How To Help A Drug Addict
Drug addiction afflicts family members of drug users as much as it does drug users. It is difficult to understand how you can help your loved one combat this severe problem if you haven’t been through that struggle yourself.
There is still a way to help addicts overcome their addiction. It is a three-step process that will require a great deal of patience, understanding and effort.
First Step: Interventions
Most drug addicts won’t respond well to threats of abandonment or “If you don’t quit” statements made by loved ones. It is possible to stage an intervention without the use of such language. However, you may find that your intervention still fails for several reasons (did you know: there are professional interventionists for this?). Once you pinpoint the causes, it’s necessary to correct them before deciding to host another intervention.
- Questioning an addict indicates a lack of understanding. “Why are you doing this to yourself” is often asked during interventions, but this question only alienates drug addicts. It puts them on the spot and demands an answer. This is a rhetorical question that drug addicts cannot answer.
- Instead, ask inclusive questions to show care and understanding; “We know this is a difficult time for you. What can we do to help you through it?”
- Don’t expect an answer or commit right away. It might take as much as a month for your family member to come to terms with their addiction.
- Don’t demand promises from a drug addict. Drug addiction removes the ability to be trustworthy and reliable. Asking this only leads to failure.
Second Step: Offer Realistic Solutions for Drug Addiction Recovery
It might be easy to sit your family member down and begin addressing their addiction by listing all of the problems they have as a result of their use. However, drug addiction affects thinking and decision-making even when the addict is not currently using or if it’s been a while since they’ve used.
- Offer reasonable solutions that will allow them to heal slowly.
- Be an active part of those solutions.
- Offer to replace what they’ve lost; help them get their old job back or another job when they are clean, help them regain confidence, and help them repair damaged relationships.
- Be a part of their recovery. Allowing a drug addict to overcome their use alone is a sure way for them to return to their old habits.
Third Step: Educate Yourself On Drug Addiction
Assisting your loved one in overcoming their drug addiction is a huge undertaking. It requires you to dedicate a lot of your own time. Unfortunately, a successful recovery does not mean that you no longer need to be part of the process.
Recovery can take years and you will need to commit to the entire process. You should learn the signs of a relapse and what triggers them, and find ways to prevent and handle depression, a common side effect.
Drug addiction can do severe damage and drug addicts may never return to their former selves. However, you can’t just sit and watch as your loved one is destroyed by drug abuse.