Professionals define addiction as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice. Something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, such as narcotics. The pattern continues taking over one to such an extent that its’ cessation causes severe trauma and negative consequences.
When a family or friend is classified as being a drug addict. Their usage affects everyone around them. Addiction is a family disease. Not only does the addict face severe consequences, so do the addict’s loved ones.
While the drug addict is the only one, who must go through the physical withdrawal from substance abuse. Sadly, family and friends must endure the pain of watching the user’s life and health crumble before their eyes. Meanwhile, the loved ones suffer emotional distress by not being able to help the addict.
Many Faces of Addiction
When people refer to their loved one as an addict, others automatically think drug addict. There are many other types of addiction. Other dependencies include shopping, food, hoarding, gambling, sex addiction, and so on.
While these addicts may not have to sustain the physical withdrawal like those of substance abuse. The emotional and mental impact it has on the addict is just as severe.
One example is hoarding. These people are addicted to saving everything. There are even reality shows on television. Hoarders require intensive therapy just as drug addicts do to recover. A hoarder’s home becomes so overwhelmingly cluttered that it affects many aspects of their life.
Hoarders not only suffer emotional distress from living in solitude since their loved ones can not bear to visit that type of environment. The emotional impact is unnerving.
Hoarding addicts may also experience numerous health problems due to their hoarding addiction. Their home can become so dirty and cluttered from the overabundance of items that it becomes an unhealthy environment.
Hoarders deal with dust, not being able to move around their home so it can lead to unsanitary living conditions. These harsh conditions of life can cause many unnecessary health problems.
As with any addiction including drug addiction, acceptance is the first step in recovery. Although for an addict, acceptance does not come quickly.
How can a family member or friend help an addict if the addict is in denial about their addiction? It is close to impossible. Most addicts do not believe they have a problem. They think that they can control their drug use.
The truth is that most drug addicts must hit rock bottom before they are willing to admit they need help. The problem with this philosophy is by the time that they reach their bottom, they have burnt their bridges. Therefore, the have no one left to help them when they most need it.
Enabling An Addict
People that have an addicted loved one want to help the addict recover. They want to support the addicted loved one and help them as much as they can. There is a fine line between enabling a drug addict and helping an addict.
If you have an addicted loved one, you have to look at the big picture. A drug addict is usually broke. They spend all of their money on drugs. Therefore, the user must resort to alternative money-making methods to purchase their drugs.
This can involve stealing from people, borrowing money from loved ones that will never be paid back, shoplifting, resorting to illegal methods to get their money, and even performing unthinkable acts to support their needs.
At first family and friends give the drug addict money to buy food, clothes, pay bills, etc. Once these people realize that the money is going towards drugs and not it is intended purpose. They no longer want to give the addict money.
A drug addicted loved one is a manipulator. When family stops giving the user money for drugs, he or she will resort to other ways to get money. They also use this to their advantage.
Think of your child telling you what things they must do to get money. No parent wants their child performing acts on others for money or stealing from stores to support their drug habit and having possible legal ramifications.
Typically, a family member will help the addict until they have no money left to give. The user will then move onto another source of income. An addict does not care if they put their family in a financial crisis.
Even though, family and friends love the addict. They must not give them money. It is ultimately enabling them if the addict lives with you and is stealing from your home or even using drugs in your home. The best thing to do is make him leave. This is what you call tough love.
Addicts, especially drug users are incredibly resourceful. They will go to any means necessary to fulfill their desire for drugs. If they wind up going to jail, it may just be what they need.
While withdrawal is physically tough, the addict will not die. If while in prison or rehab the physical withdrawal symptoms become life-threatening, medical attention will be provided. This is something an addict will not forget, and it may just be enough for them to realize the severity of their addiction.
Effects on Family and Friends
As mentioned earlier, addiction is considered a family disease. A drug addict’s use affects everyone close to them. One thing a family must keep in mind throughout an addicted loved one’s drug use is that the drug causes the drug addict’s adverse actions. Not the person.
Addiction is a disease. It changes the way an addict thinks. It changes a person’s brain chemistry. No user thinks rationally. When an addict hurts their family or friends, it is not that they are trying to cause the person harm. They have a one track mind, getting drugs.
This is why the best bet is to give your addicted loved one, tough love. Make the drug addict fend for themselves. It will be hard and emotionally taxing. It will save family and friends of the addict both physical and financial damage.
Not only does an addicted loved one’s use hurt family members emotionally. Drug addicts can become physically and verbally abusive when they do not get what they want. Not only can they harm another person. They can destroy everything around them including throwing furniture, putting holes in walls, damaging their home, and so on.
The damage an addict will submit his family and friends to is unbelievable. Not only will he abuse his loved ones. An addict will also steal from them in a heartbeat. This can range from stealing a sibling’s bank card to drain their checking account to stealing the flat screen television off his neighbor’s living room wall.
Even though the drug addict can face legal consequences, it does not matter. An addicted loved one will eliminate any obstacle that comes in between him and his drug of choice, even if the drug is alcohol.
It should now be clear that any person who has an addicted loved one will also be affected by their addiction. Whether it be physically or emotionally, the disease of addiction affects all who are closely connected to the addicted person.
The bottom line is that if you have an addicted loved one, give them tough love. Do not enable them. Let the user know that you will be there to support them in their recovery. Let the addicted loved one know how much you love them.
That you will not enable them and contribute to them killing themselves. Although, let your addicted loved one know that when they finally decide that they want to get clean. When they choose to become a recovering addict, you will be there to give them all the support and love that they need.
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