How to Help in a Crisis: A Guide for Support

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When a loved one is going through a crisis due to an addiction, you might not know how to respond. While your loved one is destroying their life with their behavior, you might struggle in your approach to intervene. We want to help however we can when a loved one’s behavior is causing damage. We do not like to see them in a state of disarray and might feel helpless as they struggle. We want to encourage them to seek treatment and support them in their path to recovery. However, sometimes the words fail us and we are not sure how to provide support. Helping someone in a crisis means knowing the difference between what someone wants to hear and what they need to hear. The harsh truth and honest communication might feel intimidating; however, they can be helpful for dire situations. 

Veiling the Truth: Denying the Problem

Dancing around the reality of the situation is a way of denying the gravity of what is going on. We have a lot of reasons to deny things that may be uncomfortable. In our relationships, we might hold back on being honest with others because:

  • We want to be polite
  • We have a desire to “keep the peace”
  • We are fearful of their response
  • They may reject us

Overcoming these feelings is not easy. We always have to think of the bigger picture to get out of these moments of holding back. If your loved one misses a few days of work due to a severe hangover, you might think, “Well.. that was only a few days.” However, when these days add up over time, they can create more significant problems, like missing out on a promotion or getting fired. Without a form of intervention, your loved one may continue to spiral as they lose control of their life and their addiction gets worse.

Being Honest: What Do People Need to Hear? 

Not everything in life will be easy, and recovery from addiction is not easy! However, your loved one deserves the best in life. They deserve a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life that is free from addiction. People often hold back on speaking the truth because the process to change is difficult. Your loved one may need to go through the detox process or experience withdrawals on the path to sobriety. They might need to recall unpleasant traumas fueling their addiction or reveal underlying issues they have kept hidden. 

Nothing in life changes for the better without some sacrifice, work, or accountability. We cannot expect to reach the stars without the pain of failure as we learn new things. Recovery from addiction will be difficult for your loved one. They will face challenges and come to realizations that they have kept hidden. Your loved one may be in denial about the problem as a way of shielding themselves from reality. Now that they face this reality, they might resist help to protect themselves. Once their wall of defense comes down, they might feel vulnerable and afraid. However, with our support, guidance, and assistance, our loved one does not need to suffer on the path to wellness.  

“This Won’t Be Easy, But I’m Here For You”

Sometimes, we feel like we are protecting our loved ones by letting things slide. We think that denying the issue keeps them calm and creates peace. We minimize the problem or hope that their addiction will go away on its own. We need to acknowledge the truth that dealing with addiction is not easy. Healing and recovery are not easy; there is no way around this reality. No matter how much we wish for it, nothing in life that is worthwhile is easy. However, we can get through challenges together. When supporting a loved one, denying that they will deal with challenges and difficulties is not helpful. Brushing off recovery as something that is just a quick process in a treatment facility and being “cured” will not help them engage in lifelong recovery. What is helpful is saying and following through on this promise: “This won’t be easy, but I’m here for you.”

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for someone is to offer your presence. Be the listening ear for your loved one who needs to vent their frustrations or open up emotionally. Hiding reality or diminishing the scope of the issue degrades your loved one’s potential. Lending a helping hand, a guiding voice, a listening ear, a ride to an appointment, or answering a late-night phone call are some of the most helpful things you can do. Your loved one may be struggling with their addiction. You can help them get through their current crisis and help them live the life they deserve.

Helping a loved one through the crisis of addiction can be challenging. We might avoid the problem to spare their feelings or minimize the issue. We might hold back, thinking that the issue will go away on its own or that the issue is temporary. However, we can often tell when a problem exists, and quickly getting out ahead will help minimize the damage. Our loved one may need us to tell them what they do not want to hear, but what they need to hear. We can prepare for this harsh reality by lending our support. Think about how you can help them and be prepared to follow through on your promises. Recovering from addiction is not easy; however, your loved one deserves to live a life free of pain and needless suffering. Let them know that you are there for them. If your loved one continues to struggle or needs additional support, The Kimberly Center is here for you. We offer support to those in recovery and help them rebuild their families. Call us today at (855) 452-3683.


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