How to Confront an Addict

Woman confronts drunk husband

You might suspect or even know your loved one is using drugs and has a problem. But they might think you don’t know. You have to say something—but what? How do you bring it up and once you do, where do you go from there?

It is important to have a plan before you get started and this article will help you put one together.

Your Goal

Before you do anything, you need to know why you are confronting them. Is it to get them into treatment, get them out of your house, or have them take a drug test? The one you choose will determine what approach you take. I would focus on getting them to take a drug test and following that up with getting them into treatment. Because if your only goal is to kick them out of your house, the only thing you would have to focus on is telling them to get out.

Be Prepared

Before you confront them, you have to have a few things set up. Get a drug test which includes the drug(s) you think they have been abusing. You can find these on the internet or at a local drugstore. Having the drug test to hand ensures you can move throughout your plan without any hiccups. Any delays will give the person a way to add time and possible confusion and you don’t want that to happen. You want to always be in control as that is a key factor in handling the situation.

Also, you should be prepared by picking the treatment center you want them to go to. Coordinate with that facility so everything is set up in the event they fail the drug test. This way, if you get their agreement, you can execute your plan and there will be no time for them to change their mind.

Confronting Them

When you approach them to start the conversation, don’t be angry or attack them. As angry as you might be, addressing them from anger can result in them reactively fighting with you and not listening to what you are telling them. You should approach this with the intention of actually communicating to them and having them communicate back. It is vital to keep the communication flowing. Even if you are struggling to keep your cool, remember that anger has a tendency to shut down all communication and when that happens, there will be no positive result.

It may be useful to write out what you are going to say to them ahead of time. Here is an example.

  • Listen I know you are using drugs; I am not mad at you, but you need to get help and I ’m here to support you.

If they claim they are not using, tell them to take a drug test and If they agree to be tested and the test comes out negative, drop it for now. (You should, however, continue to keep a close eye on them.)

If they outright refuse to take the drug test it most likely means they are using. The percentages of people who are using and refuse a drug test are very high.

If you are worried they faked or tampered with the test, you can read about how to detect a faked drug test here.

If they fail, or admit they are using, you should tell them:

  • “Listen I have already found a good addiction treatment center that will help you out and I will also be there through this to help get you sober.

If they agree to go into treatment, execute your plan and get them into the treatment center you have chosen as quickly as possible so as to minimize the amount of time they have to change their mind. Don’t let them add time with things they “have to do”, like shopping for things or visiting family. These are things they have likely been putting off for weeks or months so now needing to complete them is just another way of trying to stall having to go into treatment. Keep a watchful eye over the things which absolutely MUST be done as opposed to those things that are a good idea, but not necessary.

Handling Them

If they test positive but outright refuse to go into treatment, this is where you would start to give them a bottom line; the way things are going to be if they refuse to get help.

This may consist of several different things such as cutting them off financially, telling them not to contact you until they are ready for help, or even kicking them out of your house.

Now here is a key point: While you will start this off being nice and caring, you can get stern if they are not having any of it. Also, if you are going to give them ultimatums, be prepared to follow through on them, otherwise you will open yourself up to further manipulation.

If you are still not sure how to handle this or need added guidance, feel free to give us a call. We have caring professionals who are happy to help you work out a plan of action.



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.