Helping a friend with an addition problem is not always as easy as they make it out to be on TV. Never make the mistake of assuming that the drug or alcohol problem will be obvious or that your friend or loved one will simply come forward on their own and ask for help. Many people, especially men, are prideful and admitting that they have allowed a substance to take over their lives can be difficult.
This is also why, when the time comes, you will want to encourage your loved one to find a place that offers rehab for men specifically, such as Hotel California By The Sea.
Become A Spy
While you are not actually going to dress in all black and ninja your way through their dresser drawers are night, you do need to become a spy of sorts.
Some of the things that you will want to watch for include:
- Trips to stores lasting longer than they should
- New friendships that are kept from you
- Missing money
- Increased irritability
- Sudden weight loss
- Decreased need for sleep
- Random objects in strange places
While some of these things could happen at random and to anyone, even if they are not dealing with an addiction, the more of those things you are noticing, the more likely it is that there is a serious problem.
Missing money, new friendships, and trips to the store lasting longer than they should, could simply be an indication that he needs some additional space.If none of that has been an issue, the idea of introducing you to his new friends causes an argument, and the missing money is never accompanied by actual items purchased, there could be a substance abuse problem.
Things such as increased irritability, change in sleep habits, and a sudden drop in weight could be symptoms of depression. Then again, it could be the drugs. Actually, it could be both because, as explained on WebMD, many substances that are abused, such as alcohol, are actually depressants.
Keep an eye out for random objects that are not where they should be as an indication of the current status of the drug use. For example – spoons from the kitchen that are hidden in a drawer in the bathroom can be a sign of current heroin use.
What You Can Do
The steps you take from this moment on are crucial to helping him succeed. You don’t want to push him further away from you and tighter into the grips of substance abuse.
- Help him find new habits
- Understand that breaking old habits is hard to do
- Never play the blame game
- Suggest going to substance abuse meetings together
- Remind him the problem is the disease – not him
- Remember that relapse is natural and not a sign of failure
You want to think of a substance abuse habit as something that is much harder to break than any bad habit you yourself have ever tried to get rid of. Did you think cutting back on your coffee consumption was bad? Try going from daily heroin use to never doing it again. It’s rough. It also takes time and for most people – a lot of trial and error.
Together, you both have to remember that this is a disease that affects not just the body, but the mind as well.
As the National Institute on Drug Abuse points out, it can be extremely hard for an addict to simply stop his actions, even when he intellectually knows that it can harm him…even kill him. Hopefully, with this information in mind, you are going to be better prepared to help the addict in your life.