Tough Love Time: How to Deal with a Drug Addict in the Family
Apr 08, 2019 19:16
A drug addict in the family can be heartbreaking to deal with. Learn how to deal with a drug addict in the family with this helpful guide.
Almost 10 million Americans suffer from some type of addiction. With numbers like that, it's likely you know and are close to someone who suffers from this disease.
And their disease effects you more than you ever thought it could. You have to learn how to deal with a drug addict without losing your mind.
It's hard - and it will be until they're sober. Here are some tips on surviving this trying time.
How to Deal With a Drug Addict: The Do's and Don'ts
When your loved one is under the influence of drug addiction, you can't treat them the way you always have. Their brain is operating differently and you need to approach them in different ways.
If you're extreme with them, they're going to retaliate and push you away. If it's someone who's a danger to themselves, that's the last thing you want.
You can't make them quit - you can only encourage them. Here's a guide of do's and don'ts when it comes to addicts so you can preserve your relationship as much as possible.
Do: Set Boundaries for Yourself
If the addict is someone not directly in your family, you have the ability to set more limits. If they're, say, your brother you can ask them to not be using when they see you.
Or that if you suspect they're high around your children, that you won't let them see them again until they're sober. Addicts don't make good decisions when they're high, so you have to be careful about where and how you let them in.
Don't: Demand They Quit
Demanding someone quit drugs is like telling someone with depression to just get over it. That would be great, but it doesn't work that way.
Like depression, addiction is an illness and it takes time, motivation, and trained professionals to truly quit.
And, as much as you beg, the person won't quit or get sober until they're ready. You can put an addict in rehab like this treatment, but if they don't want to stay sober, they'll use again when they get out.
Do: Let Them Know Their Actions are Impacting Your Life
This is a very tight line to walk because you want to let them know you're worried about them, but not guilt them about their behavior. You can tell them how their addiction is impacting you, but be sure to use I statements.
Don't accuse them like, your addiction is ruining the family! That's a dramatic example, but it might be how you're feeling.
Instead, say something like "I feel like the family dynamic is changed because of your drug use and it makes me sad". I statements are a great way to get emotional feelings through to someone who's not in a sensitive place.
Don't: Cut Them Off Completely
It's hard to work through and keep up a relationship with an addict. You have to be very strict about your boundaries with them so that their disease doesn't suck the life out of you, as well.
But you need to let them know that you're there when they're ready to get sober. If you can't talk to them while they're in this stage, that's okay - but let them know it's for forever.
You still love them and you're ready to talk when they're ready to get serious about recovery.
Be Patient and Trust
It's heartbreaking to have an addict in the family. We can tell you all the strategies and ways how to deal with a drug addict, but none of them will stop the pain of (temporarily) losing a member of your family to drugs.
You have to be strong and let them know you're willing to help, but you don't condone their behavior. Stay empathetic and understanding, but make sure they know your limits.
When they're ready to heal, you'll be right there, where they need you.
Worried about a non-illicit drug addiction but something more like vaping? Click here.
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