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Living and Dealing with a Drug Addict
Addiction is a devastating disease that affects not just the addict, but the addict’s loved ones as well. Living and dealing with a drug addict is a painful experience that can have long-lasting emotional, behavioral and financial consequences on those involved with the addict. The best way to avoid these consequences is to encourage the addict to seek treatment before his or her disease destroys the family. This, of course, is easier said than done, and until then you must learn how to live and deal with a drug addict and learn when to walk away. Here are some tips for living and dealing with a person who’s addicted to drugs.
Take care of yourself. Dealing with a drug addict is very emotionally draining and very time consuming. Make time to do things away from the addict and return the focus to positive things in your life. Don’t let your loved one’s addiction become the focus of your life.
Protect your money. Feeding an addiction is very expensive, and many addicts will use money that’s needed for bills, groceries and other necessities to feed their habit. Keep a separate checking and savings account that only you have access to.
Don’t enable the addict. Oftentimes addiction creates codependent relationships in which family members or partners lie for and cover up for the addict. You may think this is helping the addict, but it is only enabling their addiction. Make it clear that you are no longer willing to be a part of your loved one’s addiction.
Don’t accept abusive behavior. Addiction is not an excuse for physical violence or emotional abuse. If your loved one is dangerous to live with, get out and stay out until sobriety is achieved for a marked amount of time.
Join a support group. You are not alone. Join a support group of people going through the same thing so that you have a social network to call upon when you need help coping.
Change your behaviors. Living with an addict is an unstable and unpredictable environment, and can create coping behaviors that are damaging. Counseling can help you identify these behaviors and teach you new ways to cope with difficult situations. Some people who go through this process may find that they can no longer live with the addict. This can be painful but can be a healthy step to rebuilding your life.
Stage an intervention. No one can be forced into addiction treatment, but an intervention can help open their eyes and realize that they no longer want to live with their addiction. Interventions are a delicate process that should not be attempted without extensive planning. They can be done alone, but it is often best to enlist the help of a professional interventionist. Interventionists are specially trained counselors who can help you conduct an intervention in a safe and more productive manner. Immediately following the intervention, your loved one will be escorted to a drug addiction treatment center to begin the recovery process. After your loved one is detoxed and is in stabilized treatment, you’ll be able to undergo family therapy together.
If you’re tired of living and dealing with a drug addict, call a drug rehab facility today and ask how they can help you begin the long journey back to health for both you and the addict in your life.
COURTESY OF CASA PALMERA, DEL MAR/CA
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