What to Say to a Loved One Who is Addicted

Addiction is an incredibly difficult topic to address. But when you live with someone who is struggling with addiction, you can’t just ignore the problem and hope for it to go away. Addition is a progressive, debilitating disease that can lead to death. You may not have control over your loved one’s decisions, but you can steer them in the right direction.

Talking to an addict about their problem requires proper planning, courage and honesty. It’s important to learn how to have these difficult conversations, as it often takes several before the addict can admit their problem and agree to drug detox in Newport Beach. To help you navigate these conversations, here are some things you can say.

“You are Not Alone.”

Addiction is highly stigmatized in our society, so addicts often isolate themselves to avoid being belittled, criticized or insulted. While they may not show it, they’re often embarrassed of their behavior. Rather than approaching conversations from a place of judgment, be kind and accepting.

Addiction is not something your loved one chose. Let them know that they are not alone and that you are here to help. They may not be open to a Newport Beach drug detox program right away, but having more of these conversations gets them thinking about a life without drugs or alcohol.

Here are some things you can say to your loved one:

  • “I’m sorry that you are struggling with addiction. How can I help?”
  • “You are important to me and I care about you. I am here to help.”

“This is Not Your Fault.”

Addiction is a disease. No one experiments with drugs or alcohol with the intention of becoming an addict. While your loved one is not responsible for their addiction, they are responsible for their recovery.

Avoid pointing fingers at your loved one or blaming them for their addiction. Instead, encourage them to take responsibility for the things they can change, such as seeking drug or alcohol rehab in Newport Beach.

A couple things you can say include:

  • “Everyone needs help at times. You do have to feel ashamed.”
  • “Addiction was not your choice. But the decision to start recovery is.”

“I Love and Care About You.”

Studies show that addicts are often insecure, so tough love may make things worse. Instead, let your loved one know that you love and care for them. Just because you don’t agree with their decisions doesn’t mean that you stop loving them as a person.

Unfortunately, love is not enough to conquer addiction. There may come a time when you have to walk away, but you can at least let your loved one know that you will be there for them if they decide to get help. Simple statements like “I love you” and “I care about you” are direct and reassuring.

“With Help, Things Will Get Better.”

Addiction can make a person feel hopeless. Reassure your loved one that things can get better with the right Newport Beach drug rehab program. It’s important for them to know that they do not have to face recovery alone.

There are many ways to support a person with their recovery. You can offer to help them look for a treatment center, watch their pets while they’re away or drive them to their support groups.

Things you can say include:

  • “When you are ready to get help, I will be here to support you.”
  • “Addiction is a treatable disease. Many people are successful in recovery, and you can be, too.”

Tips for Talking to a Person with Addiction

As you have these difficult conversations with your loved one, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. You might feel like you’re walking on eggshells, but the words and tone you choose will have a tremendous impact on how your loved one responds.

Here are some do’s and don’ts when speaking to a loved one regarding their addiction.


  • Be clear and upfront. Be straightforward and honest with your loved one so that there is no confusion. Make them aware that you support them – NOT the addiction.
  • Set boundaries. To protect your own mental and physical well-being, you must set and enforce boundaries. Be ready to say “no” when you need to.
  • Give them a chance to respond. Give your loved one a chance to process what you’re saying. You can offer them help and guidance, but you shouldn’t force them to make decisions on the spot.


  • Enable your loved one. Enabling an addict allows the behavior to continue. Make sure you’re aware of what enabling looks like (covering up behavior, avoiding confrontation, failing to enforce behavior) so that you can avoid it.
  • Give threats or ultimatums. Avoid making unrealistic threats or ultimatums in the hopes of changing your loved one. This can have the opposite effect.
  • Ignore the issue. It may seem easier to turn the other cheek, but addiction does not get better on its own.

Begin Addiction Treatment in Newport Beach

One of the hardest parts of having a loved one with addiction is not being able to help them until they are ready. Your loved one must make the decision to accept their problem and get help, and they must continue to make positive choices that support a life of sobriety.

