It’s like watching a horror movie: everyone but your drug-addicted friend can see the monster hiding around the corner. You’re all screaming “Turn around! Don’t go down that road!”
In real life, your friend will hopefully listen and take one of the scariest steps someone with a substance abuse issue can take – toward a drug rehab center.
What could be scary about getting help? A lot, actually. To begin with, just asking for help can make anyone feel vulnerable. Secondly, there is the fear of the unknown. Entering a drug rehab center is, for most, uncharted territory.
Perhaps most frightening for your friend is the sense that giving up their drug or alcohol addiction means giving up part of their identity. Your friend is going to need your support as he or she embarks on this new path. Here are a few ways you can help your friend navigate these new waters.
Help Your Friend Find the Right Drug Rehab Center
Seeking help with a drug or alcohol addiction can be overwhelming. There are numerous options out there. In Los Angeles alone, there are hundreds of drug rehab centers and outpatient drug rehab programs.
As they say, information is power. You can help your friend by researching the options, and asking the right questions of the programs you are researching. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), you should seek answers to the following questions:
- Does the drug rehab use evidence-based treatments backed by scientific evidence?
- Does the addiction treatment center tailor its treatment to the needs of the individual patient?
- Does the drug rehab center adapt as the patient’s needs change?
- Is the duration of the treatment sufficient?
Help Your Friend Take Responsibility
While your friend’s addiction likely has had a negative effect on your life and the lives of others, it’s important that patients of drug rehab centers realize that they are seeking help for themselves, not for anyone else. Successful recovery depends on ownership of both the negative effects of a patient’s addiction and the positive results of addiction treatment.
Help Your Friend Find Support from Others
It’s important that your friend has support from several sources, not just you. People who have gone through addiction treatment and experienced recovery can have an invaluable perspective on what your friend, as a patient in a drug rehab center, is experiencing.
Furthermore, supporting a friend through drug rehab is going to take a lot of patience and tolerance on your part. If you take this on alone, you will not be a strong source of strength when your friend needs it. Additional support can be found with support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.
While it’s important to stand by your friend and let him or her know you’re there, it’s also crucial to set boundaries. Remember that you are there to help your friend get healthy. Part of being healthy is being independent. Recognize that there is a different between being supportive and creating a situation in which your friend becomes co-dependent.
- Be a good listener, truly process and understand what your friend is expressing
- Respect your friend, don’t patronize
- Share knowledge and advice, but don’t take over your friend’s recovery path
- Be supportive and positive, recognizing that your friend will move at his or her own pace in realizing goals of wellness
What other suggestions do you have for helping a friend navigate drug rehab? Share them in the comments below.