Substance abuse doesn't just affect the abuser. It affects the entire family. In fact, substance abuse affects everyone that is in the abuser's circle, including friends and co-workers. If you have someone in your life who's abusing drugs or alcohol, you want to help them. If you've tried everything to help your loved one, don't give up. Here are three things you need to know about substance abuse and how it affects your loved one.
A Different Reality
If you have a loved one who is suffering from substance abuse, they're going to need your help to overcome the addiction. Unfortunately, they might not want your help. In fact, they might not even think they need your help. Substance abuse often creates a false reality for the addict.
In this false reality, the addict may think that everything is fine with their life. For instance, it's not uncommon for an addict to have a near-death experience with drugs and then go right back to abusing once they leave the hospital. That's because the drugs provide them with a way to escape into a different reality – a reality where they don't have a problem, everyone else does. Often it takes legal problems, a loss of financial assistance, or a failed relationship to bring the addict out of their false reality.
There is a Root Cause
Every person who has a substance abuse problem has a root cause for the addiction. Stress, health problems, personal problems and financial problems can all lead to a cycle of substance abuse. It's also important to note that substance abuse is often a way to deal with the pain of past experiences such as childhood abuse, or the loss of a loved one. Once you identify the root cause for your loved one's addictions, you can help them understand why they need help overcoming the problem.
The Key to Intervention
Interventions are often the last ditch effort when it comes to getting help for a loved one with a substance abuse problem. When planning the intervention, it's important to understand the purpose, which is to bring them face-to-face with the problems they have and to make them realize that they need help.
The key to a successful intervention is knowing who to include in the meeting. The person in charge of the intervention should be someone that your loved one respects. That person should lead the intervention. Once you have that person chosen, you should invite as many family members as you can find. These should be the people who will intervene without becoming verbally abusive or controlling. Your loved one needs to feel safe and secure during the intervention.
If your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, you need to step in. The information provided above will help you understand what your loved one is going through and how you can help. Be sure to speak to a substance abuse counselor for other suggestions on how to help your loved one get the substance abuse treatment they need.