There are many signs to watch for that may mean your loved one has a drug addiction. They include dishonesty, stealing, acting impaired when not drinking, pupils look like pinpoints, difficulty waking up, and regular household items in unusual places. For example, if your loved one is injecting heroin, they are likely bending spoons and using them to prepare their drugs for injection. You may find spoons in their bedroom, vehicle, or other personal items. If your loved one is snorting drugs, you may notice pieces of metal used to grind up the pills they are snorting.
While you may want to “save” your loved one, you can’t do that. When someone is struggling with an addiction, they must take action to save themselves. However, there are things you can do to help.
1. Only help when they ask.
You may want to take over the situation and force them into detox or treatment. However, if they are not ready and willing to treat their addiction, you won’t be helping them. Taking over means you are trying to control them, which will only lead to pain and frustration. If your loved one comes to you and asks for help getting into a drug rehab centre like the Canadian Centre for Addiction, then they may be honestly ready and don’t know what to do. You may also want to consider that sometimes going to a treatment centre that is far from home can help them separate from the things at home that are enabling their usage.
2. Don’t bail them out of trouble.
If your loved one gets in trouble at work or with the law, you have to resist the urge to bail them out of trouble. If they are not forced to face the consequences of their actions, they will continue acting the way they do. People suffering from addiction seek help when they see no other options, and they are genuinely sick and tired of the way they are living. If they get in legal trouble, you can use an online service like Go Look Up to find their criminal and arrest records. Getting the record will let you know what actually happened, so you know if your loved one is being honest about how they got in trouble.
3. Don’t make it easy for them to use.
Throwing your loved one out of your home or refusing to give them money when they say they are starving may seem like the most heartless thing you can do. After all, you don’t want them to be homeless or hungry, and you want to be there if they are sick or hurt. However, as long as you are providing the individual with everything they need to survive, they will not get uncomfortable enough to want to stop.
You may have heard the term “hitting bottom.” This term means the individual has reached a point where they cannot deal with their situation any longer, and they seek help out of desperation, not knowing what else to do. For many, this may mean losing their job, lack of transportation, no money, or no place to live. However, hitting the bottom may look different for different people.
When you prevent your loved one from hitting bottom because you think you are helping them, you are actually enabling their behavior. You are making it easier for them to keep using. When you stop helping and bailing them out, you will be faced with anger and hostility. It would be best if you were ready for that.
There are a variety of support group meetings for the loved ones of people with addictions that can help you navigate the uncomfortable and unpredictable situations you may encounter. Regardless of who the loved one is in your life or what substance they are abusing, there are support groups and resources that will help you maintain sanity and make healthy decisions.