Substance abuse affects more than 24 million Americans and the number of overdose fatalities seems to climb each year. Loving someone with a pattern of substance abuse can be incredibly difficult. This is the second half of a two part post that looks to help someone who has a loved one struggling with addiction. Below are three tools that can help if you find yourself in a situation where a loved one is battling a substance abuse disorder.
Offer Support, Not Finances
The simple truth behind addiction tells us when a person is hooked on drugs they will not change until they’re uncomfortable enough to do so. Not offering finances can go beyond giving someone you love money. In some cases it may be advisable to not buy them food, give them gas, or supply housing. While people frequently say, “I can’t have my child just on the streets, I can’t have them go hungry”. This can be enabling and it’s a common theme in codependent relationships. The truth of the matter is if you’re hooked on drugs or alcohol and you are hungry but you only have $20 dollars then you’re oftentimes going to spend that $20 on drugs especially if you can ask a loved one to buy you a cheeseburger.
Encourage Healthy Habits
The easiest answer to the question how do you get someone off drugs is simply to get them doing something else. More than anything, changing a person’s habits and routine is a necessity to recovery. Change is best done when you replace your time with a new activity of some sort. According to Google it takes twenty-one days to form a habit, so spend at least that much time replacing one activity with another. It could be something simple, although ideally it would have an element of social interaction.
Consistency is key with this, the best way to end a bad habit is to replace it with something else. Someone struggling with an addiction commonly deals with a decline in their physical and mental health along with poor hygiene. Creating a structured environment that encourages healthy habits and activity like exercise can help a person struggling. This will encourage them to want a healthier lifestyle overall and can lead to seeking treatment.
Plan An Intervention
When it gets to the point where a group wants to confront the addicted person it can be helpful to stage an intervention. There’s strength in numbers. Keep in mind there’s a correct way to do an intervention. If not, expect it to backfire quickly. It’s very easy to feel attacked when the people around you throw an intervention and it’s easy to get defensive. Generally the person struggling with substance abuse will be unwilling to accept that they have a disease, however an intervention can be helpful in showing them how much their use has affected the people around them that they care about the most.
Conducting an intervention goes best with an intervention specialist such as an interventionist or a therapist. They let all involved parties the opportunity to say what they need to while being supportive. There has to be a main point of contact who is likely communicating with those involved and scheduling the day. Have a plan when you go into the intervention and one for what will come next. You must have an exit plan. Make an effort to reserve admission at some form of detox prior to staging the intervention.