Guest Post by Carly Fierro, who is a young freelance writer whose life has been touched by substance abuse. She is extremely interested in health and self-growth and writes about these issues whenever she can.
During my undergraduate years, my roommate became addicted to cocaine. I’d never dealt with addiction before and had no idea what the signs were. However, knowing when someone has an addiction problem is actually a pretty innate instinct. If you suspect someone close to you may be an addict, you’re probably right.
The warning signs are usually the same for drug addicts. They get lazy and leave their paraphernalia around, such as straight razors and flat surfaces like mirrors or cooking spoons. They sleep all day and their personality shifts drastically, sometimes seemingly overnight. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you think someone may be an addict.
<strong>You Can’t Force Help on Them</strong>
If someone is an adult, you can’t force them into rehab. They’ll need to want help on their own, and it’s true that most people need to hit rock bottom before they even think of getting help. It’s scary and intimidating to broach the subject with someone you love about their addiction. Expect denial, not a breakthrough, and understand that you’re simply opening the door for a discussion.
If you’re enabling the person, the hardest thing for you to do is stop. Many people fall into the trap of giving an addict a (free) place to stay, and of course a means to continue their destructive path. They think it’s better than putting them on the street where they might start using dirty needles and resort to dangerous activities, like prostitution, to get their fix money. Realize that if you enable them, you’re both hurting them and putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
<strong>What You Can Do</strong>
Tough love is the key to keeping yourself safe, which means stepping back and letting them hit rock bottom. This isn’t easy. It’s not like when you buy ecigs online, and the process is straightforward and simple. They are an adult, even if they are an addict, and you can’t control their behavior.
If possible, keep in contact with them and let them know you love them and are there to help them no matter what. Of course, this doesn’t include giving them money or a place to stay. Let them know you worry, and remind them of how their choices are impacting the people they love. There’s not much you can do beyond that.
<strong>When it’s Time for Rehab </strong>
If they’re ready to get help, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options for rehab. Not all facilities are created equal, and the right one has an ongoing support network. Ask for the credentials of the director and the staff. Understand exactly how long the program is and what safety nets are in place for slips.
Tour the facility before committing to anything. Know when visiting hours are, the success rate of the facility and what type of counseling is offered. You might want to rush into the first opening you find, but that might be a mistake. Do your research, talk to the staff in person, and make sure it’s the right fit.