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How To Ask For Help For An Addiction

by Landmark Recovery

June 17, 2022
Women surrounding their friend who is asking for help for an addiction

Published: Oct. 12, 2018 | Updated: June 17, 2022

Admitting You Need Help Is One Part Of Recovery

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”

One of the hardest parts of addiction recovery is admitting when you need help and finding the right program to get started with. Admitting you need help for drug or alcohol addiction can be difficult whether it is the first time or the fifth time, as both instances can be met with negative stigmas of addiction and cause people to feel guilt and shame. However, you should know that it takes real courage to admit an addiction and to ask for help.

Those closest to the addict are often the first ones to notice when there is a problem. The addict may become withdrawn, preoccupied, or not seem like their normal self. Addicts may be in denial about the severity of their addiction while those closest become more and more concerned about their condition. However, no matter how far gone it may seem or how hopeless someone may feel, it’s never too late to reach out and ask for help.

Find Someone You Trust

You may feel as if there is no one in the world you can confide in about this problem. You may even be afraid of facing judgment from close family members and friends. The truth is that those closest to you will want to support you in getting healthy no matter the circumstances. You should choose someone you trust and feel comfortable finding out. Have faith that there are people in your life who are supportive of your choice to seek help for your addiction.

You may also find the professional services of psychiatrists and addiction counselors useful. Addiction is a disease, and no one knows the medical ins and outs of this disease better than the professional men and women who deal with it on a daily basis. You can even make an appointment with your general practitioner to discuss your concerns and they can refer you to addiction specialists. At Landmark Recovery, our 24/7 admissions team is ready to discuss treatment options and can be a trusted place to turn to when you’re in need.

Find Someone Who Has Been Through Recovery

There’s no one better equipped to understand what you’re going through then someone who has lived it themselves. Recovering addicts stand in solidarity with one another and will be able to offer you encouragement, empathy, and support. You can ask them what worked for them personally, share stories, and determine what the best course of action for yourself is. Recovering addicts will remember what it was like to be where you are and offer the exact kind of knowledge and support to get you through the tough times.

Be Open and Honest

A woman talking about her addiction and how she needs help regarding it

Here comes the hard part. Addicts as well as the friends and families of addicts oftentimes have great difficulty communicating. Whether it be remaining silent or speaking too much without actually saying anything, communication can be troublesome. However, asking for help for an addiction is an opportunity to be truthful, open, and honest about your affliction. Don’t try to downplay your struggles. You have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with others. Be truthful and forthcoming about your struggles why you are ready for change.

Chances are, if you’ve chosen to talk with someone close to you or who has gone through similar experiences, they will already know that you are in need of help. The more honest you are, the better chances you have of receiving the type of treatment you need. Honesty isn’t always easy. If it was, millions more people would be in treatment for their addiction. It takes overriding your ego, casting aside shame, and facing your fear to ask for help, but YOU CAN DO IT.

“Sometimes asking for help is the bravest move you can make. You don’t have to go it alone.”

Accept Support

There can be a lot of extraneous things that come with planning to go into treatment. Notifying work, making sure your children or pets are watched after, gathering medical paperwork, and many other things can make entering treatment an arduous process. Do not be ashamed of getting help from others in this regard. You’re not a burden, and you can only take care of those closest to you by taking care of yourself first.

Be willing to accept the help and support of others. Knowing that you have this support system moving forward can be vital to turning your life around and ensuring you do not have to pick up the pieces of your life after finishing treatment. It also allows you to focus on what matters most of all, which is your recovery.

Dr. Jason Kirby, chief medical officer at Landmark Recovery, explained if it’s possible to convince a loved one to go to rehab in an episode of Sober Facts, a series you can follow on the Landmark Recovery TikTok page.


@landmarkrecovery #soberfacts with Dr.Kirby #landmarkrecovery #rehab #addiction #addicitonrecovery ♬ original sound – Landmark Recovery

Follow Through

Once you’ve been able to ask for help, the only thing that remains is following through on that help. Keep moving forward with your proposed treatment and hold yourself accountable. Asking for help can also help you stay accountable by not allowing you to back out. When discussing treatment options, make sure to do the research and find a treatment center that meets all your needs. Not every rehab program is built the same, so find one you are confident and comfortable with.

“A problem will get heavier when the only person who carries it is you.”

