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Each year, I receive thousands of emails seeking recovery support. Most of these emails are sent on behalf of the addicted person. And this emphasizes an important concept, namely that friends and family of an addicted individual tend to take action against addiction long before the addicted person is willing to do something.

How, then, do the loved ones of a substance abuser bring him/her in line with their own understanding? Is there something that can be done to coax the addicted person into action against their illness?

The answer is yes – that’s the good news. The bad news? Your ability to bring about a change in perception with regards to addiction in the individual is limited. To be sure, there are actions you can take. But whether it produces the desired effect is entirely another story.

“You are no longer in the ‘results’ business.” That’s a quote my sponsor drilled home in me. It applies equally to family and friends of an alcoholic or drug dependent person.

Once you identify a friend or family member with a substance abuse problem, however, where do you turn for help? And if your assistance is severely limited in this situation, what should you do?

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