Take a deep breath and see how you can help.
For most people, college is the first time they witness substance abuse. Most of the time it’s in the basement of a frat or partying with their friends. It starts off as harmless, but all too often this is where the cycle of addiction begins.
Addiction is a hard topic to talk about, even if we are trying to help the people we love. We all want to help our friend who is struggling but don’t always know how.
Now, I’m no expert, but I am the daughter of a recovering alcoholic. I’ve seen firsthand the effects of addiction on someone and just how healing recovery can be.
Over the years, I have used many tactics when someone I know appears to be going down the road leading to addiction.
Here are some things you can do to help the person you love!
Take a Quiz
If you suspect someone close to you might be battling addiction behind closed doors a great first step is to take an addiction quiz; such as this one created by American Addiction Centers. This quiz is great because you can take it on behalf of your loved one. Through this assessment, you will be able to obtain results that calculate if your friend potentially has a substance use disorder. In addition, they give you some resources to contact following the results.
Do your research
Sometimes we miss signs of a cry for help until they are brought to our attention. When people come to me with a concern about their friend I always tell them to do some research. How can you help someone if you don’t know what they’re going through?
The first place I suggest they turn to is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA has so much information that will help you to understand what your friend is battling. In addition, it offers great resources such as treatments and programs to assist your loved one in recovery.
Suggest Alternate Plans
From a very young age, my mom taught me two things: don’t drink when you’re sad and don’t drink when you’re alone! I’ve reminded myself of the dangers of this many times when I’ve been tempted to go out knowing I’m not in the right headspace. I’ve also used this tactic on my friends. If you want to be a little inconspicuous trying saying something like, “Hey, you’re not feeling the best tonight let’s have a night in and order take-out.”
Suggesting an alternate plan such as this helps to break the habit of using drugs or alcohol to cope with whatever is going on in our lives.
Communicate your concerns
Telling your friend you’re worried about them is definitely not easy—but it’s so important! It’s very possible that your friend is too scared to reach out for help, or is aware they have a problem and need support/assistance finding proper resources.
The way I see it, it’s always worth it to communicate concerns with your loved ones!
One simple conversation could save their life.
At the end of the day, all you can do is support your friends. Whether they accept help or not, let them know you are there through thick and thin. Even if your friend does accept help right away, just knowing they have a support system will make the world of a difference.
~Trust the good vibes and spread all the love,