Addiction can be a difficult thing, both to experience firsthand and also to watch a loved one go through. It can be difficult to find the right words to say much of the time, and it is easy to say the wrong thing or accidentally offend them even when you’re trying your best to be supportive. The following phrases can often come across as judgemental, even if well-intended.

“Can’t You Just Quit?”

Put quite simply, no. Addicts cannot “just” quit. Addiction, which has more recently come to be understood as a disease, is a chemical dependency on a substance. It isn’t as simple as a craving, nor is it a sign of moral shortcomings. The chemistry in the brain of an addict is different than it is in others, making recovery extremely difficult, beyond the imagination of those who have not experienced addiction themselves.

“Just One?”

If your loved one is in recovery and has let you know that they will not be drinking or using or would prefer that you not drink or use in their company, the best thing to do is to respect that. For an addict, “just one” can go down a slippery slope from slightly buzzed to blackout drunk or even overdosing. Even just using in front of them can trigger their cravings and cause relapse. 

“You Need Help”

Chances are, your loved one is already aware that they need professional intervention. Telling them so is not going to enlighten them. If you are concerned about their health and think they may benefit from addictions counselling and therapy Vancouver BC, sit down with them to have an open, honest talk about what options they have.

If you are worried that a loved one may be struggling with addiction, ask your doctor or counsellor what you can do to help. The most important thing you can do for your loved one is to support them in their journey to recovery.