The addict that does not want help
At one stage or another in many of our lives’ we have probably come across that one person that’s very dear to us. That one person that we have decided deserves a fighting chance.
We all know at least one person that suffers from the disease of addiction. That person may be a very close friend, a family member, a co-worker.
WE MAY BE COMPLETELY CONVINCED THAT THIS PERSON SUFFERES FROM THE DISEASE OF ADDICTION.
You started noticing a change in behaviour. They may have been very family orientated at one stage, but they suddenly started becoming very distant. Ignoring calls from family members, declining invitations to family gatherings. New excuses, different days.
Items may suddenly start disappearing and they would get incredibly defensive when you ask them about it. There’s a certain inconsistency in their behaviour. Their stories just might not add up anymore and you feel that you just cannot trust them anymore.
Once their change in behaviour starts becoming more and more obvious, they go on the defensive and start blaming their behaviour on everything and everyone else. Clearly holding onto deep and dark anger, they continue down this path. You may even have heard stories from other people convinced that they may have a problem.
You then try doing everything in our power to help the addict. Suddenly emergency family interventions are called for to discuss how we can help the potential addict. We try talking to the addict; we tell them that we suspect they may have a problem and start begging to help them. Some may even go as far as trying to phone the police in hopes that they would get locked up and learn their lessons.
Parents in tears, often casting blame on themselves for the course their child’s life has taken. “Where did I go wrong?” “If only I been a better mother, this would never have happened!”
After trying everything in your power to help the addict, you eventually give up. You then think that all your attempts were in vain and we start developing strong dislike and anger towards the addict. You may find the addict to be very ungrateful and undeserving of love. After all these attempts, it was simply thrown in your face.
Here’s the problem: YOU ARE CONVINCED THAT THEY ARE AN ADDICT. THEY ARE NOT.
Let’s briefly discuss the concept or disease of addiction:
Addiction is seen as a chronic disease, much like high blood pressure or diabetes. You can live a perfectly normal life, but like diabetes and high blood pressure, it would require daily treatment. So in essence, the people that have gone on to become addicted to either a substance or a particular behaviour generally cannot be “cured.” Constant psychological treatment is required on a daily basis; programs such as AA are very effective because of the constant psychological reassessment required in the program. Addiction is also a cunning disease of the mind. So even though, you may feel that are addicted in one way or another, the addict’s mind tells them otherwise.
Here’s the thing though: the addict cannot work on treatment until they actually realise they have a problem that needs to be worked on.
Personally, I refused to believe that I was an addict for many years. I often thought it was simply a phase I was going through and that I was just “having fun.”My life eventually spiralled out of control and denying my addiction became harder to do. Even then, when someone merely suggested that I could very well be an addict, I would become very defensive, angered by the thought of them even suggesting I was an addict. I would find so many justifications convincing myself that I do not need help.
The reality is that unless that addict realizes that he or she may have a problem, there is very little that can be done. It’s sad, but true.
Constantly trying to help the addict, may not be the best them for them. In fact, you might even be doing more harm, than good by enabling them. Their behaviour may never change, because they know that someone will catch them every time they fall.
The addict in distress needs empathy, not sympathy.
Sometimes the only way we can love the addict, is to let them fall.
Keep posted for my post on empathy VS sympathy coming soon.