When you think of drug addiction, the chances are you don’t associate it with anyone who you care about. However, substance abuse is a lot more common than you would think, with one in three people dabbling in drugs at one point in their lives. Believe it or not, it’s not just young adults who are prone to substance abuse, but people of all ages, especially people who are under a lot of pressure.
Many people with high powered jobs or stressful family lives, turn to drugs. It starts off with just the odd hit here and there but then before long; they’re addicted. When it comes to drug addiction, many of us don’t know how to deal with it. Especially, when the person who’s addicted is someone we’re close to. It’s far too easy to let your feelings for the person who’s addicted cloud your judgement when it comes to the best ways to help them. To help make dealing with a loved one’s drug addiction easier, here are eight rules to follow:
1. Talk to them
The most important rule, when it comes to drug addiction, is not to brush the problem under the carpet. Far too many people turn a blind eye when it comes to substance abuse because it’s easy than dealing with it. However, if you care about the person who’s addicted, it’s crucial that you discuss it with them. Otherwise, things will slowly get worse and worse.
2. Be open and honest
When you’re talking to them, always be open and honest. Don’t try and hide anything about their behaviour, as this will only make things worse. If, for example, they got high on drugs, didn’t tell you and then drove with you in the car, explain how scary this was for you. Say, “The other day, you got high and then drove. You were swerving all over the road; it was very frightening.” Keeping these kinds of things from them will only make things worse, as they won’t realize how upsetting their behaviour is.
3. Don’t sympathize
No matter what the reason for their addiction, don’t sympathize with them. If you tell a drug addict that you understand why they use drugs, you’re basically saying that it’s okay for them to continue using them. You need to explain that although whatever drives them to take drugs isn’t nice, that there is no excuse for it.
4. Never be an enabler
Whatever you do, never give a drug addict money. By giving someone who’s addicted to drugs money, you’re enabling their addiction. If, for example, they need new clothes and can’t afford them themselves, take them shopping. If you were to give a drug addict money, they’d spend it on drugs.
5. Encourage them to seek help
The most important thing you can do for a drug addict is encourage them to seek help. Beating drug addiction is almost impossible alone. So if your friend or family member has any chance of beating their addiction, professional help is crucial. The great thing about drug addiction treatments is that there are so many options to choose from. From religious rehab treatment to outpatient care, there is a lot of choice when it comes to getting help.
6. Be supportive
Beating drug addiction is a challenge, which means that your friend or loved one will need all the support that they can get. Make time to see them, talk about their progress and how they’re feeling. Explain to them how proud you are of them and how you can’t wait until they’re fully clean and can get on with their life.
7. Do all you can to help
While they’re undergoing treatment, make sure to do everything that you can to help. As well as being supportive, it’s also important to take their mind off things. Plan day trips together, spend quality time together and do what you can to take their mind off of things. They’ll recover more quickly if they’re kept occupied.
8. Help them move on
Once they’re come out of treatment and have kicked their addiction, the next step is to help your loved one move on. This isn’t easy, especially if they’ve spent time at a residential facility, but with time you can help them get their life back on track. Make sure that no matter what, you’re there for them.
There you have it, the eight rules for dealing with drug addiction. It might not be a hard habit to beat, but with time and the right care, it is doable.