As individuals, what can we do about the problem of drug addiction, and how can we help someone who is addicted to drugs?
We can't help someone addicted to drugs, they can only help themselves. We can of course support them and encourage their decision to stop, but beyond that, it really is all up to them. I went through detox 5 times with my ex-husband who is a raging alcoholic. He would start drinking beer at 6 o'clock in the morning and drink beer all day long until he went to bed, sometimes as many as 20 beers in a day. My mother was the same kind of drinker, just drinking every day, all day long.
When he would finally reach some crisis point, he would go into detox which usually took about a week and then rehab and be sober for several weeks or months or even longer, but always he would go back. Even though he is no longer my husband, I have to say I'm really proud of him because he has been sober for over 2 years now.
Best way you can help a loved one with addiction issues, as well as yourself, is to attend meetings of Nacr-Anon or Ala-Anon. The addict, on average, effects the lives of 8 people around them. This can be extremely difficult to deal with on your own. Speaking with others who have been through similar situation will greatly help you to stop unabling as this may be happening without you being fully aware of it. Ultimately the addict will have to decide which fork in the road they choose: that of addiction, which is chronic, progressive and fatal, or a new life of sobriety.
Bottom line is, you can NOT make this choice for the addict, but being well educated about addiction through the mentioned free programs you can make clear where you stand, and to help them make the choice. Eventually, if an addict continues to use, I recommend detaching with love. Until they feel some of the consequenses of their actions, nothing will change. You have your life to live, do not get sucked into the vortex of havock created by an addict in denial. Best of luck, hope I was able to help a bit!
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