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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Helping an addicted loved one

Addiction is a disease that poisons whole families.
Photograph of actor Corey Haim, taken at a cel...Image via Wikipedia

Corey Haim, child star of the Lost Boys etc, was found dead in his apartment from an apparent drug overdose at the age of 38.

How do we fight this battle in our own families to avoid this tragic end? Sadly, drug use enters into a family much like a thief in the night. By the time you realize it, it is usually well in force. Family members find themselves in unfamiliar territory as they journey through this devastating attack on their loved ones. Fighting a drug problem, whether your own or a family members takes courage and determination. Summoning support for a wide variety of resources is the only way to combat it head on. 

Various prescription and street drugs may caus...Image via Wikipedia


Strength in numbers-
You are not alone. Once you realize you have a member of your family or a friend that is an addict, take a hold of yourself. Your strength wont only help you, it will help them. Find friends, get over the shame, and realize many people out there know how to help you, even if its just through mutual compassion and understanding. You need this reinforcement, you're up for a huge battle and you have to be ready to call on support. An addict can manipulate, lie, steal and trick you in their attempts to gain money and other means of support from you. You need others input to help you. You also need to use some of the addicts own methods to help them. Tactics to battle this disease often times means using many methods, if you have to trick them, or lie to get them the help they need do not hesitate. Every minute of addiction is one more nail in the users coffin. Tomorrow will not be easier than today.

Get educated-
Know what signs to look for. Some to keep an eye out for is lying, dilated pupils, blood shot eyes, sweating, snoring or unsettling sleep patterns, shortness of breath, irrational behavior, change in personality and temper. Research the drug, and the information that is available. Your local library and your own computer offers a wealth of information on the subject. To fight any disease is to have the right knowledge.

Plan your confrontation ahead of time-
Summon your support and round up your family and friends to help. Tell them you care and love them and know in your heart that they are a good person that made a bad decision. Say what you mean and mean what you say. An addict will sleep in the gutter if they have to, so idle threats are of no use to them. You have to make them understand the extremes you are willing to go to. If it means calling their employer, or reporting them to the police do so. You are fighting for their life, and regret is a painful thing to live with if you do nothing and they die. Don't cover for them. Don't make life easy for them. Use any means necessary to get them into treatment. If they are really bad off, get them help immediately. Do not waste time with outpatient services. They need inpatient round the clock care.

Get counseling for yourself
There are wonderful support groups out there for you, and your family.
Do know, that people do overcome addiction. Do not give up, addiction takes dedication to recovery. Yours and your loved ones. Relapses may occur, but the ongoing key to lifetime recovery is lifetime commitment to fight it.

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