talking openly isn’t easy

and neither is listening

Here are some tips for getting started.

Choose Your Moment

A sober moment is the best time to talk. Avoid starting when you feel hurt or angry.

Choose Your Place

The more neutral the setting, the better. In-person is better than over the phone. Avoid spots associated with drug or alcohol use, or anywhere your friend could feel judged.

Focus on What Matters

Focus on how substance misuse impacts what your friend cares about most—be it family, career, or education. Aim to help them recognize that facing their addiction protects what matters to them.

Listen without Judgment

Remember that stigma is the number one reason people don’t seek treatment. By listening without judgment, you can help lift that stigma and encourage honesty.

Be Ready with Resources

By listening, you may find that your friend or loved one is ready to seek addiction treatment. Visit our Resources page for more.

Addiction Conversation Challenges

Your Friend May Not Be Ready

If your friend isn’t ready to accept that their drug or alcohol use is a problem, there won’t be a solution.

Avoid Shutting Off Completely

Try to stay open and available to your friend struggling with addiction, always ready to engage when the moment is right.

Don’t be a Guilt Tripper

Avoid preaching, bribing or threatening to get your friend to acknowledge an addiction problem.

Avoid Enabling

Give unconditional love, but not everything asked of you. Know your limits.