According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the number of people who use drugs illicitly, including pharmaceuticals, has steadily increased over the past few years. What these statistics rarely touch upon is how substance abuse affects the lives of the loved ones of drug addicts.
If you have a parent, sibling, friend or lover who is a drug addict, the best thing that you can do for them, and for yourself, is to get help as soon as possible. Rarely will a situation involving a drug addict get better or resolve itself.
Loving an addict can be a tough situation that can be difficult to deal with. If you find yourself in such a predicament, here are a few things that you can do.
One of the most important yet most difficult steps that you need to undertake is to admit that you and your loved one have a real problem. You have to accept the fact that your loved one has changed and that things will not get better unless you take concrete action.
Know that you cannot do it alone
Do not think that your loved one still has complete control of himself. Neither will you be in a position to say that you can help your loved one fix himself. Stop trying and accept that there are things that you simply cannot change or control.
Do not blame your loved one
Instead of blaming your loved one for succumbing to drug addiction, take an objective look at yourself and what you have done in the past which may have contributed to the problem. Being aware of what you have done and veering away from that is one major contribution you can make for your loved one.
Sometimes, you might think that you are helping a loved one, but in reality, you might only be enabling them. Take an objective look at your actions and avoid those that enable your loved one and their addiction. Enabling is very difficult to stop and may require the support of a mental health professional.
Learn to say no
Drug addicts resort to various ways of manipulating loved ones in order to get what they want. It may be difficult for you emotionally, but you need to learn how to set boundaries, hold your ground and not cave in.
A renewed focus on yourself
Moving away from behaviours which may have contributed to a loved one’s addiction can sometimes prove difficult. Instead of focusing on the negative, give yourself a renewed focus. If there are aspects in your life that may have fallen by the wayside, then this is the perfect opportunity to renew your commitment to your own health and wellbeing.