The Complete Guide about How to Help Someone on Drugs

The Complete Guide about How to Help Someone on Drugs

How to Help Someone With a Drug Problem

how to help someone with drugs

Do you have a loved one struggling with substance abuse? Are you looking for tips about how to help someone with a drug addiction? Are you looking for suggestions and expert drug addiction help?

Then you’ve come to the right place! Welcome to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Comprehensive Guide to Helping Someone Overcome Addiction.

Read on to find general information, paired with specific tips and tricks, on how to help your loved one get off drugs once and for all.

A quick disclaimer – everyone is different. While this guide is meant to help you address anyone’s drug problem, make sure to tailor your approach to your loved one’s specific situation.

If you’d like more information on how to do that – as well as tips on interventions, rehab, our comprehensive addiction treatment program, and general addiction help suggestions – call Lighthouse today!

Our substance abuse specialists are available 24/7 and have years of experience helping drug addicts. Over 30 years experience in fact! Call for a confidential and expert addiction consultation today!

Alright, ready to jump into it? Find information on how to help someone with a drug problem overcome their addiction below!

Learn about Comprehensive Addiction Treatment & how it helps patients stay sober long-term!

How to Help Someone On Drugs

Find four general ways to help your loved one below. Each contains specific instructions and tips for dealing with an addict.

The most important piece of advice we can give, however, is this – try not to confront someone while they’re under the influence. Although this is often impossible, it’s a good idea and will help a lot in creating an open and honest dialogue.

Talk Honestly

One of the easiest ways to help someone with a drug addiction is to simply talk to them honestly. Much like never confronting your loved one while they’re under the influence, it’s easier said than done. Still, you’d be amazed how far an honest conversation can go.

Addicts are master manipulators and intuitively know how to spin situations. Sitting down and sharing with them honestly can help to break down walls. It can also show them that no matter your actions (tough love – more on this below), you really do love and care for them.

When talking to your addicted love one, when helping someone with drug addiction, it’s important to be frank about your own substance use. If you have a history of drinking and drugging, let them know.

This is, again, easier said than done, especially if it’s your child who’s struggling. Still, it pays dividends. Tell them why you did or didn’t use drugs. Tell them what you used and how it affected you. Tell them why you decided to stop and, more importantly, how you stopped.

If you don’t have a history of substance use, talk to your loved one about that. Tell them why you stayed away from drugs and learn why they’re using.

Remember, this type of honest conversation isn’t an intervention. If you want to hold an intervention it’s necessary to have professional help. With that in mind, call Lighthouse today to learn more about how to stage a successful intervention.

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Don’t Enable Their Behavior

This is another vital part of helping someone with a drug problem. You need to stop enabling their behavior. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to cut them off and never speak to them again – it just means setting and sticking to boundaries.

For example, if you have an addicted child, stop giving them money or any other type of financial assistance. Overcoming addiction is easier when the addict is left to face problems on their own.

That may not make sense, but it’s absolutely true. Think about it like this – the sooner an addict hits their bottom, the sooner they get sober. That bottom is easier to hit when you’ve removed money or financial assistance from the equation.

Other boundaries include:

    • Not seeing them while they’re intoxicated


    • Not allowing them to live with you


  • Setting firm times for communication, i.e. you talk every Sunday at 11a.m.


These boundaries don’t only help your addicted loved one. They help you too! They keep your loved one from holding you hostage on an emotional level.

Tough Love 101

And that brings us to tough love 101. Tough love is very similar to no longer enabling your loved one. It’s the idea that, even though you love them, you’re not going to bail them out of every situation.

Tough love can work on a number of levels. First, it allows you some much needed peace! Being close to someone in active addiction is an exhausting process. It wears on you emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Take a step back and take care of yourself!

set boundries to help someone get off drugs
boundaries help keep and your loved one healthy

Tough love also helps someone with a drug addiction see how their behavior is affecting others. If you set boundaries, keep them, and begin to heal – your loved one may realize how badly they’ve hurt you through their addiction.

This isn’t always the case. Remember, addicts tend to have blinders on. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

Examples of tough love include:

  • Setting boundaries


    • Seeking help for yourself


    • Involving your addicted loved one in counseling, therapy, etc.


Read a letter to the family of addicts from Lighthouse founder Brittany Ringersen!

Be There Emotionally

This is one of the best ways to help someone get off drugs and overcome their addiction!

Being there for an addict emotionally is invaluable. As mentioned above, you can stop enabling their behavior and still maintain a strong relationship with them. That’s where helping them on an emotional and mental level enters the picture.

Addicts’ personalities are a strange mix of ego and self-pity, of grandiose notions and low self-esteem. Help them find a middle ground. Help them find balance!

Through doing this, you’re helping both them and yourself. You’re allowing yourself to come to terms with their addiction and your own inability to “fix” the situation. You’re allowing yourself to grow and detach on some levels (financially, etc.), but maintain a loving relationship.

Al-Anon has a saying for this – detach with love.

