Addiction - What to do

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See also - Intervention

1. Don't regard this as a family disgrace. Recovery from an addiction can come about just as with other illnesses.

2. Don't nag, preach or lecture to the addict. Chances are he/she has already told him or herself everything you can tell them. He/she will take just so much and shut out the rest. You may only increase their need to lie or force one to make promises that cannot possibly be kept.

3. Guard against the "holier-than-thou" or martyr-like attitude. It is possible to create this impression without saying a word. An addict's sensitivity is such that he/she judges other people's attitudes toward him/her more by small things than spoken words.

4. Don't use the "if you loved me" appeal. Since the addict is compulsive and cannot be controlled by willpower, this approach only increases guilt. It is like saying, "If you loved me, you would not have tuberculosis."

5. Avoid any threats unless you think it through carefully and definitely intend to carry them out. There may be times, of course, when a specific action is necessary to protect children. Idle threats only make the addict/alcoholic feel you don't mean what you say.

6. Don't hide the drugs/alcohol or dispose of them/it. Usually this only pushes the addict/alcoholic into a state of desperation. In the end he/she will simply find new ways of getting more drugs/liquor.

7. Don't let the addict/alcoholic persuade you to use drugs or drink with him/her on the grounds that it will make him/her use less. It rarely does. Besides, when you condone the using/drinking, he/she puts off doing something to get help.

8. Don't be jealous of the method of recovery the addict/alcoholic chooses. The tendency is to think that love of home and family is enough incentive for seeking recovery. Frequently the motivation of regaining self respect is more compelling for the addict/alcoholic than resumption of family responsibilities. You may feel left out when the addict/alcoholic turns to other people for helping stay sober. You wouldn't be jealous of the doctor of someone needing medical care, would you?

9. Don't expect an immediate 100 percent recovery. In any illness, there is a period of convalescence. There may be relapses and times of tension and resentment.

10. Don't try to protect the recovering person from using/drinking situations. It's one of the quickest ways to push one into relapse. They must learn on their own to say "no" gracefully. If you warn people against serving him/her drinks, you will stir up old feelings of resentment and inadequacy.

11. Don't do for the addict/alcoholic that which he/she can do for him/herself. You cannot take the medicine for him/her. Don't remove the problem before the addict/alcoholic can face it, solve it or suffer the consequences.

12. Do offer love, support and understanding in the recovery.

Clinics, Drug Rehabs etc.

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