Don’t allow the patient to tell you lies that you accept as the truth. Doing this will enable the patient to continue to lie. The truth is sometimes painful, but a necessary part of recovery.

Don’t allow the patient to be manipulative because this only teaches him or her to avoid responsibility and lose respect for you at the same time. In this way you become an enabler.



Don’t deceive, blame, threaten, argue, praise or serve substances to the addicted patient when he or she is drunk or high — or sober.  You may feel better at the moment, but the situation will only continue to deteriorate.

Don’t accept promises which may only be a means of postponing the pain. In the same manner, don’t change agreements that you make with the patient. If you make an agreement, respect it.

Don’t give advice or solutions to the patient. Only direct and act as a facilitator so that the patient can wrestle with his or her own feelings and search for the answers to them.

Don’t threaten nor lose your temper while conversing with the patient for this can ruin your relationship with him or her and abort any possibility of help.

Don’t allow your anxiety to make you feel obliged to do what the patient should do for himself or herself.

Don’t cover up the consequences of drinking. This reduces the immediate crisis but prolongs the illness. Don’t pay for any debts.


Don’t forget that addiction to alcohol or drugs is a progressive illness that keeps on getting worse as long as the patient keeps drinking or using. Begin today to understand and make a plan for recuperation. Doing nothing is the worst path that one can follow.

Don’t follow this list as hard and fast rules. It is only a guide that one should use with intelligence and thoughtfulness.


If it is possible, ask for professional help. You need it as much as the patient does.