Friday, May 24, 2013

Help for Addictions

There is a saying "the difference between who you are, and who you want to be, is what you do."   

During this whole journey and process through a loved ones addiction I have learned that people can tell an addict they need to seek help but only the addict can do it.  Parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, spouses, partners, friends, co workers, can help but they cannot stop the person from partaking in their addiction. The person must do it, and must desire to want to stop. And that means being completely clean not substituting another substance or addiction.

What's also been surprising to learn while doing research is the various addictions that exist in our world, they run far beyond just alcohol and drugs. 

Obtaining help is by far one of the hardest things to get anyone with an addiction to do.  Asking an addict to get help is not only exhausting but is usually met with extreme resistance on many levels.  Oh they will come up with every, and I mean every, excuse in the book as to why they do not need help.  And many addicts believe they can overcome it themselves by sheer willpower.  While willpower is very important, there are other equally important aspects to recovery and healing as well. 

Fact is stopping the substance of choice is the first step, but if one doesn't work on the behaviors, habits, lies, lifestyle,friends, etc., that caused one to use and keep using success will be fleeting.  And that is where support and the right programs can be of utmost benefit. Treatment should address more than just substance.  A good counselor trained in behavior or cognitive therapy, combined with family and/or friend support can make all the difference.

Addiction affects ones whole life, including relationships, career, health, and psychological well being. Treatment success depends on developing a new way of living and addressing the reasons why they turned to drugs in the first place, and what behaviors or thoughts contributed to it. A good counselor, combined with family/friend support can make all the difference.

Think about it like this. If you give a starving person some food, you feed them for a day. If you give them tools, and show them how to farm, you feed them for their lifetime.  The same goes for addiction, addicts need tools to help them recover and stay clean

But when trying to get the addict to seek help it can be very challenging, difficult, painful and often times incredibly frustrating.  As from an outsiders perspective it's clear what needs to be done but from the inside perspective of an addict they are in the dark.  Often times not open or even ready to be truly helped.

During the early help stagesdefensiveness and denial can reach epic proportions.  Addicts will defend their excuses until they can no longer even think straight.  They will resort to all sorts of not so nice behavior and actions....those trying to help the addict will have to have thick skin as often times the addict will try to belittle, hurt, anger, and lash out at the very people who are trying to help!  And sometimes it may even mean walking away from the situation until they are ready and willing to accept the help. 

How do you help someone that isn't open or ready to accept help, or for that matter doesn't think they need help or support, that becomes the larger question?

This might be one of the better pieces of information I have read on the very subject.  And so I share it here and would say it's a good place to start for anyone looking to help another with an addiction.  People can change, sometimes they just need a little help to get there.  

 How To Convince An Addict To Get Help  

Many people who struggle with alcohol, drugs or other addictions have a difficult time getting better. There are many reasons why these people do not get the help they need to get better. Many family members who see their loved ones struggle have a very difficult time in getting their loved ones assistance. Here are six suggestions on how to convince a person struggling with alcohol or drugs to get the help they need to get better.

1. Family Intervention
The most popular way to get someone the help they need is to do a family intervention. This is when family members and an interventionist get together with the addict to tell them how they love them and wish that they get help to get better. Each family member takes a turn and tells the person how special they are and that they need to get help. The person who is struggling listens and hopefully they become convinced to get the help they need.

2. Talk To The Person On What Will Happen If They Do Not Get Help
Another way to convince the person who is struggling with alcohol or drugs is to get someone who is an expert on addiction and have them do a one on one talk with this person. This expert on addiction should explain to the addict what will happen if they do not get the help they need to get better. Basically, the expert should warn the person of the dire consequences of what will happen if they do not change their ways. The expert should be vivid as possible and hold nothing back. The goal is to convince the person to get help or they will suffer and eventually their life will slowly come to an end.

3. Use The Services of A Professional Or A Former Addict
Try to find a professional or even a former addict who has “Been There” to talk to the person. This is similar to Step Two, however instead of warning the person, these professionals can use their skills to talk and try to reason with the person. These experts are usually trained and can use a proactive approach into trying to convince the addict to get help. The goal is to try to reason and talk with the person so they can get professional help.

4. Find Out The Reasons Why The Person Won’t Get Help
Many people overlook this suggestion. Ask the person who is struggling with alcohol or drugs to list 3 reasons why they will not get help. At first, they will say all kinds of things, but continue to engage the person and get the 3 main reasons why they refuse to get help. It might take a couple of tries but listen to what they say. Once you get the answers, write them down on a piece of paper. Note: Fear and Frustration are huge factors for the person not getting help.

5. Determine The Solutions To Those Barriers
Once you get those 3 reasons, get a professional or an expert to find the solutions to those issues. For example, the person says that they will not get help because they tried a few times and they failed and that they will fail again. Ask a few addiction professionals to find a solution to this issue that will help the addict overcome this barrier. 

One good answer to this example is the following: “Yes, you tried to get better and failed however this time we will do things differently. We will keep a daily diary of everything you do and you or someone else will document what you do each day. If you stumble or fail you will write down your feelings at the time and why you failed. When you recover from a bad episode you can read your diary and find out what went wrong. Once you know what went wrong you will know why you failed and will find a way to prevent this from happening again.”

Use your list from step three and list every positive thing that will counter those barriers. When you are finished, present this to the person who is struggling and explain what you came up with. This will help reduce the person’s fears and anxieties and may convince them to get help. Developing a plan to counter their reasons of not getting help will go a long way.

6. Talk to the Person Instead of Talking At Them
Nobody wants to be lectured. Be honest with them and tell them that it will require some hard work on their part but that they can get better. If they don't get help, they will suffer. The person who is struggling is scared and they need help in overcoming their fears and resistance to getting help. Remember to find out those fears, address possible solutions to those fears, and you will have a better chance of getting through to that person. Hopefully, sooner or later, you will be able to get through to the person. The key is to be persistent. Be very persistent. Also, it would help to have everybody pray for that person. Involving God in your current situation can sometimes produce unexpected results. 
How to Convince an Addict to Get Help by Stanley Popovich 

Here are links to organizations that can provide help and insight.

Keep in mind these are only a few of the many of anonymous programs that exist.  There is a anonymous organizations for just about every addiction that exists. Including such things as overeating, porn, gambling, shopping and so on.  They can easily be found by doing a google search, or on sites such as

Alcoholics Anonymous –
Narcotics Anonymous –
Gamblers Anonymous –
Debtors Anonymous –
Pills Anonymous –

For Family
Al-Anon/Alateen –
Nar-Anon –

Note: Most important in the help process is for family, friends and loved ones to also take care of themselves.  To be supportive but not enabling.  To seek out counseling or related meetings to find help for themselves in dealing with their loved ones addiction as well.  To do what they need to do to be happy as well.

Live in Present Quotes - This is the beginning of a new day


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