It’s important to remember, however, that you’re not a therapist or substance abuse professional. While you can offer drug addiction help to your loved one through emotional support, don’t begin to play therapist to them.

This line is hard to walk, but offers much better results than simply taking on their emotional baggage. That, my friends, is an example of enabling them and needs to be avoided.

How to Get Someone Off Drugs

Having examined some common ways to help a drug addict, let’s turn our attention to the next step – how to get someone off drugs.

Like the suggestions and tips above, this is much easier said than done. It’s hard enough to even help someone with a drug problem, getting them into recovery is even harder.

Still, find four examples of how to get someone off drugs below. We hope they help! If you have questions about any specific tips, don’t hesitate to call Lighthouse today. Our substance abuse specialists are happy to offer their experience, strength, and hope!

The best men’s substance abuse program in the country!

Support Groups

A quick note – when we say support groups, we don’t mean twelve-step fellowships. They have their own section below. For our purposes, support groups refer to community based counseling, both amateur and professional.

There are a million and one support groups out there for addicts and alcoholics.

how to help someone with a drug problem
support groups can help get through to addicts!

There are ones specific to individual drugs – heroin support, alcohol support, meth support, etc. There are ones specific to how someone uses drugs – injecting, smoking, snorting, etc. There are ones that address co-occurring disorders like mental illness and eating disorders.

So, while helping your loved one find and attend a support group for their addiction isn’t easy, it also isn’t hard. The toughest part will likely be convincing them to actually attend.

That’s where you need to practice tough love. They don’t want to attend? Then you won’t help them out financially anymore.


Treatment is by far the best way to help someone get off drugs and overcome their addiction. It’s a safe space for addicts to discover why they turned to drugs in the first place and learn healthy coping skills that encourage sobriety.

While there are a number of different options for treatment, the most common are as follows:

    • Addiction Therapy – this is similar to support groups, but a bit more specialized. Addiction therapy is when an addict receives extensive and ongoing counseling from a trained addiction specialist.


    • Outpatient Treatment – this is when an addict attends addiction counseling groups and individual sessions with a primary therapist each week. They’re also regularly drug tested and, often, required to attend twelve-step meetings.


    • Partial Hospitalization – this is one step above outpatient. It’s when an addict attends eight hours of addiction treatment per day, five days a week. Think of it like attending school to learn how to live sober.


  • Inpatient – this is the most well known type of treatment. It’s when an addict lives at a treatment center, attends a number of group and individual counseling sessions each day, and participates in extracurricular recovery activates at night.


There are various subtypes of all the above forms of treatment. For example, inpatient can be long-term (more than ninety days) and outpatient can be intensive (multiple group and individual meetings each week).


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12-Step Fellowships

Involvement with twelve-step fellowships is another great way to help someone with a drug problem get sober.

Twelve-step fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and others are support groups where addicts learn to stay sober through spiritual means.

This type of spiritual recovery isn’t for everyone. For those who are vehemently opposed to the twelve-steps, there are groups like SMART Recovery and Rational Recovery.

These non-twelve-step fellowships focus on community support and individual growth through “secular” means.

Don’t Forget about Yourself!

Taking care of yourself is an often overlooked way to help someone overcome their addiction.

We mentioned above that addiction wears on not only the addict, but their loved ones as well. It erodes self-confidence, self-esteem, trust, relationships, and even things like sleep.

Don’t let your loved one’s addiction bring you down too! Make sure to take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This type of self-care can take many different forms.

It may include:

    • Making time for things you love


    • Exercise and eating healthy


    • Taking care of your other relationships (romantic, familial, and friends)


Through taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to help your loved one and deal with the surprises that life throws at you. You’ll also be better equipped to set boundaries, practice tough love, and be okay despite whatever your loved one is doing.

The best women’s substance abuse program in the country!

Overcoming Addiction

dont enable drug addiction
treatment makes this type of addiction a thing of the past!

Having looked at both how to help someone with a drug addiction and how to help them get off drugs, let’s look at the logical next step – why?

Why bother to help someone get off drugs and overcome addiction? Although the answer might seem obvious – ‘cause life is better sober! – there are some other things to consider.

We’re going to look at some of the benefits of treatment. Join us, won’t you?

Benefits of Treatment

Obviously attending a treatment center has one main benefit – the ability to teach addicts how to live sober. There are a number of secondary benefits rehab offers though.

These include:

    • Discovering and examining secondary unhealthy coping mechanisms


    • Addressing ingrained and unhealthy family dynamics/roles


    • Provoking critical thought about how to live the best possible life and what that even means


    • Getting into a consistent and normal schedule


    • Beginning to work out and eat healthy


    • Promoting a general holistic approach to mental, emotional, and physical health


If you have any questions about the benefits of substance abuse treatment – or anything else in our comprehensive guide about how to help someone with a drug problem – please don’t hesitate to call Lighthouse today!

Help is as close as a phone call away!


Click to Call: 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE

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