An addict’s life is very complex and fragile all at the same time. As a family member or friend, you want to do everything within your power to aid in their recovery. You may even go to such extents as to forcefully and passionately push to see that they seek treatment, go to therapy, and stay clean.
Yet despite your best efforts, the very thing you are doing to help, may be doing more harm to that addict’s complex and fragile world. Here are a few pointers as to how to cope with an addict in your life, without inflicting any more unintentional harm driving them further into their addiction.
An alcohol or drug abuser may try to coerce you into their addiction by offering you to drink or do drugs with them. You may feel this could help you level with them, understand their addiction, or even repair their loneliness. However, the addiction is much deeper than superficial ailments. It is a disease within the mind. Therefore, do maintain your integrity when with an addict. Be an example of sobriety for them.
With that being said, don’t allow them to convince you that you are wrong for seeing their addiction as a problem. Also, don’t associate their addiction as a personal vendetta against you. Saying “you would quit if you loved me” is inconsequential to the addict as their addiction for drugs or alcohol overcomes even their deepest love for family.
Do accept their submittal to drugs and alcohol. Understand that the addiction is beyond their logical control. It is an overwhelming burden to them. Acceptance and not denial of this state will allow you to realistically find solutions to their problem.
As recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment programs should be at a minimum of three months to support a more successful recovery. Don’t enroll the abuser in a 30-day program. Addiction is built up from years of life-damaging events and suppressed emotions that will take time to unravel and deconstruct.
Do support and fully insist that rehab is the only option acceptable for their recovery. Sweeping statements of, “one last time” or “I’ll wean myself off” are not acceptable. They will never be capable of doing such things because addiction is a disease, not a choice. Showing your support for rehab will lead to a more successful recovery as they can be assured that they have not failed and have become a worthless person if you are standing with them.
However, don’t assume the addict in your life will be jumping at the opportunity to enroll in the program at the first mention of rehab. Intervention, whether personal or professional, may be necessary. Any family or friends who have been providing a crutch for the addict to get along needs to be cut off or must clearly understand that they too must also support and recommend rehab.
Do provide your utmost love, guidance, and support, at every stage of the addict’s recovery. Drugs and alcohol are their way to suppress guilt and shame. Showing your care and love throughout each step of their addiction will help make their recovery more successful.