Imagine this: Allowing a drunk person, much more a family member, to drive is so wrong. So why is turning your back and tolerating the lifestyle and behavior of someone with addiction not addressed or looked upon with the same behavior. After all, ignoring someone’s substance abuse is similar to handing the car keys to someone who is badly intoxicated.
Addiction will always end badly, and often, the family and the community also pay the price. Even the addict himself knows at the back of his mind, at some point, that what he’s doing is hurting others. However, they will not stop unless they are faced with a brick wall. And even that, they will try to smash that brick wall, to their own detriment.
Reality is, people with substance abuse disorder will not just use drugs–they will also use everyone around them just to meet their addiction. They will manipulate, lie, hide, blame, and coerce just to support their habit.
If you are a family member or partner of someone struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), or addiction, then you are clinically called a co-dependent. As a co-dependent, they would find it easier to simply escape their situation–but they don’t, or they can’t. They feel like they are at fault, or are hugely responsible, for what’s happening to their addicted family member. And as long as the co-dependent feels that, the addict will continue to take advantage.
Therefore, it’s not just the addict that needs help. Addiction also changes the family members, creating a dysfunctional atmosphere where the people around the around the addict feels like they’re walking on thin ice. With this, the family can go two ways: one, they either try harder to create balance, or two, they become more accustomed to the dysfunction.
Overtime, this tension and the constant struggle for survival and sanity in the home spills over into other areas of the co-dependent’s life.
What can be done?
Recovery is still possible. It may be difficult, but possible. While the drug abuse has already altered the brain, steps can still be taken to find even just a semblance of health and normality to the person.
The addict may disregard or even struggle against getting treatment for now, but as a co-dependent, you can do something to create a positive and healthy environment, where you can set boundaries in your relationship.
Zero Tolerance For Addiction
These are the zero tolerance points that you can do to deal with a loved one with addiction:
- Let them know that you’re concerned and worried.
- Discuss how the addiction is affecting your loved one and your life.
- Put your foot down by setting an ultimatum.
- Provide options for your loved one.
- Give them time to think about their options. It must be specific and measurable.
- Follow through with your ultimatum.
While addiction is a disease, you have to remember–the decision to start using was still a conscious decision of your loved one. Therefore, you can’t make excuses for your loved one for so long, as this will not help them. What you can do is provide them with the options and lead them to getting the treatment they need.
Are you ready to give help for your loved one struggling with addiction? Call or text us at 09175098826 (Manila) or 09177046659 (Cebu).