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HOME PATENT MEDICINES AND ANALGESICS: ALCOHOL OTHER DRUGS AND WOMEN AND DRUGS COMING OFF DRUGS: HOW FAMILY AND FRIENDS CAN INTERVENE COMING OFF DRUGS: TELL-TALE SIGNS OF ... COMING OFF DRUGS: HOW THE FAMILY REACTS-SUSANNA'S STORY TRYING TO CONTROL THE ADDICT USING...
 

LET THE ADDICT SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES

Parents can do something that will really help their child come closer to recovery: they can let the addict or the alcoholic suffer the consequences of drug-using or drinking. This is what those who treat addicts call 'intervention' or 'tough love'.

Susanna discovered the secret of this technique just after Ian's first court case. She joined Families Anonymous, the self-help organisation like Narcotics Anonymous, which helps and advises the families and friends of addicts.

'I found this amazing atmosphere and kindness from others who were in the same situation,' she recalls. 'I also found that I had been doing it all wrong. By rushing round London after Ian, I was giving him the feeling that he could use me.'

For several months she saw almost nothing of Ian. She stopped trying to find out where he was living. She began to get on with her own life. She also started taking more notice of her elder son, whom she had almost ignored at the height of her obsession with Ian. He had felt shut out from his mother's love.

Then, one Tuesday, she had a phone call from a London magistrates' court. 'Ian rang me to say he was in trouble again. He'd been shoplifting. He'd got to produce another fine or go to prison.

‘I had to take a deep breath and pause. If I hadn't been to Families Anonymous I'd have been over at that court with my cheque book in my hand. But this time I knew I shouldn't. I felt it was rather like that moment when you take a little boy to school and let him go in the playground for the first time. I said to Ian down the phone: "I'm not going to pay the fine for you."

Ian went to prison. While he was there, Susanna visited him and he told her he wanted to stop using drugs. When he came out, he managed to stay off drugs for two weeks, then got a place in a residential treatment centre. Since then he has stayed clean in Narcotics Anonymous.

Letting Ian experience the consequences of his using was what helped him towards recovery.

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WHAT MAKES AN ADDICT DECIDE TO STOP?

Let's pause here and consider why addicts decide to stop using drugs and get well. Such a decision isn't an easy one for them. Addicts fear withdrawal and they cannot conceive of a life without drugs. So why do they stop taking drugs?

STOP HELPING THE ADDICT STAY ILL...

LET THE ADDICT SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES...

INTERVENING TO MAKE THE ADDICT SEEK HELP...

LETTING THE ADDICT KNOW HOW YOU FEEL...