Advice for Family of Drug Addicts
Cocaine abuse affects more than just the person who is addicted. The suffering and pain associated with cocaine addiction is far reaching and often includes family and friends. Being aware of, or living with, a cocaine addict in the family can cause problems between family members. Loved ones find themselves torn between making attempts to help the addict by allowing them to continue cocaine use, and wanting to take the basic steps so that they can get help.
The term ‘tough love’ is often necessary for family members of a cocaine addict. Families must be committed to seeking help for the addict when the addict cannot do it on their own. Cocaine addicts do not just give up their addiction simply because they see that their family is suffering. Most of the time the addict will choose to ignore the impact that their addiction is having on their loved ones.
Families with a cocaine addict must have diligence in order to help. The first step is to tell the addict that you are aware of their drug problem. Addicts tend to believe that their families are not aware of the problem and that they are successful in hiding their addiction, even if they are not. Make it clear that you have a zero tolerance policy for drugs in the home (hence the ‘tough love’), and that you will get rid of any drugs that you find.
It is also good to let the addict know that you can take them to rehab and are ready to be with them throughout the recovery process. Try to stay positive, but do not give into excuses or drug use of any kind. Intervention can be necessary in some cases. After all, families with a cocaine addict often reach a point where they know that they have to do whatever it takes to help. It could end up saving someone’s life.
Addicts that have some form of intervention actually tend to get help much quicker than those who do not. Family members must be able to separate the love they have for the individual and the hate that they have for cocaine. Cocaine addiction causes many health problems and can ultimately lead to death. It can be helpful to talk to a qualified counsellor because they are able to give you the best advice on how to handle your situation.
How Can You Tell If Someone You Love Is Abusing Cocaine?
There are several physical and behavioural signs that can help you identify if someone you love is abusing cocaine.
Long-term cocaine users will start to exhibit changes in the long run, when they start to prioritise cocaine over other responsibilities. Money troubles, periods of time where you do not know where they are, being secretive, lying, neglecting responsibilities and displaying dramatic mood swings are some of the indications of long-term addiction.
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How to Help a Drug Addict
If you start to suspect that a loved one is using cocaine, begin reading about the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction. Monitor their behaviour and speak with other family members about your concerns. When you are ready, approach the person by letting them know that you know that they are using cocaine and that you are worried about their wellbeing.
Let them know that you are there to help them overcome their addiction. It is better to speak up as soon as you are aware of the problem, instead of letting them continue on a dangerous downward spiral. It can help to give specific examples regarding how you know that they use, and are addicted to, cocaine because users find it easier to deny use than to take responsibility.
Do your best to refrain from intimation and threats. At the end of the day, the person in question has to make the decision to cease cocaine use. If you try to control the situation with negativity, things might actually get worse.
Then make an appointment with a qualified drug counsellor so that they can begin to get help as soon as possible. Even if you want to handle it on your own, you must understand that cocaine addiction requires serious professional help.
Lastly, do not blame yourself. Self-blame will not help anyone and your addicted family member will need your support and encouragement throughout the process. You are not in control of the situation, and as long as you are taking the best steps that you can, you are already helping them. Let the person take responsibility for his or her own decisions and behaviour.
How to Stage a Cocaine Addiction Intervention
Staging an intervention can be one of the best things you could ever do to help a cocaine addict get better. Serious cocaine addicts tend to be in denial about their addiction. If you have already attempted one-on-one discussions and various efforts to help them, you can team up with other family members, friends and a professional interventionist to make the person face the truth and come up with a plan of action.
There are a few steps to an intervention:
- 1.Come up with a plan – Propose an intervention and form a group. It is ideal to speak with an experienced counsellor or interventionist to make sure you have a successful intervention. Interventions tend to be quite emotional situations that can results in feelings of betrayal or anger.
- 2.Collect information – Group members can start to find out how bad the situation is and spend time researching the condition and treatment options. The group may start to make arrangements to register the person into a treatment programme.
- 3.Create an intervention team – The planning group makes up the intervention team that will take part in the intervention. Set a location, date and time and begin working on a plan, such as who will speak, what they will say and so on. Try to keep the intervention quiet from the addict until the actual event.
- 4.Determine consequences – You have to be prepared for the person to deny treatment and determine how team members will respond. For example, they will have to move out of the house if cocaine use continues.
- 5.Think about what you are going to say – Every member of the team should describe incidents where the cocaine addiction caused difficulties, such as money issues. Talk about the effects of their behavior whilst still showing that you care and that you believe they can change for the better. For example, start sentences with ‘I felt hurt when you used cocaine and…’
- 6.The actual intervention – Ask the person to meet you at the intervention site, without giving the actual reason. Once they arrive, members of the team will each take their turn voicing their feelings and concerns. The addict is told about a treatment option and asked to agree right away. Everyone will then say what changes will occur if the person does not agree, which is why it is important to create consequences that are feasible.
- 7.Follow up – Having family members or loved ones involved is vital to helping a person stay in addiction treatment and refrain from relapsing. Ways of doing this include offering to come with them to counselling, getting your own therapist, changing daily lifestyle patterns that could be associated with drug use and being aware of what you should do if relapse happens.
An effective intervention has to be carefully planned in order to work. A badly planned intervention can actually make things worse and cause the person to feel as though they have been attacked, which can cause them to withdraw from the group and resist treatment in the future.
Contact us today to find out how you can help your loved one overcome their addiction.