Drug Abuse and Dependence - For Family and Friends
If someone you care about has had a drug problem, you know how hard it
can be. You know how living or dealing with someone who has a drug problem can
change and even destroy your life. But family members and friends can play an important role in helping a loved one recover from drug use and addiction.
hard to get someone who uses drugs into treatment if he or she doesn't want it.
You may be able to
help the person get treatment by:
- No longer making excuses, such as
covering up for missed work or missed activities with children. Don't lie or
stretch the truth to help the person.
- Finding a good time to talk
to the person. Say clearly how the person's drug use is harming you and that
you will take action if he or she doesn't seek help.
- Being ready and able to help when a decision is
made to get treatment.
Help with treatment and recovery
After the choice for treatment
has been made:
- Make sure the home contains no drugs or items
that help people use drugs.
- Be involved and
patient. Attend recovery meetings with your loved one, and be supportive. Know
that it may take a long time for you to trust and forgive the person and for
the person to forgive himself or herself.
- Be aware that your loved
one may seem like a different person after he or she is drug-free. You may need to build a new
- Understand that you have the right to know how
recovery is going, but you should ask about it in a respectful way.
- Help your loved one plan for a relapse. Most people
relapse after treatment. This doesn't mean that the treatment failed. Try to help
your loved one see relapse as a chance to do better and keep working on skills
to avoid drug use.
- Focus on the positive actions your loved one is
Prepare for complex emotions
probably will feel relief and happiness when the person decides to get help.
But treatment and recovery mean changes in your life too. Your emotions may
become more complicated. You may:
- Resent what the person did to you in the
- Not trust the person. You may not want to give the person the
house key, the car key, or money. You also may feel guilty about not trusting
- Find it hard to give up or share your family role. For
example, if you took over raising your child or children when your partner was using drugs, you
may resent him or her becoming involved again.
- Resent that the person is spending more time at meetings or
with others in recovery than with you.
- Worry so much about relapse
that you avoid anything you feel may upset the person.
These feelings are common. You've been through a bad
period of your life, and what happened isn't easy to forget. Nor is it easy to
forgive the person. Keep in mind that recovery is the road to a better life
and that you can help your loved one get there.
Find your own
support. Nar-Anon and similar programs are for people with family members or
friends who have drug problems. They help you recover from the effects of being
around someone who was addicted. You also may try