Having to watch someone you love struggling with addiction is one of the hardest things anyone can go through in their lives. What’s worse is that while you don’t want to enable them and fuel their addiction, you don’t want to alienate them from you either. Knowing how to approach the situation without making matters worse is another concern many may have.
Before you talk to someone about their addiction, you have to first understand the psychology of an addict so you can identify pathological behavior and what kind of approach you should take. In this article, we’re going to show you what you should do if a close one is dealing with addiction.
Understand That Lying is Just a Way of Life to Them
One of the first signs of addiction is compulsive or pathological lying. Severe addicts learn how to navigate through a complex web of lies to fuel their addiction. You shouldn’t judge them or hate them for it; in most cases, they can’t help it.
They would be ready to do anything to get their next fix and their sense of morality is trumped by their urge to use or engage in their habit. Others will lie in order to hide that they’re even using. Knowing how to deal with someone who’s a compulsive or pathological liar can be difficult without making them angrier. That’s why you should talk with people who understand addict behavior in depth before you do so. If you want to know how and why addicts lie and what to do about it, you can learn more here.
Don’t Expect a Simple Conversation to Work
Simply confronting someone about their addiction isn’t going to work, even if they seem totally sincere about wanting to change. Chance are they will start thinking about getting their next fix the minute you walk out the door. So just sitting down and having a talk is no reason to pat yourself on the back. And you can’t start using sentiments and telling them that if they loved you, they’d quit. This isn’t going to work. Addiction is not a rational thing and addicts get completely overwhelmed by their addiction. Once you understand that fact, you’ll be able to work towards a real solution.
Start Thinking about Rehab
At this point, you should try to identify what their addiction is and start looking at treatment options. You should look at both inpatient and outpatient treatment. Try to take their personality and severity of their addiction into consideration.
For instance, if they struggle with discipline, then outpatient rehab might not be the best option for them. Make sure that you ask as many questions as possible and find out how the program works. You should also ask if you can talk with people who went through the program. You’ll then be able to present your family member with a variety of options, but make sure that they’re varied to increase the chances that they’ll find at least one interesting.
Also, be wary of 30-day programs, since they are not always the most efficient. Long time addicts often lose a lot of life skills and it will take more than 30 days to build them up. Addiction also transforms a person mentally, and they often lose their sense of connection with others. They will often need to relearn how to communicate with others completely before they can get their life back on track.
Stand by Them as Much as You Can
It’s also very important to let them know that you will not be giving up on them and give them as much support as you can. If there are children involved, however, it’s important to remove them from the situation temporarily. But it’s your responsibility to show them that you truly care and that you’re there. People dealing with addiction often lose all sense of self-worth, and knowing that they have someone who’s there for them might increase the chances they’ll turn things around.
Do Not Accept Abuse of Any Kind
However, you also have to understand when you can’t help someone for your own safety. You should never allow yourself to be abused either mentally or physically, even if you want the best for them. In this case, you’ll have to seek support yourself, either from counselors, a minister, family, or even law enforcement. You have to put your safety first, and you won’t be able to help if you’re beaten down yourself.
Insist on Them Going to Rehab
You should never accept an addict’s promises of cutting down on their consumption. Unless you see real improvement, you have to keep insisting that rehab is the only solution. Nobody wants to hear that their loved one is either dead or in prison. Find a good rehab program and accept no excuses.
And don’t expect this to be easy either; chances are they will fight back. This is why you should consider getting close friends and family together for an intervention or work with a professional interventionist to make sure it doesn’t backfire. If you’ve been helping the addict in any way, whether monetarily or by sheltering them, you have to get them to agree to rehab. Do not give them any other way out.
You also have to make sure that you come from a place of love during the intervention. You can’t start blaming them for unpaid debts or shame them for neglecting their kids. This will only push them back into their uncomfortable guilt, a guilt they’ll usually try to alleviate by using, so be aware of that.
Also, you shouldn’t assume that everything will be fine and dandy once they get out of rehab. They will need your help once they get back into the real world and will likely go through hard times. It is up to you to give them all the support and love that you can to make sure that they stay on the right track. Also, make sure that you keep them involved in family activities and don’t let them get isolated – this is where they’re at the most vulnerable.
The circle of addiction can be broken only if you know how to take the right approach and consider treatment. Either way, always make sure to let them know that they have your support and insist on them finding a solution.