Drug addiction is not a lifestyle choice. The decision to use drugs is usually voluntary in the beginning, but once drug use has moved through drug abuse and into addiction, the drug addict has suffered significant changes in several aspects of their physical body and emotional health. One of the most profound changes that occurs when a person has become addicted to drugs happens in the brain. The human brain is responsible for voluntary and involuntary actions. The brain makes us who we are, and when the chemicals found in illicit and prescription drugs interfere with how the brain works, we can become someone we don’t recognize.
Drug addicts are driven by the need to use more drugs. When someone or something stands in the way of using those drugs, the addicted individual can become violent or simply stubborn. Understanding how to deal with a stubborn addict in your life can help you as you strive to help them.
In order to achieve the singular goal to obtain and use more drugs, many addicts will lie, tell half-truths, steal and neglect the people closest to them. When this happens, simply understanding that the drug addict has little control over his or her addiction can help ease tensions for family members and friends. It’s oftentimes more than a case of someone simply being stubborn; that person is deeply bound by his or her addiction and can’t see the truth in the situation.
This in no way excuses the behavior. There are many resources available to help someone suffering from addiction to treat his or her disease. If he or she chooses not to, it is up to the family to set boundaries and live up to them. For instance:
- Do not make excuses for an addict’s behavior.
- Be patient, but do not enable the addictive behavior.
- Involve the authorities when necessary to protect the innocent.
Tough Love Is Hard
Helping an individual recover from the torment of drug addiction is a difficult endeavor. The addict may call upon friends and family to “help” him on a regular basis; he needs money, a place to stay, or someone to babysit his children so he can have a few hours of free time to relax. On the surface, these activities seem like helpful ways to make the lives of the addicted run a little more smoothly. Unfortunately, each time people “help” the addict in this manner, they are essentially enabling the addictive behaviors by helping the addict use drugs.
Rather than helping the addict on the surface, it is more effective to help her realize she needs to seek treatment at a recovery center specifically for her addiction. When an addict asks for money, tell her that you will be willing to help her when she seeks treatment. If she asks for a place to stay, place the condition of daily outpatient treatment on her if she wishes to reside in your home.
If the addict in your life has children who are being neglected because of drug use, call the authorities and ask that they investigate the children’s well-being.
Explain Your Position Without Laying Blame
An individual who suffers from addiction often experiences guilt on a regular basis. Deep down, he may already knows the mistakes in the choices he has made. This can make an addict incredibly defensive when he is confronted with his behavior. Rather than using blanket statements to describe behavior, try to speak from a point of view that lays little or no blame at his feet. For instance, consider the following tips:
- Do not tell an addict that he “always” falls short of their responsibilities.
- Do not tell an addict that he has a choice to use drugs or not use drugs.
- Do not tell an addict he is a bad person or a bad parent.
Instead try to use alternative statements:
- Tell an addict that his disease has made him unreliable in specific circumstances.
- Tell an addict that he has a choice to seek treatment for his illness.
- Tell an addict that the disease is interfering with his ability to parent his children or make real social connections with others.
Drug addiction is a treatable disease. No matter how stubborn the addict in your life may be, it is always worth the struggle to help him find his way back. Stubborn addicts can often benefit from an intervention. When he sees how many people are affected by his addiction, he may be more willing to seek treatment.