Ways You Can Support Others and Yourself.
How Do I Talk About It?
- Choose a time to talk when the person isn’t under the influence or high and when you’re both feeling calm
- Listen more than you talk
- Try to be non-judgemental, open, and caring
- Approach the conversation from a place of empathy and try to understand what the other person is thinking and feeling
- Try using “I” statements as much as possible to express your feelings or concerns (e.g. “I felt worried when I you _______” or “It hurts me to see you ________”)
How Can I Be Supportive?
- Learn about resources or people in your school or community that can help someone struggling with addiction or substance use
- Ask for permission before giving suggestions
- When you do give suggestions, phrase them as options and not directions that must be followed
- Find out more about addiction and substance use to better understand what the person you’re concerned about might be experiencing or feeling and why they’re acting in a certain way
- Set healthy boundaries
What Should I Not Do?
- Avoid being judgemental or critical
- Try not to take on the other person’s feelings or stress – they are not yours to own
- Be supportive, but don’t become the other person’s caretaker
- Avoid inviting the person you’re concerned about to an event or environment where substances might be used
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
When you’re supporting a friend or family member who’s experiencing an addiction, it’s also important to take care of yourself. Below are some ways you can care for yourself.
Talk to Someone
Counselling isn’t just for those experiencing an addiction. As someone providing support, you might want to talk to a counsellor too. You can connect virtually with a Crossing Bridges Addictions Counsellor to:
- Ask questions
- Learn practical strategies and tips for how to support someone experiencing an addiction
- Find out about other resources you can access as a support person
Attend Family Group
CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services has a group for anyone concerned about someone’s Internet use, gaming, or gambling. This group provides family members with a forum to discuss successes and challenges in coping with their loved ones’ addiction, healthy ways to support loved ones, and how to navigate the addiction treatment system.
Family Group is held on the 3rd and 4th Monday of every month from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm. Call 519-673-3242 ext. 222 to register, as space is limited.