If you want to know how to help an addict without enabling, I will give you in this article 10 tips on how to act and what is the most important thing you can do.
Having a friend, family member or loved one with substance abuse or substance abuse problem is a very sad situation now how to help an addict without enabling.
How to help a drug addict
Surely you want to help him get ahead and stop drugs so his life will not be ruined, but maybe you do not know where to start.
Tips to help someone who uses drugs
Sometimes it is difficult to realize if a person is using drugs or not. If you find paper flakes, spoons, syringes, pipes or pieces of burned aluminum foil, these can be indications of the consumption of different drugs.
Other symptoms that may indicate problematic use of substances include:
- Sudden mood swings.
- Abandonment, inactivity.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Agitation, nervousness.
- Increased expenses, loss of possessions.
- Eyes red, pupils dilated or contracted.
- Frequent nosebleeds.
Look for detailed information about the signs and symptoms of drug use, to find out if your friend, family member or partner is actually consuming.
Watch your behavior closely for a few days or weeks, to see if there really is a problem.
It may be useful to talk to other family members or friends about your suspicions, to go directly to this person you love (I’ll tell you how to do it later) or consult a substance abuse professional to give you an opinion about this situation.
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2-Try to correctly evaluate the problem.
You may wonder if this person so dear to you really has a problem with drinking alcohol or other drugs, or if you are actually exaggerating and inventing a drama where there is none.
If you notice that this person is having problems in family relationships, in the couple, at work, with studies or is in a complicated economic situation, if you have had problems with the law or have low self-esteem, then you are not exaggerating: Drug use is becoming a serious problem that can negatively affect your life.
3-Do not wait for the problem to get worse.
Many books, magazines, and movies show situations where the drug addict really “bottoms out” before getting help to get out of trouble.
However, this is a myth. Do not wait for the situation to be terribly serious in order to help the drug addict.
Research in this respect shows that early identification of the problem and early treatment is the best solution.
Early identification and early treatment mean you do not have to wait for the person to quit school, lose work, have a serious health problem, or be separated from your family because of your addiction to act and start helping you. You have to offer help to the first symptoms.
People often recover more quickly if they receive help and treatment early.
4-Do not wait for me to ask for help.
This strategy is very dangerous. Many drug addicts do not seek help until their addiction has become a really serious problem.
Do you really want to see how this beloved person loses his job, suffers a traffic accident or ruins his health?
If you do not ask for help on your own, then the addiction will continue to worsen, and the close environment of the drug addict will also suffer greatly.
You cannot deny that there is a problem. You must face this situation and help your loved one to give up drugs, before consumption ruin your life and also that of your family.
If the situation where you have tried everything and your loved one is not allowed to help, you will have to make the decision to maintain that relationship or not in the event that it is hurting you.
5-Seek support for yourself.
In order to help a drug addict, you will first need to have great emotional stability, calm and assertive communication style, as you will have to face denials, discussions, threats, crises and various relapses.
Seek support in psychotherapy or help groups for family members of addicts. There you will find help for yourself and also tools that you can use to make your loved one overcome the problem of drug use.
6-Speak clearly and calmly
You may be afraid to start a conversation with the person you want to help.
You may be concerned that the talk may result in an argument, a violent scene, or a hasty decision to leave home or school.
However, a quiet, calm conversation, without reproaches, insults, or blame, can be a very rewarding experience.
Perhaps the drug addict has not yet noticed that his behavior is problematic, which is negatively influencing his life and the people in his immediate surroundings.
To talk to the addict about your problem and the talk has a positive result, remember that:
You should not engage in the conversation when the person you want to help (or you) is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Drugs can reduce the ability of logical reasoning and make the person feel impatient, angry or guilty. He may find it difficult to control his impulses and may act irrationally or violently.
Set a time for the talk where both have enough time to talk without interruption. The idea is to have a dialogue, that is, an exchange of ideas where you will expose your concern about this topic and the other person will express their opinion on it.
Start the talk explaining that you feel worried about the situation due to the affection you have. Emphasize the idea that this concern for their well-being is the main reason for this conversation.
Explain clearly what behaviors you are concerned about, what altitudes are having negative consequences on your life, in relation to continued use of alcohol or other drugs. For example, tardiest to work, problems in studies, abandonment in personal care, etc.
Listen to what I have to tell you. Do not become a victim of this situation and do not blame the other person, do not judge or adjectives.
If your loved one denies that there is a problem, tell him or her that you would like to discuss this issue again in the future. Your goal is not to convince him that you have a drug problem, but to let him know that you think he is, and that you are concerned about the behavior he is having and its negative consequences.
Do not expect an immediate change of attitude. This may be the first time your loved one thinks about this problem.
Experts recommend that every time you talk to the addict, you repeat the same message: “I worry about you because I love you, and I want you to seek help to get out of this problem that not only affects you, but also the people who love you.”
If the situation gets worse, you can take action on it. But the moment you tell him what to do, you must be convinced that you will comply with what you say; they should not be just threats.
For example, you can tell the drug addict that you will not be allowed into the home if you are under the effects of drugs. Or you will not give him more money until he decides to seek professional help to stop consuming.
You must comply with what you say to it because otherwise, your words will lose credibility. Also, it is good for the addict to begin to notice the negative consequences of their behavior.
If you protect or allow certain attitudes, these consequences will be less noticeable and will not help you become aware of the seriousness of the problem.
8-Look for and offer possible treatments
When the word treatment is mentioned, you may imagine a prolonged income for detoxification.
While this is a frequent option, there are many treatment possibilities that adapt to the different physical, psychological, social and emotional circumstances of the addict.
The most appropriate treatment for each case also depends on the severity of the problem.
Look in your environment for the different treatment options that exist for cases of drug addiction, to be able to offer concrete help to your loved one in the next conversation.
9-Organize an intervention
When a group of people close to the addict meets with him to talk about drug use, it is said to be an intervention. They can be family, co-workers or friends, for example.
All people should talk calmly about the specific behaviors that are causing them concern.
Facing the group addict can have a greater impact. The intervention can be done all at the same time in the same place or on different days, over a couple of weeks.
Something important is clearly explaining to the addict what the worrying attitudes are and taking advantage of the time to offer a telephone or address of a professional in the area or a rehabilitation center where you can seek help.
10-Do does not expect magic results
Addiction is a chronic disease and as such can be controlled and healing requires a long process.
That is why relapses are normal. Leaving drug use is a long and difficult road but not impossible. Do not expect quick results and relapses do not discourage you.
Offering help, care, and support to a loved one who has a drug problem can be a difficult task.
Follow these tips, do the best you can and do not feel guilty.
If you can help this person that you want, welcome, but if you decide to continue in your illness, at least you have done everything possible to help.