Having open, honest conversations with your loved one reminds them that you are here for them when they are ready. When this time comes, you can count on Newport Beach Recovery Center to be here for you, too. We are invested in the success of each client. Contact us today to learn more.

Understanding Shame And Addiction

Shame is one of the most powerful emotions because it has to do with remorse and inadequacy, common motivators for substance use. Shame is a feeling that your whole self is wrong – it’s not necessarily related to a specific behavior or event. Shame also commonly overlaps with guilt, which is the feeling you get when you do something wrong.

While pretty much everyone feels shame at some point, some people experience it more often. This emotion can cause you to feel defective and damaged beyond repair. Feelings of shame can greatly influence your decision to start using or restart using substances. This is why it’s important to understand shame and how it affects addiction recovery in Newport Beach.

What is Shame, Exactly?

Shame is a negative emotion, but it stems from our survival as a species. Without shame, you might not care to follow laws or cultural norms. Since we are social creatures who want to be accepted by others, shame is an evolutionary tool that keeps us in check.

However, shame can become a problem when it’s internalized and causes you to look at yourself harshly. Your inner critic might tell you that you are worthless, bad and have no value. When shame starts to impact your sense of self, it becomes toxic and can put you at risk for depression or substance abuse.

Some of the signs that you are experiencing shame include:

  • Feeling rejected
  • Feeling unappreciated
  • Feeling like you have little purpose
  • Worrying about what others think
  • Needing to have the last word
  • Replaying embarrassing interactions
  • Wanting to shut people out

Where Does Shame Come From?

Keep in mind that shame is a natural, normal feeling that we all experience from time to time. But if you are dealing with toxic shame that is leading you to be unhappy with yourself, there may be a reason for this. Some of the risk factors that lead to toxic shame are:

  • Traumatic events, like domestic abuse
  • Insecure attachment to friends or family
  • Negative stigma of mental health issues
  • Enduring harsh parenting
  • Parental substance use

What is the Role of Shame in Addiction?

Shame occurs when you blame yourself. It plays an important role in the onset and continuation of addiction.

Often, the cycle goes like this: guilt causes addiction and addiction causes shame. As you experience the powerful emotions associated with shame – depression, loneliness, embarrassment – you’re more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to ease the burden.

Let’s say, for example, that you experienced childhood trauma. You blame yourself for the trauma and seek substances to ease the guilt. Eventually, drugs and alcohol cause you to do things that you’re not proud of. It’s a catch-22, because to deal with the shame, you continue using drugs or alcohol.

Not only can shame fuel addiction, but also it can disrupt a drug rehab program in Newport Beach. Studies show that higher rates of shame are linked to poor recovery outcomes, increased rates of relapse and shorter periods of abstinence. It can also trigger other co-occurring conditions like depression or anxiety.

Is it Possible to Overcome Shame?

Yes, it is possible to reduce shame and guilt. If you are in treatment for a substance use disorder, behavioral therapy will help you understand your feelings, address the sources of your shame and shift your attitude.

Here are some of the things you will work on during your time in a residential treatment center in Newport Beach:

  • Face the root of your shame. It’s important to understand your feelings and where they are coming from.
  • Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Observe your thoughts, but avoid overreacting to them.
  • Give yourself compassion. Everyone makes mistakes at times. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t get stuck in them.
  • Recognize when you’re feeling shame. Learn to identify when you’re feeling shame. This will help you deal with it rather than internalizing it.
  • Get support. Talk therapy can help you discover the root of your shame and how to deal with it in healthy, productive ways.

Get Help for Addiction and Feelings of Shame

Shame is a powerful emotion that can become toxic. If you experience toxic shame, it can put you on a path to substance use to escape the pain. The more you use drugs or alcohol, the more shame you feel, which starts a painful, overwhelming cycle.

To heal from addiction and the shame that accompanies it, you’ll need a Newport Beach drug rehab program. Newport Beach Recovery Center offers both residential and outpatient treatment services. We use evidence-based therapies to challenge negative thinking and help clients discover new ways of thinking about the past.

To learn more about our approach to treating substance use and mental health disorders, contact Newport Beach Recovery Center today.