Far too often, those suffering from an addiction to any one of a number of substances, attempt to downplay the severity of their dependency by ignoring addiction. Unfortunately, studies have shown that many of their would-be saviors do, too. Is it a coping mechanism? An attempt to err on the side of caution, in case we’re wrong about our suspicions? Whatever it may be, it’s doing much more harm than good for that loved one or friend that desperately needs help. While you by no means should attempt to “fix” that person yourself, ignoring their situation is the absolute worst thing you can do. If not dealt with professionally, addiction can progress to severe sickness and even death. There isn’t a point at which things get better on their own, but there are plenty of points where, if you’re not careful, a loved one can become too far gone. In navigating life as a partner, friend, loved one, or trusted associate of an addict, it’s important to remember to use only facts to build your case for their professional help. It’s dangerous to believe what that addicted person says to you about their addiction, particularly because numerous studies have shown that addicts have the capacity to say or do almost anything if it means they’ll be able to get their next fix. If you sense that your friend or loved one is using, it’s probably because they are. Don’t let them talk you out of investigating the severity of their issue (though by all means, don’t lose yourself in the process). And whatever you do, remain committed to helping him or her work towards solutions for the addiction for as long as you can. The sooner you can get a medical professional involved the better, as trained hands will help minimize any potentially devastating side effects that may come from using illicit substances. And while you certainly don’t have to go out of your way to change your own lifestyle for your loved one’s sake, you can make the medical professional’s life easier by limiting access to substances like alcohol and prescription drugs around your home, car, etc. Additionally, setting boundaries around your home and family life to deter your friend or loved one from manipulating or exploiting your goodwill will allow you to keep your sanity throughout the process. Some good boundaries include not loaning money for any reason, refusing to lie or cover for them, and not allowing any illicit substances in or around your home.