Dr. Tian Dayton of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) offers insight on…
5 Things Family Members Get Terribly Wrong About Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is a complex and progressive condition that can be extremely difficult to grasp. It affects people from all walks of life and develops from a complex relationship between one’s family history, biological factors and social and economic environment. When a family member struggles with a drug addiction, it throws the family unit into dysfunction and disarray. Finding ways to help an addicted loved one can cause resentment, anger and enabling behaviors that can make the situation worse over time.
In order to truly help an addictive loved one, you need to understand common myths that surround drug addiction in families. This article outlines five things family members get wrong about drug addiction.
You Must Rescue Your Loved One
As human beings, it is within our deepest nature to help the ones we love no matter the situation. If a family member is losing their battle with addiction, you and your family want to do everything in your power to help heal and restore them. As much as you care about your loved one and you want to do everything to shield them from pain, they need to understand the consequences of their addictive behavior.
In many cases, family members will engage in enabling behaviors such as paying rent, getting groceries or bailing them out of jail or legal trouble. While these acts are done with the best intentions, removing the consequences of one’s addiction will not provide the motivation to get help. In fact, removing consequences from the addict will allow them to continue using substances. You don’t have to rescue your loved one. You can provide support if they are truly ready to receive help, but they need to do to experience the aftermath of their behavior.
You Can Fix the Addict
Another thing that families get wrong about addiction is they can completely fix their young one. In addition to enabling behaviors, families will change their entire routine and abandon their own needs in order to help their addictive loved one. The truth is the only person that can fix the addict is the addict him or herself. If a family member is addicted to drug and alcohol, they alone must make the decision to stop. By recognizing they need help and by getting that help, they can truly heal and you as a family can also heal.
You Can Force People to Accept Your Addicted Loved One
Another misconception families get wrong about addiction is that others will be as accepted as you are about their condition. While this is a great thought, is may be misguided. The simple truth is that you cannot force other people to accept your addicted loved one. Some people—even your closest relatives—may have been so hurt by the addict’s manipulative behavior, abuse and lies they don’t want any part of the addict.
Additionally, there are some family members that don’t wish to be dragged into the mess the addict has got himself or herself into. If the addict has wronged them, it’s their right to be cautious or skeptical. While it may be painful and seem callous, you must respect their feelings.
My Loved One Will Never Have Legal Trouble
In many cases, drug addiction starts out as simple (and even innocent) experimentation. For many people, they simply want to know what a drug does to them and how it makes them feel. However, it can quickly spiral out of control to the point where they need the drug to simply function and survive. Sadly, there may be instances where a loved one’s substance abuse can land them in legal hot water.
As already discussed, you and your family want to protect your loved one and you may want to pay for their bail, hiring the best lawyer to make excuses for their legal troubles. While understandable, it is the wrong thing to do. While it will hurt, you must allow them to feel the brunt of consequences. If a loved one has to spend a few nights in jail or have to pay fines as a result of their actions, they will need to do so. Feeling those consequences may be the spark that
You Can Wait Until Your Loved One Hits “Rock Bottom”
There is a common misconception that the addict will only seek help when they reach rock bottom. For many people, the rock bottom represents the lowest of the low where the addict will finally see the damage their addiction has caused them and the ones they love. Unfortunately, the notion of rock bottom is a myth.
The addict may experience life-threatening mental or physical illnesses long before they reach the bottom. Worse yet, a loved one can die before they reach any kind of bottom. If there’s a time to take them into the right rehab, it is now.
Wesley is talking about his journey at the treatment center in Hawaii
Call Hawaii Island Recovery Today
Hawaii Island Recovery is a place where recovering addicts nurture their motivation to quit drugs and move on to a brighter, more peaceful and successful life without drugs. Most people come here with little to zero motivation to change but they end up getting sober for good and staying in the treatment facility to inspire others with their recovery. It’s not wrong to care so much for an addict in your family; it’s a natural instinct. But you will do a better job if you can send them to a facility that will look after their best interest, help them face their issues and teach them positive coping skills and stress-reduction techniques. We do it here and we offer more treatment options. Plus, you enjoy the perks of staying in a paradise island and swimming with wild dolphins at Hawaii Island Recovery.