Conversation Paths to Support Loved Ones

May 13, 2024

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a disease that can be treated. If our loved ones are dealing with chronic physical health conditions like diabetes or hypertension, we tend to expect the need for ongoing support as they navigate health care systems and potential lifestyle changes. People with SUD or experiencing a substance misuse challenge should be given the same consideration.

So, how can we talk with our loved ones in ways that reflect their strengths and cultural connections to growth and change? How can we be their ally? What helps people be more or less willing to talk about and explore the possibilities of growth and change?

This guide offers an evidence-based approach to having a collaborative dialogue with an individual based on their readiness for change.

Key highlights of the guide include:

  • Questions to ask yourself before you have a conversation with your loved one
  • Examples of active listening statements
  • Examples of open-ended questions
  • Post-conversation tips

This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,500,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.