Research reports that most people afflicted by addiction enter treatment with encouragement and pressure from their personal networks. So it matters a great deal what family members, employers and health professionals say to people with symptoms of alcohol and other drug misuse.
Here are tips on “making a difference”:
- Separate the individual from the disease. People are not their sickness. People with addiction disease are no more or less “moral” than anyone else.
- Explain that illness is treatable. No one’s illness is beyond help.
- Provide information. Don’t judge or preach.
- Encourage comparisons. See when “drinking or drugging is more trouble than it is worth.”
- Encourage small steps: Notice the trouble. Learn where help is located. Meet people working their recovery.
- Show the love. Leave shame out of it. Respect every response. Praise the small steps. Promise non-judgmental help.
Fewer that ten percent of Americans who need addiction treatment receive it. When all of us think of addiction the same as any other chronic illness, more people in need will get help.