We always feel a strong attachment to our neighbors. We see them so often that they’re practically family, even if we don’t know much about them. However, when a addicted neighbor is potentially struggling, it’s a tricky situation. You don’t want to see them suffering, but you don’t want to make a false accusation that can lead to bigger problems.

Can You Help?

Most people who suffer from addiction are in no rush to face up to their situations. They may suspect that there’s a problem, but they’ll rarely take action if confronted by someone else. If friends and family have a hard time getting through to an individual with an addiction, you might not be able to help either. However, if you feel it’s worth a shot, you’re best served educating yourself about addiction and how your comments might be received. Understand that your addicted neighbor’s brain waves have been changed due to their drug or alcohol use, making it hard for them to see the gravity of their situation.

Handling the Conversation

It’s never easy to confront someone in a difficult situation, and that’s especially true of someone who may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Despite the heavy subject matter, it’s best to keep the conversation light. After all, it’s not an intervention. You’re just trying to shed light on a problem and offer a helping hand. Remind the individual that you’re still their friend, no matter what. This isn’t a time to mention how their problems have affected you. Instead, keep the focus on your neighbor and offer to help any way you can.

Talk to Their Family

If your conversation with your addicted neighbor leads you to believe that he or she is abusing drugs or alcohol, it’s time to talk to their family. This will likely be another awkward conversation, but as a neighbor, your input will be appreciated and valued. Furthermore, your unique perspective as a neighbor can be very helpful. Ask what the family has done to help, and ask if there’s anything you can do to assist. You may be able to work together with the family to keep an eye on your neighbor and create a plan for what to do if things go too far.

Don’t Forget Yourself

It can be easy to get so consumed with the problems of others that you neglect yourself. Don’t let this happen! You can’t be there for your addicted neighbor if you don’t take care of yourself. Besides, there’s a chance that you might not be able to help your neighbor with their addiction. If you can’t, there’s no sense in obsessing over the issue. All you can do is wish him or her the best and promise them that you’ll be available in case they need anything.


  1. http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs
  2. https://ncadd.org/for-friends-and-family/helping-someone