Supporting Drug Addicts
Help a Drug Addict by Helping Yourself
Living with somebody who is suffering from the devastating disease of drug addiction can be a painful experience. Not only do you have to cope with the behavioral and financial consequences of the addiction, but the emotional energy that has to be invested in helping a drug addict can break relationships and destroy families.
You may believe that the most important person in this scenario is the drug addict, and it is understandable that your natural tendency is to help somebody you love. But no, it is you who must live and deal with the addict, and it is you who must learn not to let your loved one´s addiction become the focus of your life too.
Steps to Help You Help Yourself
You already know that you cannot control the behavior of a drug addict, but you can control what you do to cope with uncomfortable and unpleasant scenarios. Sometimes these steps to help you help yourself are equally unpleasant or uncomfortable but, by achieving them, you will soon be taking giant strides towards helping the person you love.
Take Time for Yourself
Start regaining control of your own life by setting boundaries. Tell your addicted partner or family member that you do not want to be with them when they are high and, as hard as it may be to enforce your own boundaries, get out of the environment. Use the time away from the addict to focus on the positive aspects of your life and join a social network which can provide you with security and safety should you need it.
Join a Support Group
Inasmuch as you might feel you are alone, there are many people in the same place as you or who have been through a similar situation to what you are experiencing right now. Support groups are comprised of people who can offer sympathy and advice, and can help you understand the disease model which is afflicting your loved one. With that understanding behind you, you can progress through the other steps which will help you help yourself.
Isolate Your Money
Isolating your money and having funds that only you have access to will is one of the best ways of protecting yourself and is one of the primary pieces of advice that will be offered to you in support group meetings. Drug addicts will go to any length to find the money to fund their addiction and, although it is tough to deny somebody you love what they want, you will only compound your own misery if there is nothing left to pay for groceries, gas or bills.
Don´t Enable the Addict
The denial of money can often accelerate the addict´s problem of feeding his or her addiction, and it is possible that this may result in even more unpleasant scenarios. If this occurs, do not enable the addict´s lies or criminal actions by covering up for them as enabling the addict gives them more control over you and - should the addict´s behavior become abusive as a result - the best course of action is to get out and stay out until the addict sobers up.
Organize an Intervention
Addicts believe that their actions are acceptable all the time that you are enabling them and they receive approval from those most likely to be engaging in the same addiction. It is not until they are confronted with their addiction outside of their usual environment that the true impact of their addiction is realized and, although an intervention might be considered to be an “event”, it is really just the next step in the process to help you help yourself.
The Process Does Not End with an Intervention
After an intervention, and irrespective of whether the person close to you is removed to a rehabilitation center or joins a twelve step meeting, the process of helping a drug addict continues. Your partner or family member is going to need encouragement and help to remain sober - and you are going to need support yourself for the emotional energy you will still need.
Helping an addict is never easy. Make sure that they know there is always help available for them whenever they need it but also be aware that you are going to need help too. The steps listed above may not be achieved in days or even weeks, but you should not lose sight of your goals - even though the road to sobriety is a long one.
Get Help with Helping Yourself
Helping an addict by yourself is difficult and some would say impossible. Helping yourself may be something within your control but it can be made so much easier by speaking with an addiction professional for advice. An addiction professional can help you by:-
- Providing advice about setting boundaries and maintaining them
- Recommending support groups which are relevant to your loved one´s addiction
- Preparing for and organizing a managed intervention
- Suggesting treatment programs and facilities which are appropriate to your loved one´s needs
Indeed, by picking up the phone and speaking with an addiction professional right now, you are starting on a journey that could transform the painful situation you may currently be experiencing into a loving and joyful relationship.