Help A Family Member With Drug Addiction

by Eric Dunbar

help-a-family-member-with-drug-addiction-medDrug addiction is a heartless enemy that does not discriminate. Anyone can become a victim of drug addiction. Drug addiction is unmanageable. There is only one way to deal with a drug addiction, and that is to TURN AWAY!

Drug Addiction Takes Complete Control

Drug addiction will turn any decent person into a slave. A person who is addicted to drugs is not in control of anything they say, do, feel or think. Anyone who has ever experienced drug addiction will tell you that during their addiction, they lost all control of all of the things that made life enjoyable, and they did not regain that control until they made up their mind to do a complete turnaround and walk away from it.

During the twelve years that I struggled with an addiction to crack-cocaine, I tried everything within my power to manage it. I found out that it is impossible to manage drug addiction. So I began the search for anything that could help me end my horrible nightmare.

The most difficult thing about conquering drug addiction is being able to exercise the tremendous effort of self-control that is needed to deny yourself of the very thing that you are obsessed with. Now that you have discovered that a member of your family has a problem with drug addiction, here are some tips that you can do to help your family member and yourself.

Deal with yourself first

The shock of learning that someone in your family is a drug addict will destroy the family bond, and it begins with you. Please understand that you will be in no position to be of any assistance to your family member until you can help yourself to get over the fact that your son, your daughter, your husband or wife is a drug addict.

I remember how stunned my family was when they found out that I was addicted to crack-cocaine. They were so traumatized that they alienated themselves from me. Although they suspected all along that I had a problem with drug addiction, they were too shaken to approach me.

The way you deal with your own emotions will directly affect the way you approach that addicted family member. So the very first thing you need to do is “get over it.” You may not like the fact that your husband is addicted, but it is what it is, and now that you see the situation for what it is, you should move quickly to the next step.

Find middle ground

Addiction has nothing in common with family. The two are at opposite ends of the field. Finding a place of commonality is the only way to insure that you will be able to communicate with your drug addicted family member. So do not waste time finding that common ground. Immediately begin to look for something, anything that you might have in common with that addicted family member and use it as a tool to win back their affection. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become.

Re-establishing the family bond is the only way to bridge the void between your understanding and your family member’s addiction. A good place to start is to be sensitive to your family member’s strange behavior. You must realize that they are not the same person you once knew because they have undergone chemical changes in their brain.

The more I used crack the less time I wanted to spend with my family. The drug was so dominating until nothing else mattered. Without really being aware of what I was doing, I built a wall around myself that nobody could penetrate.

The one thing that irritated me more than anything was to be constantly scolded about using drugs. I knew I needed help, but the more people told me about using drugs, the more I distanced myself from them. So whatever you do, always try to be sensitive. It is important that you do not lecture; it is the one thing that addicts hate more than anything else.

Stop enabling

I’m sure you have heard of “tough love”. The best description of tough love is a love that will not be compromised. After you have gotten past the shock of having a drug addict in the family, you should immediately start to exhibit tough love.

For example, if you know that your daughter Megan has a problem with drugs you should stop giving her money. Although it hurts you to see your daughter without money, do not give her a dime. If you continue to act as her banker it will only enable her to continue in her addictive behavior.

Don’t be afraid to seek help

Drug addicts have a unique way of making family and friends feel guilty, when they are the ones who should be experiencing the guilt. An addict will do anything to continue using the substance of their addiction. Therefore you must do everything that you can to convince that beloved family member to seek help to triumph over their addiction.

The Twelve Step Program of Narcotics Anonymous advises that in addition to addressing the physical aspects of addiction, those who are seeking a solution to their addiction problem should also call on their “higher power” for help. Of course we know that this is another way of telling you to call on God, for God is the only higher power who is able to help you win the fight with such a formidable foe as drug addiction.

Be supportive

No drug addict will surrender until they have exhausted every available option that would allow them to continue using the substance of their abuse. It is called “hitting rock bottom.” Such a decision often comes after a long and hard battle with an addiction, health issues, starvation, and unbearable living arrangements.

Once that addicted family member has hit rock bottom they will make the decision to seek help. Do not hesitate to follow through with them on their decision. Addicts have been known to change their mind about seeking help within an hour of making the promise. It is important that you be supportive of your family member, now more than ever because they are at the peak of their vulnerability.

It took eleven years for me to take that giant leap to seek help, and another year of up and down drugging before I finally kicked the habit. Had the above mentioned elements not been present in my life I believe I would have been lost in the sea of drug addiction forever.

Please understand that every battle fought against addiction is exceptional, and always remember that addiction works against different people in different ways. I encourage you to never give up on that addicted family member. If you are persistent you can help them break the chains of addiction that has held them hostage against their will.

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