#1: “How have you been feeling lately?”
You could start off by asking this simple question. Say that you’ve noticed a change in his or her behavior and that you’re concerned. Your family member may open up and share his or her feelings, or even let you know of a significant event that has happened recently you weren’t aware of. Or, your loved one may brush off your concerns and become defensive. State specific behaviors you’ve noticed such as poor eating and sleeping habits, moodiness and lack of interest in hobbies or friends.
Starting the discussion by asking about his or her feelings helps to broach the topic of drug use and lead to the next question.
#2: “What are some of the good aspects of your drug use? What are some of the bad?”
Avoid asking questions such as, “Do you have a problem with drugs?” These types of questions make people defensive and tend to shut down conversations. Instead, try asking about some of the positive aspects as well as the negative consequences of drug use. It’s a good starting point if your loved one realizes some of the bad aspects of drug use and how it affects those around them. If you have a history of drug abuse in the family, now would be a good time to bring it up.
#3: “Do you want help?”
Your loved one may have already considered or even tried reducing his or her drug use. Encourage this positive behavior and remain supportive. Do some research about local inpatient or outpatient rehab clinics and offer information about various programs if the opportunity arises. Ask your family member, “What can I do to help? I’d like to see you get back to your old self.”
Overcoming drug abuse can’t be done alone. By remaining compassionate and positive throughout your loved one’s ordeal, you are a beacon of support and hope.