It can be intimidating to confront someone about their addiction. You never know what will come out of a conversation. One thing is for sure: discussing it will make everyone involved uncomfortable. How to talk to addict in denial is dependent on their state of mind.

When speaking with drug users, it is common for them to make unfulfilled promises.

It is best to entrust the speaking and guiding to professionals. When someone alters their behavior to hold a drug user accountable, those around them gain a new perspective.

How to Talk to Addict in Denial
How to Talk to Addict in Denial

What Does Addiction Denial Look Like?

Addicts rationalize, minimize, repress, deceive themselves, and selectively forget to avoid confronting their drug use disorder. Those around them wonder how to talk to addict in denial. The process can be conscious, unconscious, or a mix of both. Denial was especially appealing given the deep stigma associated with addiction and its potential consequences.

The belief that everyone is the fault of someone else is a denominator behavior among alcoholics and addicts. Many people are also unaware that they need professional help and believe that they can solve any problem.

Here are some examples of denial:

  • Everyone and everything other than themselves is to blame for all of their problems.
  • They are annoyed by a variety of people, places, and things.
  • Believing that help is not required, or that even if help is needed, the addict assumes that they can solve the issue and do not require treatment.
  • They use drugs to take revenge against others.
  • Their spouse, husband, partner, or significant other has not yet left.
  • They continue to have financial resources.
  • They have no legal problem.
  • They keep their substance use to a minimum. The most common is to persuade everyone that it’s just marijuana and that it’s now legal.

How to Deal with Their Denial

People who abuse drugs feel profound shame and embarrassment about their actions. Someone is probably afraid of what will happen if drugs are no longer an option. Addiction can lead to negative behavior and harm to those around them. It may be troublesome, but you must avoid blaming or criticizing them. Here’s how to talk to an addict in denial.

1. What Must I Say?

  • Choosing the Appropriate Time to Talk

Approaching addicts when they are not under the influence of drugs can be beneficial in some cases. Remember that it is their perceptions and behaviors that are causing the conflict. It is always case-by-case, which is why you should seek professional advice.

  • Discuss how their actions make you feel.

Feel is the keyword here. People can disagree with you. They are far less likely to argue with your emotions. You put them on the defensive when you turn it into an opinion.

  • Seek clarification About Their Wants and needs

Nobody wants to be an addict, but it can be hard to remember your dreams when you’re in the grip of addiction. You can help someone reconnect with their goals and explore how continued substance use interferes with those goals by asking them what they want out of life. Encourage recovery and provide fresh motivation for change.

  • Keeping the Blame Away

Stick to statements that begin with “I,” such as “I was worried” or “I feel hurt and embarrassed.” Skip sentences that start with “you always…” or “you never…”

  • Be ready for denials, rage, and accusations.

Addicts are sensitive, and they are likely to feel defensive or ambushed, especially if someone believes you are a co-conspirator. Keep the focus on their behavior and point out specific examples that concern you.

  • Discuss Their Concerns

Admitting addiction can be frightening, but talking through those fears with someone can allow them to examine them with greater clarity, often assisting them in identifying their irrationality or developing coping strategies.

  • Provide Support

Ask them what they need to help them overcome addiction. Being there for someone during their difficult times shows them that you not only care but also understand them

  • Making plans for an intervention

There is nothing wrong with seeking professional assistance. There’s also nothing wrong with admitting you have no idea where to begin. People who want to assist others in similar situations. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of confronting someone about their addiction, speaking with an addiction professional may be just what you need to get the job done.

How to Deal with Their Denial
How to Deal with Their Denial

2. What to Avoid Saying

  • Makeup excuses or Be Soft on the Problem

There is no need to be soft when establishing boundaries. Being soft reveals your vulnerability and gives the addict the impression that your boundaries are weak. Sending a message that is easy to manipulate is a choice that you and your family can make.

  • Berate or scold them, and tell them what they must do

Although addicts enjoy making everything about themselves, this backfires when conversations revolve solely around them and what they did wrong. These discussions quickly spiral out of control, and their first thought is that they are this way because of you. Furthermore, the moment you begin the conversation by telling them what they need to do, they go on the defensive and are ready to blast you with all of your flaws. They will then flip the script and lecture you on what you must do.

The Potential for Intervention and the Elimination of Remorse

An intervention is not about controlling the drug user; it is about giving up the illusion that you can. You may need the help of a professional to figure out how to talk to addict in denial. Intervention should create a safe space free of shame and blame to avoid defensive responses and open up authentic conversations about drug use. A small group of people will gently confront someone about addiction and invite them to seek help during the intervention. They are not always successful right away, but the event may serve as the inspiration for someone to finally get sober.

Obtaining the Appropriate Treatment Program

Having the name of a treatment center readily available to someone expresses an interest in inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment solutions to their addiction problem. If they want professional help at a treatment center, offer to accompany them every step of the way. To foster motivational change rather than elicit defensive reactions, the addiction treatment program you choose must be on a compassionate, medical understanding of addiction. Someone can gain the insight and skills needed to overcome the barriers to recovery and achieve long-term sobriety with the proper care.


One of the hard things a person can go through is watching the end of someone they have cared about. It may be hard to bring up such subject matters, but it is preferable to say nothing at all. Concerns about how to talk to addict in denial may make it difficult to convince someone that they are in a bad situation. In the recovery process, overcoming is just one of many steps toward restoration.

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