WHEN a loved one is addicted, unfortunately, one’s usual patterns of thinking and behaving may not succeed in helping that person achieve sobriety. Dealing with a person’s addiction requires a different attitude that does not come naturally to many people. Addicted persons take advantage of this to manipulate family members so they can continue drug use without interference.
The tragedy is that when the drug abuse and manipulation continue for years, the family may have no resources left with which to save the addicted person’s life. It’s very common for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to be spent cleaning up the problems that result from addiction.
To prevent this tragedy from occurring, here are some rules you must never break when someone you care about is addicted to drugs like alcohol, crack or powder cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, or opiates like heroin or crystal meth and or prescribed medication.
Naïveté — the quality of being too innocent and trusting — is a fatal flaw when it comes to addiction.
The only safe action when dealing with possible drug abuse or addiction is to eliminate naïveté entirely, no matter how much it hurts. A naïve person is too willing to believe that a loved one is telling the truth, even when the evidence strongly suggests otherwise. Families get caught up in this trap because the loved one was always able to be trusted before. When the effects of alcoholism, drug abuse or addiction begin to show their faces, and until a person completes a rehab programme that really gets through to him, all bets are off. Being naïve about alcohol or drug abuse can be — and too often is — a fatal mistake.
How to do it wrong: a high school student’s grades fall. He drops out of a number of clubs or activities. His friends change. When his parents question him, he claims that he was tired of those activities and his teachers are picking on him. He’s always been so trustworthy that the family buys these stories and leaves him alone till much later when the damage is much harder to repair.
How to do it right: parents question him about the changes. They refuse to be naïve about this matter because they know that these signs commonly mean drug abuse. They talk to teachers and some of the former friends. They hear about more symptoms that might mean drug use. They escort their son to the family doctor and ask for a drug test. The positive drug test gives them real evidence that lets them know that further action is needed.
To be continued..
For help and more information contact +263772399734 or email [email protected]
– Mthandazo Ndlovu is a Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation Specialist, Accredited Addictions Counsellor, Adolescent Counsellor and Certified Professional Counsellor.