10 Things You Should Never Say to An Addict

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1. “Life’s hard for everyone. You don’t have to use drugs.” Being addicted to drugs was probably never how your partner saw his or her life turning out. This statement is patronizing and unfair, given that they clearly have different brain chemistry than the rest of us, hence why they feel they have to resort to drugs to stay “normal” and function. Words like this will just shame your partner and may ultimately trigger them.
2. “Using ____ is selfish”. Drug addiction, by default, is a very selfish thing to do, but ultimately because it has to do what the perceived self-preservation it offers the abuser. Don’t judge because you aren’t in their shoes. Ask how you can help instead.

3. “You’re a bad father/husband/son/brother/etc”. Statements like this are just rude and abusive. You can point out things you’d like your partner to work on, but shaming them does nothing except make them want to use again. Use your words wisely.

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4. “You’re a bad influence.” If you’re in a relationship with an addict and you’ve said this, you’ve become “one of them”. You’ve become an outsider, not an insider, and your partner will likely not consider you a part of their team anymore.

5. “Because of you, (insert negative criticism/blame/shaming here)”. Take responsibility for your own life. Blaming your drug addicted partner because things haven’t quite gone according to plan just shows you may have unreasonably rigid expectations for life. Life never goes according to plan for anyone, but it’s up to you to own your own choices and journey.

6. “Why don’t you just quit?” This is a complex question that your partner may not have an answer to. A better approach would be going with them to therapy or meetings so they could slowly unearth the root of their addiction.

7. “Why do you keep doing this to me/us?” Drug addiction is inherently selfish, remember? They aren’t doing anything to you on purpose. If you feel you can’t rough out the storms with them, despite trying your hardest and possibly seeking outside help yourself, then maybe it’s not the right time to be together.

8. “You’re a fuck up/failure”. How would you like to hear this? This line will almost guarantee a relapse. It’s incredibly hurtful and frustrating, especially to hear this from someone who’s supposed to be your significant other. Don’t ever become verbally abusive because you’re temporarily upset. You and your partner are better than this. Besides, your supposed to help your partner see the silver lining and remind them of their good qualities, not tear them down.

9. “You’re never gonna get better”. Define ‘better’. Drug addiction is usually a lifelong condition…So in that sense, you may be right. The goal is for the relapses to be more spread apart and less frequent. Nonetheless, this statement undermines any hard work your partner may be doing and render a sense of hopelessness for them. Don’t be a friggin bully!

10. “So-and-so was able to quit _______. Why can’t you?” Everyone’s journey to recovery is different. It’s absolutely fruitless to compare different people to one another. It doesn’t ‘inspire’ your partner, as you may hope. It brings them down. Instead, do your best to stay positive and receptive to their feelings. That’s all you really can do, anyway.

 

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