It is very frustrating to know that someone needs help and they don’t want the help. Sometimes you just don’t know what to do or how to approach the person. Unfortunately, until that person wants help you can’t force them into treatment. If you try to force them into treatment, they won’t accept help or follow the steps necessary to reach recovery. The best way is for them to want the recovery for themselves.
However, there are things that you can do to help that person in your life. You can encourage that person to get the help they may need, you can learn more about addiction and codependency, you can attend support groups. Most importantly do not blame yourself for the person’s addiction and realize that recovery is an on going process once they decide to take the first steps. It’s not always easy to break free of the addiction.
Learn about addiction
- Addiction is based on denial. Most will be unable to to admit that they can’t stop. You may hear someone with an addiction problem say “I can stop whenever I want” or “I don’t have a problem.”
- What causes a person to become addicted? Many factors come into play. The person may have family history, genetics, and personality traits.
- Some who suffer from addiction may be addicted to more than one thing. It may be gambling, eating, working, shopping to name a few.
- Addiction will progress as the tolerance to the drug of choice is increased and the amount of use will increase.
- Addiction puts a strain on all who share a relationship with that person.
- The most important thing to remember about addiction is that a person can break free of the addiction. Treatment is there for them to get help. Treatment – What is the process?
What is Codependence?
Codependence is when a person develops a dependence on someone who has an addiction. Most people would say I depend on them? That’s not possible, I’m helping them. It’s easy to get so involved with a person and their addiction especially when you love and care about them. However just be aware that some actions will encourage the person’s addiction.
Addiction does put a strain on families and friends and some of the reactions may be:
- Hiding the problem to protect the addicted person.
- Family and friends may try to control the person.
- Family and friends may try to make excuses for the person.
- Children may rebel to draw attention to themselves.
- Family and friends may become withdrawn.
- The tension and uncertainty may cause some family and friends to become depressed, hopeless and helpless.
- Some family and friends may themselves turn to addictive behaviors.
- Most codependents are usually the ones who try to fix or help other people.
So how do you deal with the addicted person and not become so involved that it turns into codependency?
- Give up trying to control the addicted person. This may sound easy but it’s not. Let them deal with the consequences of their actions. When this happens, they may face the reality of their addiction.
- Stop playing the blame game. No one can control what someone else does or the decisions they make.
- Start taking care of yourself! That may mean going to counseling or joining a support group where you can talk to others going through the same thing. There are Al-Anon Meetings for families that suffer from addiction. To find out the locations nearest you visit PA Al-Anon.