How To Address Drug Or Alcohol Abuse With An Addict
If you were suspicious of your loved one abusing drugs or alcohol and have finally found the evidence to prove it, what should you do? Some experts recommend that you say nothing about your discovery to your loved one. This gives you ample time to observe and collect data about them and the substance abuse. Ask yourself if your loved one is using or not during the times that you see them. How is their appearance or behavior; are their clothes dirty or sloppy or are they clean and neat? Are they smiling all the time or do they avoid looking directly at you, as if they were hiding something? How is their performance at work or school; is it on par or is it failing? Is their energy level above or below their normal level and is their speech clear, slowed, slurred, rapid, etc.? Anything out of their former normal range can act as a clue.
If you suspect that your loved one has a hangover in the morning or is high, it is recommended that you disengage yourself from their presence and not reward them with your company. Do this whenever you think they are using or hung-over. Eventually they will realize that you are distancing yourself from them at these times.
Eventually you will have to confront your loved one about their addiction. Most often they will deny they are using or say that the drugs or alcohol belong to a friend and they are just holding it for them. Most addicts are in a state of denial and don’t believe they really have an addiction problem. They think they can stop whenever they want to, and will deny to you that they have a problem. So, how do you approach the subject with your loved one without alienating them? The first thing to remember is to stay in control of the conversation without over-reacting to the things your loved one tells you. Although you may be angry, shocked, fearful, etc., you should keep the lines of communication open to find out as much as you can. Your loved one started abusing drugs or alcohol for a reason and it is not just the physical addiction that has to be treated, but also the psychological reasons that led to the addiction. If there is an additional underlying biological or psychological disease, it must also be treated along with the problem of addiction.
Some families believe that a family intervention is a good way to approach their loved one’s substance abuse. There are different methods of intervention style to choose from. Anyone in the family circle that is not supportive of your loved one and has anger and resentment against them should be excluded from the intervention. There should not be any negative talk with shaming and blaming the addict for all the family problems. A spokesperson should be selected to lead the intervention. This person should be someone that your loved one respects and will listen too. The aim of an intervention is to let your loved one know that the family loves them, is concerned for their health and safety and wants them to get well. The family will encourage the addict to get the help they need to recover from addiction. Once your loved one agrees to get help, the family can assist them in that endeavor.
The family can also be a part of the recovery process by attending family counseling which treats each member of the family. The family will begin to release emotional issues related to the addiction that have bothered them and caused them to treat the addict in a particular way. The family dynamic is usually turned upside down because of addiction and therapy will bring it back into balance. The family will also learn the most effective ways to treat the recovering addict without coddling them. The family is the single most important support group a recovering addict can have. Together, the family can share their love and support the recovering addict on their journey to wholeness.
If you need help learning how to better cope with stress and overwhelming emotions, the addiction specialists at White Sands Treatment Center can help. We provide the treatment programs you’ll need to prevent a relapse and continue living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Dial 877-855-3470 for more information.