Tips on Offering Help

It can make you feel helpless sitting back and watching a loved one become consumed by their addiction. Addiction is a selfish disease, and the unfortunate truth is that unless they stop, addiction will continue to take more until there is nothing left. Another unfortunate truth is that many addicts simply cannot stop on their own.

Their brain and body have become so distorted by substance abuse that they have become physically dependent on their substance just to function. By getting someone professional services such as medical detoxification, residential treatment, counseling, therapy, and support groups, they have a higher chance of getting and staying sober.

Do This

  • Educate yourself on the disease of addiction. There is a common misconception that addiction is a choice or a failure in willpower. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that changes the way the brain works. By learning about addiction and more about the specific substance your loved one is addicted to, you will be better equipped to understand the recovery process and how you can help.
  • Hold an Intervention. If you believe that your loved one has a problem but is refusing to seek treatment, an intervention can be an effective means of getting them into treatment. An intervention should involve careful planning, preparation, and if possible, consultation with a qualified professional counselor or addiction specialist. This could include a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, and in some areas a licensed interventionist. Here are the steps you can take if you decide to carry out the intervention on your own.
  • Offer love and support. No matter how much pain the addict has caused in your life, they are still your loved one and there is still the person you remember inside. Difficult as it may be to forgive, you will find peace in accepting that they have a severe disease that has changed their life forever. There will come a time when amends must be made, but now is the time to separate the individual from the disease and support them in getting the treatment they need. During treatment, you may have the chance to directly confront the addict about their harmful behavior. Do not try to mentally beat them up before they have started treatment.

Don’t Do this

  • Constantly harass or beg the addict to stop drinking or doing drugs. Make it known that you disapprove of their substance use, but there is no reason to waste time and effort trying to force someone to get help. You can lead a horse to water, as the saying goes. Many people close to addicts become enablers because, while they continue to disprove of their loved one’s substance use, they enforce no consequences serious enough. The Twelve Steps teach us to detach with love, and accept that you cannot control the disease of addiction.
  • Accept behaviors that violate your boundaries. This is the most important thing to remember when dealing with a loved one’s addiction. You must be able to set clear boundaries and follow through with the consequences if they are violated. Any flexibility with your boundaries simply tells an addict that you are not serious and can be manipulated. Sometimes love is tough and the only way for a person to accept the reality of a situation is to lose the thing they care most about.

Identify the problem

If you suspect a loved one may be self-medicating with drugs and alcohol and is harming themselves, don’t hesitate. If it is an option, discuss the possibility of an intervention with friends and family close to the addict. Consult the signs listed above and see if your loved meets the criteria for addiction.

Make a plan

Consult with other individuals close to the addict and form a planning group. If possible, seek assistance from addiction professionals. Once the planning group is formed, figure out the best time and location for the intervention to take place. It’s important that the intervention take place in an environment where the addict will feel comfortable. The best venues to hold an intervention are places where it is convenient for all participants, comfortable for the addict, and that have privacy. Examples include a private home, a counselor’s office, conference room, or church. From there, discuss the order participants would like to speak in. It may be helpful to start with persons that have the most special relationship with the addict.

Hold the Intervention

When the date of the intervention arrives, it’s helpful to be with the addict during the day to ensure that they are not actively using. If an addict is intoxicated during an intervention, their ability to think and react is jeopardized. To avoid these issues, sometimes it is best to plan for an intervention in the morning so that the addict is sober and in control. Have each member of the intervention group write down what they wish to say beforehand. It is important that a structure is followed and a positive, forthcoming environment is established. Make sure to: stay supportive, stick to the structure, and have specific treatment options in mind.

Be Prepared for Failure

Addiction is not a rational disease. While it may be obvious to everyone else that there is a problem, an addict’s brain can become warped by the influence that substance abuse wreaks upon the psyche. Do not be crushed by the addict’s refusal to seek help, and instead stay faithful to your assertion that they should seek treatment.

In Conclusion

You can these tips if you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction. Remember to always remain open and empathetic to the other’s situation, and come from a place of love and support. It can be difficult to convince someone to enter rehab, but if you follow these tips, it may become easier.

If you’re seeking help organizing an intervention or finding treatment for a loved one, don’t hesitate to seek out the assistance of trained professionals. If you’re looking for drug or alcohol rehab, Landmark Recovery provides medical detox, inpatient rehab and outpatient services. Call 888-448-0302 today to speak to a recovery specialist.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.