I have mentioned it before, but the book Addict in the House has been one of the more helpful resources for _how_ to approach a friend or family member with addiction. The link is a version of the main points. Here is an excerpt:
“When addiction enters your home, it can be very disorienting as questions flood your mind.
Should I say something to my loved one? Do we have an intervention? What is rehab, anyway?
If this sounds all too familiar, know you are not alone. These are the same questions everyone living with an addict must eventually answer.
And there are certain things to do—and not to do—if you think you are living with an addict.
**1) Talk to your loved one—in a very specific way.**
If you’ve lived with the effects of a loved one’s addiction for any amount of time, you are likely confused, scared, and possibly even angry. These are all normal emotions to feel when the person you once knew and loved is no longer himself, and those feelings often spill over into how you speak to him. However, as addiction grips your loved one’s mind, concern often translates into a perceived attack on the one thing he believes is keeping him alive: his substance of choice.
So how do you talk to him truthfully and effectively? These guidelines are a good start.
* **Do be truthful, but don’t vent**. Speak honestly about your personal experience of his addiction, but stick to the facts versus unloading your emotions on your loved one.
* **Do ask your loved one to consider getting help, but don’t ask him to quit using**. It is far easier for your loved one to consider talking to a counselor than to be asked to abandon the thing his mind, body, and emotions have come to completely depend upon to feel ‘normal.’
* **Do identify specific forms of help, but don’t hound them about it**. If you’ve offered your loved one a therapist’s phone number and he has it, do not pester him every day to find out if he’s called. This feeds into the idea that you are trying to manage his addiction, and that responsibility lies squarely with your loved one.
* **Do listen, but don’t advise**. While you don’t want to engage in futile debates with the addict in your house, actively listening to him can be very helpful when he hears his words out in the wide open space between you. However, resist the urge to hand out advice no matter how obvious or logical it may seem. Instead, actively listen by repeating back what you heard him say: “I hear that you feel overwhelmed by school right now. That must be difficult.”
* **Do acknowledge positive signs, but be careful with praise**. Any sign that your loved one is beginning to understand the seriousness of his addiction is reason for celebration—that is a significant step. But be careful not to praise in such a way that communicates your loved one is responsible for your feelings, such as, “You made me so happy!” A better response would be, “I can see a bit of hope in your eyes when you just told me that. I share your hope too.”
**2) Set strong, healthy boundaries.** “