Helping an Addict Recover

Last modified: September 23, 2013 12:56:46 PM

a family is too emotionally involved to resist the manipulative behavior which is characteristic of drug and alcohol addicts

One of the most traumatizing situations that can occur in a family is the descent of a loved one into the depths and despair of drug or alcohol addiction.  The addict’s personality changes, the relationship dynamic of the household changes, and the emotional, mental atmosphere of the home changes – all for the worse.  However, we would all do anything possible to help our sibling, child, partner or parent recover; but what happens is that because we don’t really know how to handle the situation, we can turn into the addict’s enablers in an effort to appease him or her into stopping his abusive behavior; or we scream and get angry with our addicted loved one for his or her moral failure.  After all, to many of us who are not health-care professionals, addiction is a weakness and an addict can stop if he or she just wanted to hard enough.

Many families, after realizing that their loved one is an addict and learning the extent of the problem, try to solve the problem “in-house” by themselves will several well intentioned plans that don’t really produce the desired result; in fact, the addiction can become worse.  For example, if an addict claims that he or she is addicted because he or she feels ignored by the family, a sudden dose of attention from everyone will not solve the drug issue.  In fact, in an effort to keep the addict “pleased”, some family members will actually go out and buy the drugs for the addict in an effort to “control the supply” or as “one last hit and that will be it.”  It never works; drug addiction is not a moral failing, it is a complex psychological, emotional and physical situation that can even be classified as a disease.  There are no simple solutions and a family cannot solve the problem by themselves:  they are too emotionally involved to resist the manipulative behavior which is characteristic of drug and alcohol addicts.

Along with the drug addict, there may be other family members who also have emotional and mental issues that can be driving the addict to drugs; healing cannot take place with the addict in isolation.  All family members must take an active part, all family members need professional help in order for the addict to recover.  This is the main reason why families cannot do it alone; guidance from professionals is an necessity.  From professional interventionists to psychiatrists, psychologists and drug rehabilitation doctors, the family must heal as a group to bring about the needed positive lifestyle changes that a drug addict so desperately needs.  For the sake of your loved one who is caught in the grip of drug or alcohol dependency, do not try to solve the problem on your own; get professional help, and the sooner, the better.


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