Helping a Family Member or Friend With Drug Abuse and Addiction Problems
Everyone around an addict knows that he or she needs help with addiction, but often the addict cannot see it. Many die just like that. Our goal is to try to provide the family with as much information as possible regarding the intervention process.An addict often knows in the back of his heart that he or she needs help to break the cycle for enough time to receive the necessary help. An example that is very common is when an addict encounters a major problem (for example they arrest him, throw him out of his house, lose his job) and at that moment he is perfectly willing to discuss his addiction with his loved ones. Unfortunately, if this opportunity is not quickly taken advantage of, the desire to consume the drug and the overwhelming environment will force the individual to use it again and it will be some time before he or she finds the strength to embrace rehabilitation.What are the reasons for the addict?The addict has things in their past or in their present that seem like devastating events that have something to do with substance addiction. An example is an addict who has lost his best friends because of his addiction. Another example is a person who loses his wife and child for drug abuse. A family member can look at the life of the addict and see hundreds of reasons why the addict should give up drugs, but unfortunately these reasons are not REAL for the addict. There are, however, problems that the addict finds to be real or significant in the life of the addict, which the addict sees as reasons for giving up the use of drugs. It is important to identify these because they can be used during the intervention to remind the addict why they should seek help.What pressure does the addict feel now?The addict does not necessarily have the same reality about his addiction as the non-addicts may have. For example, he or she may have half serious health problems, no friend or work or income, but feel like things are “more or less okay.” Many addicts have actually overdosed and been close to death, and are using drugs the very next day. This may seem crazy, but it is actually only part of the addict’s pain.With this in mind, the addict occasionally encounters additional pressure, which forces him to make a real decision on whether he gets help or continues to use. Pending legal fees that can easily lead to jail, threats to lose your husband or wife, loss of pending work, are all possible situations that can put enough pressure on the addict to fight drug abuse and addiction, and seek help.Although a particular one may not work in your situation, there are pressures that may have weight and that will help stimulate the addict to a decision to seek help. It is easy to assume that the addict is simply “trying to avoid going to jail” or some other evaluation that is in many cases true. The fact is that an addict will only seek help when someone or something pulls him out of his “comfort zone of addiction” and forces him to make a decision. Addicts with access to money, a place to live, and people who agree with their use and no legal problem rarely seek help. They “have no problems”. It is very important to understand this and will be crucial in any attempt to intervene.Who should be there to help?One of the biggest considerations in the intervention is choosing who will be there. We must think this matter out in advance. The number of people present is less important than who is there. If possible, the person the addict respects the most must be present. This person is an opinion leader for the addict and has to be there to give full support to the fact that the person receives help and should be well-informed about the actual agenda.As many family members as possible should be there as long as each and every one of them fully agrees about the fact that the person needs help and supports the overall agenda. If there is someone antagonistic in the family against the addict and is not able to control themselves from presenting arguments and accusations, then you may consider leaving that person off.Generally, the addict has many enemies and has done wrong to the majority of the family but the arguments and the indisposition do not benefit the cause of making the addict seek treatment. In fact, it usually results in preventing this from happening because the focus of attention is placed on the discussion and not on the issue that concerns us.There are also ways to introduce the addict through some 24/7 Helpline support. This kind of support passively drives the addict to realize their problems have solutions, motivating him or her to take the first step.