 2 days later I was being narcanned in the bathroom of an Emergency Room. We do not push any opinion or side on these matters, but we do offer insight on what we have experienced in the past.

2. Be compassionate and supportive -- this is particularly important in the case of someone waiting for an open bed or something of the likes. The thing about addicts and alcoholics is a large body of them sincerely believe the world would be better off without them, and while it may seem like they no longer love in return, just remember their heart and essence is obfuscated by their drug of choice. In many ways, they no longer know how to love the ones they care about most. This doesn't mean not to have established boundaries, however, but simply have them know they have not been abandoned.

3. Reach out to a professional and research directories online -- this is the process that requires your careful attention. When seeking drug or alcohol treatment centers, it is very important to be aware of the state of the industry and that there are many, MANY programs and institutions out there whose primary mission is just to make money. Let's be real about this - rehabilitations centers make a lot of money from billing insurance plans, and unless the people in charge have built their center around a set of ethical standards and principles, the system is very easily exploited. There are amazing, small rehabilitations programs and centers that don't have the money to optimize their website for search engine presence, therefore hard to find through internet research, and there are also amazing and very, very well funded programs who are the first thing that comes up when searching for help online. Not every program is the same, and it is good to have a big picture view of what you are diving into. Unfortunately, however, when the situation is distilled to what programs accept what insurance and open bed space, we don't have the luxury of choosing to go whereever we want. We have helped thousands of suffering addicts try and make the right decision in these scenarios, as we understand it is easy to jump the gun and reach out to the very first program that shows up on Google.

Understanding and interacting with human beings in this bizarre and incomprehensible state of mind can be extremely challenging and upsetting. Personally, I have seen the pain caused by this affliction first hand when my parents told me they spent a day picking out suits for my funeral. No one should have to eulogize their children and no addict or alcoholic deserves to live in pure, 100%, absolute misery.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to what has been described above, please feel free to reach out to us free of charge. We don't do this for the money, we do this as a way of paying our debts to those we have hurt in the past by helping others in similar situations before it's too late.