So many of the phone calls we receive at The Providence Project start with the caller telling us that they are worried about their friend, husband, wife, child or parent with a drug or alcohol addiction problem. There is no magic formula, or one size fits all strategy that we can give them to deal with their concerns, each case is assessed on its individual merit, however there is some general advice that will apply in most cases.
The first thing to realise is that the problem will not go away by itself, pretending it does not exist is not going to help, and in many cases will make the problem worse. Very often the addicted person will be in denial about their problem and silence from friends and family will enable them to feel secure in that denial. Addiction to alcohol or drugs is a life-threatening illness and anything you can do to address that problem may save a life or, at the very least, help that person get their life back together and back on track.
We understand that sometimes it will be difficult to raise the subject and you may want to leave it to someone else; a friend will leave it to the family and vice-versa. In certain circumstances it will be helpful for family members and friends to discuss the position among themselves before approaching the alcoholic or addict. Do not feel guilty about talking about someone behind their back; you are possibly saving their life. You may have noticed behavior which others have not which are indicators of drug or alcohol problems and these are not always obvious. An addicted person can often hold down a good job and appear to be a good spouse and parent and there is no need to wait until things in their life begin to go wrong before offering help.
Your friend does not need to show all, or even most, of the symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction to need help. It is not necessarily how much your friend drinks or uses drugs that matters as much as the effect it is having on them and those around them. The very nature of the disease of alcoholism or drug dependency is that the sufferers often hide, or attempt to hide, the full extent of their drinking and using and can often do so successfully for many years. It is vitally important to approach your friend in a loving and caring way, he or she is not a bad person but a person suffering from a bad illness that has become out of control.
One of our experienced counsellors at The Providence Project is available to discuss this with you and advise you how to set up a family intervention. We can also arrange a professional qualified interventionist to assist if required, with very successful overall results; just call us at any time.