Helping a loved one through their suffering from heroin addiction is going to be tough. There’s no question about it. There are ways that you can help relieve the tension and stress between you and your loved one when it comes time to have the dreaded “talk.”
The old approach used to be an all-out confrontation method. Family members used to believe that by cornering the addict, they would see immediate reaction and results because the options and solutions presented were there for that moment and that moment only. In days since, there has been an effective alternative approach. This is called the “CRAFT” approach. CRAFT stands for Community Reinforcement and Family Training. It specializes in teaching effective communication skills so when you do confront the heroin user in your life, you are more likely to pull a receptive and positive response instead rather than that of the user fleeing and turning to destructive and defensive behaviors.
Rather than just provide a link to the CRAFT approach, it may be easier for you to see laid out point by point.
- Try to catch them when they are already trying to kick the habit
The individual has already acknowledged that they have a problem and have shown a desire to quit. They will be more open to listening to you when you communicate with them.
- Communicate in a gentle, non-judgemental, and empathetic way
It’s important to be kind and show genuine concern. If the individual feels any insincerity, they will close up immediately.
- Remind yourself of the user’s positive qualities that are obvious without the substance abuse
This step will help you keep your composure and maintain a calm attitude.
- If you have received a positive and open-minded response at this point, it may be safe to suggest counseling or rehabilitation.
CRAFT also encourages that family members simply stop making excuses for the loved ones who use heroin. You must allow your loved one to face the consequences of their actions.
An important thing to remember is how to NOT talk to a heroin user.
- Don’t talk down or degrade them
- Avoid having a heart-to-heart while they’re under the influence or sick
- Avoid negative or angry confrontation
- Avoid blaming the individual for their heroin addiction.
You must remember that for any intervention to begin and stick, you have to provide a loving and supportive environment. One that pushes along honesty and openness. This will help create trust in the relationship.
If you’re still finding trouble with how to approach your loved one that just happens to be a heroin user, there are still resources available to you to reach out and gain some more insight.
There are people out there that are just like you. They’re struggling with how to bring this massive issue up with their loved one. You are not alone in your fight and concern. It’s important to remind your loved one who uses that they are also not alone in their struggle. Light comes to those who allow it to peak through the clouds.