Calgary Dream Centre
4510 Macleod Trail SW Calgary AB T2G 0A4 (403) 243-5598

How to Help Someone with Addiction Get Treatment

A young lady is having a conversation with his brother about his addiction and getting treatment.

There is more to addiction than substance abuse. It is a disease that slowly develops through long-term changes to the brain, accelerated by mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Once addiction takes hold of someone you love, it can be a very difficult process to break through the habits and rediscover the person underneath the addiction.

Addiction is a powerful force and the road to recovery is long. Your support can go a long way to ensure your loved one gets the help they need. 

You don’t have to provide this support alone, though. There are numerous resources available to help your loved one get the care they need, and today, we’re going to look at the path you can take to start your loved one’s journey toward recovery.

Please get in touch with us if you need specific guidance on helping your friend or family member take control of their life. We offer comprehensive recovery programs that can help give your loved one the fresh start they need to move forward.

Know the Signs

The first step to helping your loved one find treatment is knowing the signs of addiction. In many ways, knowing the signs and spotting them early can make a significant difference in your loved one’s recovery, but they can also be challenging to see.

Some of the most common addiction signs include:

  • Unexplained injuries like bruises and scratches
  • Irritability, sadness, and anger
  • Lack of money for petty or living expenses
  • Lack of focus and critical thinking skills
  • Continuous run-ins with law enforcement
  • Unexplained disappearances that last days, weeks, or even months

Initially, people struggling with addiction often attempt to hide the issue for as long as possible. Over time, you may start noticing physical signs of addiction—like paraphernalia or drugs and alcohol around their living spaces. 

Whether the signs your loved one is exhibiting are minor or significant, it’s essential to speak to them as soon as possible. 

Approaching the Topic

Speaking to your loved one about their possible addiction is by no means an easy conversation. You might even have numerous discussions with them before they consider treatment options.

It’s rare to change a person’s mind after a single conversation, but these tips can help ensure it remains positive, productive, and focused on supporting your loved one:

  • Learn the facts about the substances your loved one might be abusing.
  • Know when to bring up the conversation. You should avoid attempting this talk if they are under the influence or if you’re in a public space.
  • Explain your concern from a place of love.
  • Actively listen to what they have to say. This is not the time to be “right,” it’s the time to do the right thing for your loved one.
  • Show them their value in your life and their family’s.
  • Don’t accuse, stigmatize, or otherwise confront them about their addiction. What your loved one needs right now is to be heard, not to be corrected.

Despite being a difficult conversation, there are a few ways you can approach the topic depending on what you believe might be best for your loved one.

A girl having a one-on-one conversation with her friend to comfort her and help her overcome her trouble with addiction.

One-on-One Conversations

The first step is speaking to your loved one in a private, personal format. This could be at your home, theirs, or anywhere else that provides privacy—what’s important is that they feel safe and comfortable in the environment you provide.

One-on-one conversations are a great way to show your concern for their well-being and ultimately start the process of recovery. However, it’s important to understand that it may take a while before these conversations affect their behaviour, so always be patient.


On the other hand, interventions are group conversations where multiple friends and family members express their concerns to their loved one in a safe, non-judgmental environment. 

An addictions counsellor, therapist, or social worker can also lead these conversations to help manage any potential conflict that may arise from such an emotionally-charged conversation.

The 5 Steps to Recovery

Treating addiction doesn’t happen overnight, and your loved one will need time to reevaluate what’s important to them before they can start the treatment process. Our blog post, How Does Recovery from Addiction Work? outlines a few key steps your loved one will need to take to complete recovery. These steps include:

  • The Precontemplation Stage
  • The Contemplation Stage
  • The Preparation Stage
  • The Action Stage
  • The Maintenance Stage

Please read the blog post for a deeper understanding of these stages, but for our purposes, we’re going to look at the Action Stage—the point where your loved one becomes genuinely committed to changing their circumstances and improving their life.

What Are Treatment Options?

Now it’s time to look at what treatments are available for helping your loved one take control of their addiction.

It’s important to understand that the treatment process isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution, and many people may need to try a few different approaches before finding a method that works for them. At the Calgary Dream Centre, we offer a range of recovery options, from housing solutions to professionally-led counselling and therapy programs to help holistically heal the mind, body, and spirit.

Transitional Housing

Transitional housing is a fantastic way to help your loved one overcome homelessness and addiction. 

Depending on the care your loved one needs, we can recommend affordable short-term or long-term housing options to help them rebuild their lives while also providing comprehensive access to our range of counselling and therapy services.

Recovery Programs

Our recovery programs are specifically designed to help your loved one conquer their addiction, regardless of where they’re at in their recovery journey.

For 7 weeks, your loved one will live in our Macleod Trail building, working with counsellors and a Case Manager to help address their needs and get their life back on track.

Learn more about this program by visiting our men’s recovery pages.

Additional Support

Help is there if your loved one needs it. If you’re looking for additional support to help your loved one through their path to recovery, the Canadian Government and Alberta Health Services have comprehensive lists of resources you can reach out to.

Click on the following links to learn more about these resources.

A complete guide with details on every step to help your loved one on their road to recovery from addiction.

The Road to Recovery Starts with You

Love, compassion, and respect are at the heart of all recovery stories. If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, please contact Calgary Dream Centre to learn more about how we can help.

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  • Written by Jim Moore

    CEO/Executive Director, Jim Moore is a founding member of the Calgary Dream Centre. His passion and drive to see lives changed has guided the organization to where it is today. Jim entered the non-profit world after many years of leadership in business, banking, real-estate, and church ministry. During that time he served on a number of boards and his career moved him across Canada from Vancouver to Toronto, and back to Calgary, where he helped found the Calgary Dream Centre. He was president of the Calgary Real Estate Board CREB, and past president of Canada Trust Real Estate Division Canada.

    More Articles by Jim Moore

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    The Calgary Dream Centre acknowledges with humble gratitude that our organization is located on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Iyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Otipemisiwak Métis Government of the Métis Nation within Alberta District 6, and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.