There are few diseases that are as pervasive and insidious as addiction. When someone is addicted to drugs, every single portion of his or her life is affected. The lives of those around him are her are also impacted in several ways. As long as a drug addiction is active, there is no evading the damage and destruction that it has the potential to cause.
One of the most difficult things that you can experience in your life is having a loved one who is addicted to drugs. If you think that someone close to you is struggling with drug addiction, you are probably running a gamut of emotions. You might know that your loved one is unequivocally addicted to drugs, or you might still question just how serious his or her drug use is. Whether you are rooted in certainty or not, when a loved one is abusing drugs, you struggle, too.
You may feel like there is little, if anything, that you can do when going through this experience. However, that could not be farther from the truth. One of the most important things you can do first is to ask the right questions — both to yourself and your loved one.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Addiction has the power to make you feel like you are losing your mind. Ask anyone who has experienced it. Sometimes, when something so serious hits so close to home, you can lose all sense of judgment and direction. However, during this time you can ask yourself questions that can help provide clarity.
What symptoms have I seen?
Think about what actions, changes, and behaviors that you have seen in your loved one that have caused you to think that he or she might be addicted to drugs. There may be one specific occurrence or a string of subtle questionable behaviors that has alerted you to the possibility of drug addiction. If you think your loved one is addicted to drugs, look for the following symptoms:
- Changes in mood — Is my loved one more agitated, irritable, or aggressive? Is he or she having mood swings?
- Problems at work or school — Is my loved one taking several sick days? Is he or she missing deadlines/not completing homework assignments? Has my loved suffered consequences at work/school due to behavioral issues?
- Different spending habits — Is my loved one spending more money than usual? Is he or she asking for money from myself or others? Is money disappearing?
- Health problems — Is my loved one having new health problems? Are existing health problems becoming worse? Consider physical and psychological health when asking yourself this question.
Are drugs interfering with my loved one’s life?
A common sign that a drug addiction is occurring is when drugs begin interfering within a user’s life. So, ask yourself — are drugs interfering with my loved one’s life? Examples of this include:
- Neglecting responsibilities at home
- No longer participating in previously enjoyed activities
- Not showing up to work/school/appointments because he/she is catching up on sleep lost or tending to other personal issues related to the previous days’ drug use
- Experiencing trouble with the law, such as getting an OUI, being arrested for disorderly conduct, etc.
Do I know why my loved one is using drugs?
The origin of your loved one’s use might be well-known and obvious. For example, you know that your loved one is abusing painkillers because he/she got hooked on them following a surgical procedure. Or, your loved one is a veteran and uses to mask the symptoms of PTSD. But you also may not know why he/she is using at all. Consider the possible underlying causes of his/her drug use to help determine the severity of the addiction.
How can I talk about my concerns with my loved one?
Not all drug users are going to run away the second that someone mentions something about drug addiction. Do not let your fear of your loved one walking away deter you from talking about your concerns for him/her. Find a time to talk to your loved one and express your concerns in a non-judgmental, compassionate manner. Be honest but kind, and remember that your loved one is not the enemy and neither are you.
How can I help?
You have the power to make a difference in your loved one’s life. So, start finding ways to help. You can call a local treatment center for advice, speak to a therapist, or even go to an Al-Anon meeting in your community. Helping yourself helps your loved one. Additionally, you can help in the following ways:
- Do not make excuses for your loved one
- Do not provide him/her with money
- Do not participate in any action that enables your loved one to keep using
- Consider involving mutual loved ones to get him/her to accept treatment
Questions to Ask Your Loved One
When you talk with your loved one, it is so important that you are not aggressive, brash, or judgmental. If you approach him/her in that manner, you can expect defensiveness and potentially scare him/her away. Be compassionate, understanding, and kind, even if you are feeling resentful, angry, and overwhelmed. The goal is to help affect change, not cause an argument. Ask questions that can help your loved one get closer to considering treatment and understanding your concerns.
Some questions to ask your loved one include:
“Do you know the people who love you are concerned about your wellbeing?”
Inform your loved one that you and others are worried about him/her because of the drug abuse. Frame this question and the discussion to follow in a way that highlights how many people love and care for him/her. Coming from a place of compassion instead of disdain allows for a more open line of communication.
“Have you noticed yourself struggling?”
Put the ball in your loved one’s court. Ask him/her what he/she thinks about the drug abuse. Asking this question can you determine how aware your loved one is of his/her drug use. That information can indicate what level of intervention you may need to take in order to get him/her to accept treatment.
“Have you tried to stop?”
Don’t just assume that since your loved one is still using that he/she has never made any attempt to stop. Many people addicted to drugs make several attempts to stop using but are unsuccessful. Asking this question can bring you closer together, allowing the opportunity for you to support him/her if he/she decides to try to get sober.
“Have you thought about getting help?”
Same as with asking if your loved one has tried to stop using, asking him/her if he/she has considered treatment shows him/her that you are respectful of the situation. Regardless of the answer, let your loved one know that he/she can rely on you for support and encouragement from the very beginning to the end.
“How can I help you?”
Sometimes, all it takes is asking your loved one what you can do for him/her to break down their walls. Many people with drug addiction feel that no one will be there to help or support them if they admit they have a problem. By eliminating that possibility, your loved one may be more willing to let you help him/her.
Do You or a Loved One Need Help? Call Emerald Coast Right Now.
If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs, call us today. At Emerald Coast, we can help make active addiction a thing of the past.
A bright future is ahead. Call us today and get the help you deserve.