Drug abuse and addiction can be highly emotional problems, not only for the individual himself but for his family members as well. It is not uncommon for family members to feel surprise and disbelief when they learn that a loved one is on drugs, anger toward their loved one when they refuse to put an end to their drug use despite the damaging effects it is causing for self and others, and hopelessness when their attempts to help their loved one result in no change at all. Fortunately, there is a way that one can go about talking to a family member who is on drugs so that such an encounter is most likely to result in some success.
One of the most critical parts to having a successful conversation with a family member who is on drugs is to understand the effects caused by these drug substances. Many individuals are under the mistaken impression that an individual who is addicted to drug substances must be choosing to continue taking these drug substances. In actual fact, many drug addicts know that drugs are harming their life and they desire to be free from them, but are unable to quit on their own. They turned to these drugs initially as a way to escape, to get relief from pain, anxiety or depression, or for some other important reason, and while drugs may not be a good long-term solution they have nonetheless become a sort of friend to the individual. Anyone who is asking them to part with drugs must understand this relationship in order to better communicate with them about it.
Once an individual understands the basics of addiction, they must also understand the basics of withdrawal and recovery. The initial choice to end one’s drug use can seem quite simple, but the journey to full and lasting recovery can be long and difficult. Withdrawal symptoms, especially from certain drug substances like alcohol and opioids, can be incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous. An individual should always have professional medical supervision during the withdrawal process, and should receive the help and support necessary to make it all the way through this process and onto the path of full recovery.
Talking to an Addicted Family Member
Talking to an addicted family member should always be done with the intention of helping them to make the connection between their drug use and the difficulties they are encountering in their life. This means one’s communication should be free from judgment and criticism, and directed more at supporting the individual in the choice to step onto the path of recovery. Expressing curiosity about their drug use so as to determine what problem they are seeking to solve through drug use and explaining one’s own feelings about the situation can allow more open and honest communication wherein the individual recognizes the effects his drug use is causing. One can even ask the drug addicted loved one if they have ever considered quitting their drug use, and they may be rewarded with an honest answer that their loved one desperately wishes to be sober but simply hasn’t figured out how to achieve it on their own.
It can help an individual reach out for rehabilitation treatment if they admit those things they dislike about their drug use, such as how it affects their ability to function in life or absorbs every waking thought. Once they have done this, you can ask them if they are willing to enter into treatment, and then present them with treatment options you have already researched.
In the event that a loved one refuses to even discuss their drug use, let alone get help for their drug use, an intervention may be necessary. Interventions can be quite successful when properly planned and carried out, and it is highly recommended that a professional interventionist be consulted to assist with this process. Regardless of the path one chooses, however, it should always be made very clear that one’s intention is to help and support their loved one in taking back control of their life.