Helping or hurting? How to be there for an addict
The families of drug addicts inevitably end up in the difficult position of deciding whether to help their addicted loved one, or to cut them off from support. The disease of addiction infiltrates the brain with manipulative tactics – anything necessary to get high. Unfortunately, spouses, parents and siblings are the most common targets for this manipulation.
When an addict’s life starts spinning out of control as a result of drug abuse, it is very tempting for the ones who love them to pick up the pieces. The problem is, giving help to addicts can actually hurt them. The small catastrophes that occur when drugs start to make a person’s life unmanageable are warning signs. When family members clean up these messy situations, the warnings lose their impact.
Though it can be incredibly painful to set limits with spouses or children that result in them leaving the home or losing financial support, these limits can save their lives. Only when the crutches are pulled away does an addict realize that he or she has lost the ability to stand. At this point, and only at this point, the addict will realize that the game is up; that everything needs to change.