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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tips on getting through to an addict

Dead in NYImage by NYCArthur via Flickr First and foremost, getting through to an addict probably will take more than just your efforts alone to accomplish. An addict can not be reasoned with , and there is no way to “win” an argument with a full blown addict either. Their reasoning is skewed by their addictions, and your reasoning will fall on deaf ears.
This is why so many arguments with an addict yield little benefit to either party. If anything it could spark violence which is another side effect of the disease.

1. There’s strength in numbers- there is a reason professionally assisted interventions work, and that is because an addict has to visually see the impact and pain they have caused, and in some instances there are very important things an addict needs to hear. It may be phrases like “I’m sorry” or “I love you.” Having a professional there to help guide the family and keep everyone focused on the ultimate goal is where the success lies. Get help with your intervention, many family interventions fail because emotions cloud the process and many times the addict will gain the upper hand by using emotional manipulation.

2. Stick to your consequences- Don’t say what you wont or will do as a consequence to an addict unless you mean it. They can see and sense the lack of conviction you have and if you have to have firm resolve. If you make idle threats they will fall on deaf ears. If you’ve made threats in the past and failed to carry them through then don’t expect them to suddenly work now. Words are lost on an addict, real firm consequences that you make stick will say it all.

3. Know the reality of your situation- You aren’t doing yourself or your addicted loved one any favors by staying in a constant state of denial or downplaying their significance and grave danger they are in. Every day that you give support, food, shelter, or money to an addict is a day that you are escorting them to their grave. With addiction, there IS NO TOMORROW. Tomorrow could mean the end. Drugs like Heroin , Cocaine, and Meth can kill an addict at any given time with out warning, addicts do not build up a tolerance to death. That means get help now. Today may be your last chance to save their life and tomorrow may be robbed from you in an instant. If love would be the single factor in getting an addict to quit, there’d be no addicts. Your love can’t make them stop, nor can their love for you make them stop. Sadly an addict becomes blind to love, as their need to feed the addiction grows, their craving for the drugs or alcohol is the most powerful motivating factor. The sober loved one is buried deep within, and is trapped inside begging for sobriety, your love has to be in the actions you take, not in affection or words or financial help.

4. Regain control- Many times you find yourself losing the grasp of the situation with an addicted loved one. Just when you think you’ve made a difference you discover that you have been made a fool of. Gain control of the situation by making sure you are not contributing to the problem. Make sure you do not fall for the manipulations that will be thrown your way. Addicts use guilt, past mistakes, pity and even physical intimidation to get you to succumb to their wants. If your addicted loved one is doing this, it is time to make your move. Contact your local drug rehab programs and get the guidance and help you need. If you have to call the police. A night in jail is a lot better than a night in the morgue. At least you get out of jail.

5. Stop blaming yourself- The longer you blame yourself the more time you waste in making the right decisions for yourself or your loved one. Blame is best overcome when you take positive action in getting the addict off of the drugs and substances that are killing them. We can’t go back and change the past, all we can do is move forward, onward, and upward. No matter what you blame yourself for, it will pale in comparison to the guilt you feel when it is too late.

6. Be prepared to walk away- Sometimes the only way to survive an addicted loved one is when you have to say this is it. This means handing the problem back to the addict and you walking away. It may seem like something you could never do, but there are support groups out there to turn to that can give you the tools and strength you need to stand again and be happy, whether the addict gets sober or not. Two lives can’t perish because of one. That is the ultimate success of addiction, to take as many lives down as possible. Now when it is a child, we can’t “walk away” but we can keep placing them into treatment, and making sure they face the consequences for their actions. If it means jail time, do it. Drug use, buying and selling are all illegal activities. If all else fails, contact your local police department for some advisement in this area. Some police departments have their own “scared straight “ programs that may be just the wake up call your minor may need to snap them into reality.
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