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Addiction-Recovery– Addiction Doesn’t Only Affect The Addicted

By a Verblio Writer

(861 words)

Drug addiction is not a rare occurrence. If you’ve ever had a close friend or family member battle with a drug addiction, then you know how harmful it can be to everyone around her. It is difficult to watch someone you love go down a dangerous path and not accept your many efforts to help her change.

The truth is that she will not and cannot change until she is ready to do so. If she tries to mend her ways only to satisfy your constant nagging, then chances are pretty good that she will relapse. Or she may not really quit at all, but may become better at hiding it.

Going through drug addiction, for both the addicted and those around them, is a lot like experiencing the five stages of grief.

1. Denial

As hard as you deny that your loved one has a problem, she will deny it ten times harder. Typical things that an addict in denial might say is that the problem is being blown out of proportion, and that it’s not that big of a deal. She might say that she has the addiction under control. But unless they just do it out in the open, drug users tend to be very good at hiding their addictions and downplaying how much they are using.

2. Anger

Once you realize that your loved one does have a problem, you may be in disbelief that she would do this to herself. You may ask yourself how she could let the problem get so bad. You may fight with her, and let her know what a stupid choice she is making. You tell her that she should simply stop. The problem is that she can’t just stop. An addiction takes over a person. It has control over her at every waking moment. Your declaring that the addict is out-of-control will likely anger her, because in her mind, she is in complete control. This may cause her to isolate herself, so that she no longer has to listen to your angry words.

3. Bargaining

By now, you’ve researched the particular addiction your loved one is dealing with. You know it is beyond her control to put an end to her using without help. You would do anything to help: speak to a doctor with her, bring her to rehab and help pay for it, or even help her stay on track with an out-patient facility. Plus, you are willing to listen to any suggestions she may have. But what do you get? “If you really cared about me, you would just accept me for who I am.” In saying things like this, she is bargaining for your acceptance by pointing out what a bad person you are for wanting to change her. She might even suggest that if it really bothers you so much, she’ll use less: a compromise. She’ll offer anything, as long as she doesn’t have to quit.

4. Depression

At some point, you start to feel like you are sitting in a corner hitting your head against the wall. There doesn’t seem to be any solution. This is where you start to blame yourself. You think that you might’ve been able to help your loved one, if only you had paid more attention, and had caught the addiction in the beginning stages. Were you enabling her by looking the other way, believing that she was an adult capable of making her own decisions? You start to doubt your own ability to make rational decisions, and your self confidence sinks a little. In the mean time, the addict may become more detached and introverted, sinking further into her addiction, because she perceives everyone around her as abandoning her for no good reason.

5. Acceptance

There comes a point when you have to accept the fact that you will be unable to convince her that she needs help. Tough love is they only way to show the addict how serious the situation is. Let her know that she cannot, and will not be in your life as long as she is using.

She will accept one of two paths: either accept that (1) you will no longer be in her life, or (2) she has a problem that she needs to get help for. Path one usually means that she does not believe that she has a problem. She will try to convince you of this. You will have to stick to your threat to not be a part of her life.

Path two is tricky. Is she accepting help because she believes that she has a problem, or because she wants you to think that she believes you? Both reasonings will lead to treatment, but one leads to recovery and the other leads to feelings of resentment and a strong possibility for relapse.

Handling drug addiction is physically and emotionally draining for everyone involved. There are many specialized treatment centers that provide personalized plans to help clients eliminate their addictions while significantly minimizing the likelihood of a relapse. If you or someone you know may be battling addiction and needs guidance and assistance for substance abuse treatment, please reach out for help and support.

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