How do I approach a loved one about their substance use?

It is important to approach someone whom you think may have a problem in a way that is non-confrontational at first. When you are upset with the person as a result of their drinking or use, is usually not the best time to discuss it with them. Wait until the next day then calmly express your concern without name calling, blaming, or accusing. Simply say that you care about them and you’ve noticed how their use is affecting their life. Say that you would like them to see if they can stop their use, and if they can’t, ask them to get professional help to stop. It is normal for those who abuse alcohol or drugs to react angrily when they are approached even in a gentle, caring manner. If you argue with them or become angry and lash out at them you only help them to focus on something besides their own use. If your initial approach to them does not seem to do any good, then seek out the assistance of close friends and family to help you speak to the person about their use. After your initial approach, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a qualified professional counselor.

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