TRY THIS: “I want you to know I’m in this with you. We’re going to fight this together.” Maybe your friend’s child is the one suffering or being treated at a rehabilitation centre: You might say, “I care about you and am here to listen if you need to talk.” One more thing—addiction is a sensitive topic. So keeping your conversations confidential will show your friend you respect their privacy and will give them reassurance to express their feelings freely.
AVOID THIS: Offering specific advice. Unless you’re
sitting in a counsellor’s office and you’re the counsellor, kindly keep
your opinions to yourself. A few other no-nos:
“Have you tried quitting cold turkey?” or “Just put your mind to it. That’s what I did when I gave up chocolate.” It’s very rare that comparisons from your personal experience will help, especially with something as serious as addiction. One way to look at it: Think about something you love that would be really hard to give up. Then, multiply it by 1,000. Then, consider this battle a matter of life and death. That’s a small glimpse of the pain of addiction.
SHOW YOU CARE: Visit your friend whenever possible or appropriate. Or offer to drive them to the rehab facility to see their child. If they’d like, wait in the lobby as an extra force of support. Take them to lunch afterward or send them home with a care package of comforting things: a cozy throw, a super huggable stuffed animal, some chamomile tea.