Addiction, like many chronic illnesses and diseases, is an issue that affects a lot more than just the victim. In many cases, in fact, the victim may be the only one that does not have a problem with the disease and its debilitating effects. Family members and loved ones often tend to be the most adversely affected by addiction, but many loved ones are not quite sure how to encourage a victim of addiction to get help. The first step in encouraging an individual that is suffering from addiction to get help is to understand that they may very well resent your attempt to help them. Many people feel cornered when anyone comes to offer their guidance, no matter what that person’s intentions are. Because addiction is usually the result of an underlying problem, those that feel cornered by your assistance are probably attempting to cover up that issue. Your job, then, is not to attempt to pry an answer for their addiction out of them, or to guilt them into feeling bad about the problem or their method of dealing with it. Instead, your goal is only to listen, without judgment, if they come to you naturally to talk about it. With that said, it is probably a long shot to assume that they will come to you on their own to talk. This is where it is important to make sure that you do step up and initiate that conversation with them. Studies show that the best way to do this is to refrain from immediately addressing the addiction itself first, and to address any noticeable changes in behavior instead. Try saying things like “I’ve noticed you’ve been acting differently lately, and I just wanted to check in to see how you were doing.” The goal here is to get a victim to feel comfortable opening up, and to see that you are legitimately there to help. The next step in encouraging help for someone suffering from addiction is to provide reassurance. Before you pitch a recovery center or treatment options, it is important to make sure the individual understands that you are not there to judge them, and that there is nothing wrong with them as a person. They must understand that you know addiction is a disease, and that you will be there with them every step of the way. Once this is understood, it is a great idea to do some research on treatment centers near you. Many centers offer free services, and many others work with various insurance companies!