It is sad but true that addiction is so prevalent in society that most everyone knows someone who struggles with it. Having a friend or family member who is an addict is painful, confusing, and frustrating.

So what do you do when someone you care about is an addict? What can you do to help them and keep your sanity? Here are four steps to follow when you care about someone struggling with addiction.

First—confront them. Do it in a loving, but assertive and honest way. Tell them what you have observed and how that makes you feel. Do not ignore the problem and pretend as if nothing is wrong. If there is an elephant in the room, then point it out and start talking about it!

Second—do not enable them! Do not give money to someone active in his or her addiction. Do not cover for them and make excuses for them. No matter how much you love them, you must be strong and not enable their addictive behavior in any way at all.

Third—go to an Al-Anon meeting. This will accomplish two important items. First, you can’t change people, but you can influence them. The best way to influence someone else’s behavior is with your own. If you attend Al-Anon meetings and let the addict you care about know you are attending meetings as a result of their addiction, it may have some influence. Second, as someone who cares about an addict, you need support and guidance and Al-Anon is a great place to get it.

Fourth—do your very best to get your loved one into some sort of treatment. Addiction is serious and requires professional treatment. This can come in various forms including attendance in recovery meetings, working a 12 step program with a sponsor, counseling, or admittance to a treatment center. And, you may need to use an interventionist to get your loved one into treatment.

By following the four steps above you just may save a life. Feel free to email me if you have any questions Websites:,, and

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