Do’s and Don’ts When Dealing With a Loved One’s Substance Abuse Problem

Those who have a loved one with an addiction to drugs or alcohol often don’t know how to act around that person. They want to help but don’t know how. Are they enabling? How do you talk to them? Friends and family members who attend Crossroads for Women’s 4-week educational series, “The Effects of Addiction on Friends and Family,” come to us armed with questions like these. The following do’s and don’ts are from Nar-Anon Family Groups:


  • Note the effect the user has on each member of the family.
  • Always encourage attempts to seek help.
  • Remember to see the good in yourself and others.
  • Allow other people to accept their own responsibilities.
  • Involve yourself with Al-Anon / Nar-Anon support groups.
  • Learn to be open and honest.
  • Grow day by day.
  • Remember to focus on your OWN reactions and attitudes.
  • Manage your anxieties one day at a time.


  • Accept guilt for another person’s acts.
  • Nag, argue, lecture or recall past mistakes.
  • Overprotect, cover up or rescue from the consequences.
  • Neglect yourself or be a doormat.
  • Forget addiction is an illness.
  • Manipulate or make idle threats.
  • Yearn for perfection in yourself or others.
  • Overlook the growth opportunities of a crisis.
  • Underestimate the importance of release with love.

While it seems like a short list, these points are important for those around the addicted loved one to understand. So important that Crossroads for Women dedicates an entire session to the do’s and don’ts for friends and family members.

“The Effects of Addiction on Friends & Family” explores the basics of addiction, the recovery process and how to be supportive of an addicted loved one while also taking care of you. Those in the Portland, ME area can experience the next educational series starting on May 6th.

May 6th – Learn About a Loved One’s Addiction
View “The Effects of Addiction on Friends & Family” flyer with the entire 2008 schedule (PDF)
Crossroads for Women’s (Portland, ME) services for those affected by a loved one’s addiction

From this blog: Read more about how addiction affects friends and family members

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