“I can stop using if I really wanted to.”
It’s a go-to response for many addicts when someone addresses their substance abuse problem. They’ve convinced themselves that they have control over their addiction and they don’t need help. They might even blame their substance abuse on friends and family, labeling their concerns as “criticism” and an excuse to keep using.
Rhyme or reason doesn’t apply to an addict. Abusing drugs changes how their brain functions, eventually overtaking their ability to think rationally. You may have their best interest at heart, but they might not see it that way. It’s natural for addicts to become self-defensive and lash out in these situations. It’s tough for many people to accept that they have a problem, let alone admit it.
It’s because addiction has taken complete control of their life. This may seem obvious to you and everyone around, but not to them. Eventually, their resistance to your pleas can drive you to take matters into your own hands. You try to take control of their life and make responsible decisions for them because they can’t do so themselves. While you may think this is the best way to handle the situation, it can backfire quickly and further worsen their addiction.
“So how do I help my loved one gain control of their addiction?”
You may be asking yourself this question. You’ve tried talking rationally to them but they refuse to listen, and trying to force them to get better can actually make things worse. Where do you turn?
Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy fix for curing addiction, but there are a number of resources to help begin the process. Many of these resources are readily available and can be beneficial not just for your loved one, but you as well.
You may think addicts are the only ones who need guidance to get their lives back on track, but those closest to them need to be guided as well. In order for them to come to terms with their addiction, it’s critical that those closest to them learn healthier ways to respond to their substance abuse and interact with them. Learning how to cope with the challenges and stress caused by your loved one’s addiction, as well as changing some of your own behaviors, may be the only way to get through to them.
Here are some great organizations and programs that are focused on helping you and your family deal with your loved one’s addiction. You can read more about each on their website:
Nar-Anon Family Groups
A twelve-step program for friends and family who are affected by a loved one’s addiction. Helps them cope with the other person’s addiction, while teaching them how to accept them and eventually help them.
Learn more: nar-anon.org
Al-Anon/Alateen Family Groups
Helps friends and family members cope with the challenges of a loved one’s alcoholism by providing them the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others who have faced similar issues.
Learn more: al-anon.org
Adult Children of Alcoholics
An organization that helps adults recover from the past abuse and neglect of growing up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household.
Learn more: adultchildren.org
A twelve-step program for co-dependent individuals who inadvertently enable their loved one’s addiction. Helps them develop functional and healthy relationships.
Learn more: coda.org
Addiction brings out the worst in all of us. Watching a loved one’s life spiral out of control can cause us to become desperate, doing anything we can to save them from the inevitable. Although with good intentions, desperation can turn ugly quick and make us just as irrational as they are.
Once you learn how to change the way you react and deal with their addiction, then they can begin to realize that they need to make a change as well. Trying to take control and acting rashly will only make them resent you and make the situation worse. The addicts are the ones who must decide to take action and seek help in order for any real progress to be made. Your job is to support them and offer them encouragement, being careful not to overstep your boundaries so that they don’t change their mind.
Addiction Treatment & Support is Available at Footprints Beachside Recovery
Where your loved one goes for treatment and the type of treatment they receive is extremely important, and you may feel the impulse to take control of this decision. However, you must remember that this is their decision and you must let them be in control of their own recovery. Although the final choice is theirs, you can still recommend treatment centers that you think will suit them best.
Footprints Beachside Recovery Center is a great fit for many who struggle with addiction. Located on the beautiful beaches of St. Petersburg, Florida, our holistic substance abuse treatment center specializes in treating several types of addiction. Our focus is to treat the whole person, by healing the mind, body and spirit in a relaxing and intimate setting.
If you or your loved one wants to learn more about our addiction treatment programs, contact us today. Our professional and caring staff is ready to help your loved one overcome addiction.