There is no list of dos and don’ts in terms of what you can discuss with your loved one. There is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to WHEN and HOW you talk about things with your loved one:

Family members are often afraid that certain topics will make their loved ones use again.

If you want to have a discussion with your loved one about a topic that triggers this fear in you, it is important to remember the three Cs: you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it.

What this means is that nothing you say or don’t say can either MAKE your loved one use or keep them in recovery.

However, do not try to have a conversation with your loved one if they are under the influence. It’s pointless. In fact, if your loved one is under the influence, you should do your best not to engage in any discussion with your loved one.

If you never have an opportunity to discuss with your loved one when they’re not under the influence, you may have to make decisions without their input.

You may try to let your loved one know that there are things to discuss, and you won’t be able to include their input unless they give you an opportunity to talk to you when they’re not under the influence, but of course, there is no guarantee they will do that.

And they may try to start a fight and pressure you into having a conversation that they are in no condition to reasonably have. Giving in is not likely to be productive.

Anything can be brought up and discussed as long as you can do it with respect for your loved one’s dignity. Avoid blaming and accusatory tones. If an action by your loved one is a cause of a situation, point that out calmly.

Also, remember that you don’t necessarily have to come to any conclusions in one conversation. Either of you might need time to think certain things over.

It is important not to allow your loved one to force you into conclusion you’re not prepared to make, or come up with an answer you’re not prepared to give.

Use the broken record technique if this happens, repeating over and over something to the effect of “I need some time to think about it/consider the options.”

It’s also important to give your loved one this time should they ask for it. Yes, they may just be stalling, but if it becomes apparent that is what is happening, then you may have to set a boundary, or a deadline around the conversation, making sure it’s a boundary you are prepared to keep.

Again, no false threats or your loved one simply learns not to take you seriously.

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