You never expect to have a methamphetamine addict in your family. Having to watch a person you love grow addicted to a drug like meth is heartbreaking. It can leave you feeling isolated and helpless. But, you don’t have to remain that way. There are steps you can take and choices you can make that will help you have some control over your life.
Sadly, you can’t control the addict. There isn’t any way to force them to want to change. But, there are ways to remain sane and relatively emotionally sound while you deal with this difficult situation.
The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health informs readers that roughly 1.2 million people reported using meth during the previous year, and 440,000 reported doing so in the previous month. That’s a lot of users. It’s important to keep this in mind, to remember you aren’t alone in this struggle.
Professional rehab can be a great resource for family members of addicts. You can’t force someone in to treatment, but you can learn all about it and remain prepared to share that information with the addict when they are ready. You can even pick out a program that you think is a good fit. To find a rehab center that fits your needs, call 800-768-8728(Who Answers?). We are waiting to help.
Do Not Enable
There is a specific type of enabling that often contributes to methamphetamine use. It is “negative enabling.” This is defined as providing the addict in your family with access to resources that allow them to advance in their addiction.
The most popular negative enabling actions are offering a methamphetamine addict money or a place to live. But, it can also refer to any type of resource—like transportation or making excuses on their behalf or providing a job—that allow them to maintain their drug using lifestyle.
It is vital that you learn to say “no” and that you stick to the boundaries that you set. This can literally be your most powerful action in the fight against your family member’s meth addiction. Obviously, the addict won’t respond positively when they are denied what they believe they are owed. They will attempt to manipulate and wheedle. They might say:
- I thought you loved me!
- Do you know what will happen to me without a place to live?
- If you loved me, you would give me…!
- You must want me to starve!
- You are punishing me!
These are just tricks to get you to keep facilitating their drug use. Don’t fall for it. Just say “no.”
Get Outside Support
When there is a methamphetamine addict in your family, you need to get some outside assistance from professionals. Consider going to therapy or joining a support group for friends and family of addicts. You are in an emotionally vulnerable place and you need and deserve all the support you can get.
When you have aligned yourself with a support system, you will be far less likely to fall back into enabling. There are literally behavioral relapse patterns among family members of methamphetamine addicts. Family will simply find themselves drifting back into their previous enabling actions before they know it. Connecting with others can prevent this backsliding.
Provide the Addict with a Chance to Change
This is when you get the chance to do some positive enabling. This means that you take actions that encourage the meth addict in your family to make positive change in their life. Once you have ended the negative enabling, you are ready to begin.
Let your family member know that you love them. But, make it clear that you can no longer contribute to their methamphetamine use. Make clear that you are ready to get them into treatment as soon as they are ready to go and be prepared to follow through.
You need to do your research before you choose a rehab center. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.” You will get the best outcomes from a treatment program that matches the meth user’s needs. For help finding one, call 800-768-8728(Who Answers?).