Addiction is so prevalent today that almost everyone knows someone suffering from or in recovery from it. Opiate addiction is among the most common drug addictions in the U.S., and it’s also the most deadly.
That’s why getting help as soon as possible is so important.
If you’re reading this article, odds are you understand addiction isn’t a choice. But deciding to embark on the difficult path toward recovery is, and your friend or family member is more likely to seek sobriety if they have someone by their side.
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Learn About Opiate Addiction
You can’t help someone with something you know nothing about. That’s why you should read as much as you can about opiate addiction: what causes it, how to treat it and how to recover from it. By reading this article, you’ve already started that process.
Continue to look for information on this site and from reputable resources such as DrugRehab.com.
Learn about detox, medication-assisted therapy, withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapy, transitional care, sober living options, support groups and how to prevent relapse.
Watch Your Mouth
Choose your words carefully when talking to someone recovering from opiate addiction. Certain words and phrases — such as junkie, addict and dirty — carry a stigma. They can make the person in recovery feel discriminated against or feel like they are guilty of immoral behavior.
They’re people just like everyone else, so use words and phrases that identify the person first.
Examples of appropriate terms include:
- “A person with an opiate use disorder” instead of an “opioid addict.”
- “A person in recovery” instead of “a former addict.”
- “Tested positive for opiate use” instead of “dirty screen.”
- “Abstinent” instead of “clean.”
Express Love and Concern
People in recovery are less likely to relapse when they feel like they are part of society. Caring relationships with friends and family are vital to the recovery process.
You can express concerns and worries about risky behavior, but be sure to offer support, help and compassion when doing so. Don’t preach, threaten or lecture. Encourage, love and care.
Remember that actions speak louder than words. Go to appointments with them. Help them get to and from work or school. Listen when they need to talk, and give them space when they feel overwhelmed.
Stress is one of the biggest risk factors for relapse. Most people begin using opiates to treat pain, to seek pleasure or to relieve stress. When times get tough — when there isn’t an easy, healthy way to relieve stress — returning to opiates seems appealing.
As a friend or family member, you can help remove stress and encourage healthy ways to relieve stress. Stress can come from work, school, relationships, money problems, health problems and more. You can help them resolve problems in each of those areas.
Other healthy ways to reduce stress include:
- Eating healthy
- Positive thinking
- Engaging socially
It’s important to avoid doing things for them. Don’t take over responsibilities. Rather, encourage and celebrate healthy behavior.
People in recovery need support from family and friends. Supporters need support, too, because one person’s addiction affects the entire family.
Support groups for friends and family affected by a loved one’s addiction can help you cope with emotional stress and be an effective caregiver.
Support groups for friends and family include:
- Families Anonymous
- SMART Recovery Family and Friends
Recovering from opiate addiction is difficult, but it’s easier with help from friends and family.