People today who turn to drug addiction complain that they are not heard –that no one is willing to listen to them talk about their problems, and fair enough, we all have our share – who can take any more on board?
When faced with someone and their problems our tendency is to try and quickly fix it, to try and make them feel better. Other people’s problems are often treated by people in a superficial way – it takes time to become involved with other people’s problems and it can be emotionally draining. If you want to give an addict help you must be prepared to make yourself available and ready to listen.
Drug addicts know their problems well, they confront them every day.Drug use gives them fleeting pleasure in a world that is not willing to listen to what they have to say. Before you can give an addict help you must be willing to listen.
The average conversation between acquaintances and friends is like an exchange of information. When people talk they expect the other to respond with their views and opinions. People often do more talking than listening when in conversation. When trying to give an addict help, your focus must be on listening carefully to what they say, to think of ways to give them help. There is no point in jumping in with your ideas and remedies to resolve their situation. What gives addicts help the most is to provide them with a space to talk with someone who can listen.
Often a person starts to feel better at once when they know that someone is interested enough in them to want to hear about their problems. Sometimes a person is not ready to talk about their feelings until they have talked about their problems. To give an addict help you must expect that they might find it difficult to express their feelings. Addicts are often using drugs to cover some very negative feelings that they have about themselves.
Sometimes what people say is bothering them is not the real problem. If you jump in and resolve that, then you never get to the real problem. People sometimes need to talk about other things first before opening up to their problems, and then talking about their feelings.
There is a joke about counselors and therapists that says some do their best work when asleep in the chair and the client talks without interruption. There is in fact some truth in this because for a person to get in touch with their emotions they need to talk and express their feelings – without any well meant interruption.
To give an addict help to talk about their feelings is not as hard as it seems – all you really need to do is support more talking and exploration of their feelings. For people who are untrained it can be very difficult not to be judgmental, critical, supportive or contradictory. This does not give the other person time or space to think about how to resolve their own problems.
If someone close to you needs addict help, it can often be useful to suggest to them that they get professional help. If an addict goes to a professional counselor who is trained to help them express their feelings then they will soon begin to see why they use addictive drugs.
Professional holistic counseling can be the start of an addict choosing more healthy options.