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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...
 

LETTING THE ADDICT KNOW HOW YOU FEEL

Many families do not face such stark decisions. If their addict is on cannabis, dependent on prescribed drugs or on alcohol, the illness may be more subtle. On the outside, the addict or alcoholic may be functioning fairly well, keeping down a job and apparently not much harmed by the illness.

The chances are that the illness first shows itself at home, among the family. While in the outside world, the addict or alcoholic seems to behave acceptably; the brunt of his bad behaviour is borne by those he or she lives with. He's a street angel and a home devil.

We have said that nagging, coaxing, threatening and bullying the addict or alcoholic is a waste of time. But that doesn't mean you should stay silent like some suffering Patient Griselda. Far from it. Let the addict or alcoholic know how you feel. Tell him or her clearly and directly when you are upset or hurt or angry.

Shouting or crying or losing your temper will simply mean the message isn't heard. Tell it like it is, in a caring way. Say: T was angry last night when you came back drunk/stoned and smashed up the television set.'

Say how you feel when the addict or the alcoholic can hear it, when he is not stoned or drunk - perhaps the morning after. Say it in a firm but caring voice. And say it just once. When you have said it, carry on with what you were doing. Otherwise you'll be tempted to elaborate, argue or even draw back, start apologising yourself, and end up being manipulated again!

This technique achieves two things:

  1. It confronts the addict or the alcoholic with the consequences of getting stoned or drunk. Remember he may literally not know what he has done - especially if he has been suffering from alcoholic amnesia. This way, you tell him.
  2. It allows you to express your feelings, and shows the addict that you cannot just be used or abused at will.
  3. It stops an argument developing. Addicts and alcoholics are masters at twisting words to suit them. A good argument allows them to put you in the wrong and to ignore the fact that their behaviour started it.

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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...