Drug use harms the whole family, as well as other close people. Living with a person who takes drugs is difficult, tense relationships and conflicts arise between family members that negatively affect everyone in this atmosphere.
Sometimes relatives, especially the family, begin to blame themselves, believing that they did something wrong. In such a situation, you remembered that the choice is made by the addicts themselves, not their friend, brother, husband/wife or anyone else.
Some people think that it is impossible to help an addicted person. Although you can and should find help and get treatment. A person who is not indifferent to you, whom you love, can be saved if they learn to live without drugs. It is often very difficult to give up drugs alone, so a person who uses drugs needs the help and support of relatives and friends, as well as specialists.
You may be the first to notice that someone close to you is using drugs. There are a lot of options: rehab for couples (check at AddictionResource), drug hotline, or rehabilitation center. However, in the very beginning, you need to recognize the addiction. So, if you ever wondered how to help your loved one if they became addicted to drugs, here are some tips.
1. Stay up to date.
You cannot fight an enemy you do not know. Find more information about drugs and their effects: how drugs affect a person, how to understand how serious the problem is, and what treatment and care options are available.
A drug addict often reacts with the words: “You have no idea what I feel,” “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” “You don’t understand.” Therefore, gather information so that you can have a conversation. “I don’t have my own experience, but they I’ve read that …”, “I found a test that will help to understand how serious the problem is, maybe you want to pass it?” etc.
Motivating a loved one to seek help and accept it is hard. However, every small step towards problem awareness and change matters. And although in rare cases a person can refuse drugs themselves, refusal to use with the support of family, relatives and specialists will be more likely.
If your loved one decides to accept help and receive treatment, participate, if possible, in all dependent services offered to relatives, for example, support groups, consultations or drug rehab for families. Counselors of people who use drugs and their loved ones provide information, learn to support and at the same time not to forget about their own needs.
Addiction is a chronic disease in which relapses are not uncommon. Do not have high hopes at once – people with addiction problems may break down many times and need re-treatment until they finally give up drugs. This is what you should accept.
2. Talk to a person and try to understand how serious the situation is.
If this is done correctly, then a discussion will help both the person who uses drugs and their family. Starting a conversation and maintaining it is very difficult for both you and them. Find the right time and place to talk. Here are some tips on what to look for during a conversation:
- Try not to blame. The charge will not solve the problem and can ruin the relationship. Resist the temptation to give a lecture on how to behave and how to live correctly, although the temptation can be great.
- Keep calm and be patient. Decide that you will remain calm in any case, even if the interlocutor deceives you or behaves too emotionally. Confirm that your goal is a discussion, not a quarrel.
- Show that you worry about a loved one, that their health and well-being are important to you. Confirm that you will always be there if they need support or help.
- Let them speak and listen carefully. Ask to describe their feelings and thoughts and listen to what they say.
- Control your emotions and reactions. Consider how to stay calm even if during a conversation a person admits something bad.
- Let them know that they are responsible for their actions. They should understand that no one will take responsibility for their actions and consequences.
- Be honest, show your feelings.
- People who take drugs do not always understand how their behavior affects others. Keep calm and express empathy.
3. Remember that failure does not mean defeat.
Most addicts who have stopped drinking at least once in their life break down and become addicted again. Relapses cannot be considered failures: it may take years to master the patterns of behavior necessary to get rid of addiction and acquire the skills of a normal independent life. And although relapses cause a feeling of hopelessness, studies show that most people who seek treatment eventually stop taking drugs completely. Couples rehab can be a great option for you and a loved one to start a treatment again.
4. Take care of yourself.
The use of drugs by a loved one inevitably affects you. Worrying about a loved one, you can forget about yourself or stop giving importance to your appearance, relationships, interests or hobbies. This weakens a person, along with their ability to support a loved one who has problems with drugs. Do not forget about yourself – the main rule of help is that you first need to help yourself, and only then you can help others