When a family member is addicted, the usual patterns of behavior and thinking pose major blocks in the path to recovery, if an attempt is being made at all. Dealing with loved ones in this situation requires a different kind of response that doesn’t sit well with many people. Because of this vulnerability, addicts often use this to manipulate those close to them so they can go on using addictive substances without interruptions.
When the substance abuse and manipulation continues for many years, families find themselves depleted of resources to help save the person’s life. The result is the inability to seek proper rehabilitation programs and facilities to assist the addict in rebuilding his or her life. Dr Maher Soudah, director of Kaiser Wellness Center, says that there are basic rules that loved ones should follow when dealing with a family member who is addicted.
1. Do not be naive.
It’s hard to believe and accept that a loved one has fallen to addiction. Naivete will make family members believe that their loved one is being honest, even when the evidence suggests the opposite. This is usually under the premise that the person was trustworthy “before.” However, being naive could be fatal. If you suspect that a family member is addicted, you will see it through the changes in his or her behavior and performance at work or at school. The right way to deal is to ask the person directly about the changes, talking to the people he interacts with often, escorting him or her to the family doctor for a test, and accepting that firm action is necessary when the results are positive.
2. Reject the manipulation and the lies.
Addiction comes with a unique skill set that makes people expert manipulators and liars. This is because the mind has become a servant of substance. The addicted individual will also be very good at turning tables around on somebody who is trying to save him or her, often making it the family’s fault that they are in that situation. This ethical and moral decay should be anticipated — and must not be allowed to eat into your family relationships.
3. Do not be an enabler.
An enabler is somebody who thinks he or she is helping, but is actually contributing to the destruction. There are different ways you can be an enabler. For example, instead of helping the addict get professional help, you might be giving him or her some money, bringing food over daily, or lending him or her a car.
“If you continue to give the addict money or sources of funds, you are prolonging the abuse and contributing to the downward spiral,” notes Dr Soudah.
4. Trace where the money is going.
Addiction is fueled by money. When the person’s personal funds are depleted, he or she will be asking for money from you or selling off valuables. As the addiction increases, so does the amount needed to finance it. This is why it is common to hear about addicts who’ve stolen jewelry and pawned them off, shoplifted, and more. When you see dramatic changes in his or her financial state, either through money disappearing or the sudden acquisition of new expensive things or lots of cash, be alert, sharpen your detective skills, and follow the trail.
5. Choose an appropriate rehab program.
There are different kinds of rehabilitation programs, says Dr Maher Soudah. Some take only a few months while others can take years. Depending on the level of addiction, doctors recommend either an in-patient or out-patie nt program. Some even employ animals to make recovery easier. Thus, you should do your research to find an appropriate set-up for your loved one. Professionals recommend signing up with a facility that is far from hom so the addict will not be constantly faced with places and people associated with the substance abuse.
The first step to recovery from addiction is acknowledging that you need help. Kaiser Wellness Center offers a safe and private haven for guests to receive the tools needed to reclaim and sustain a meaning
gful life. Headed by Dr. Maher Soudah, it is center’s mission to not just help people achieve new balance in their lives but also to expand global awareness towards the improvement of health and wellness.