If you have a friend or family member who uses drugs or alcohol, certain feelings may have crossed your mind. Maybe you’re concerned that the drinking is getting out of control after watching your friend at a party. Or perhaps you’re worried that your loved one’s recreational drug use is becoming a habit.
Even though many people believe that addiction is obvious and threatening, this isn’t always the case. In fact, addiction can be subtle and secretive for quite a long time, and this can delay treatment. Instead of waiting for the apparent rock bottom to happen, be honest with yourself and the extent of the problem.
Here are eight common ways that the friends and families of addicts delay treatment for a person who really needs it. Are you guilty of any of them?
1. He/she can quit at any time.
This is a common mindset that both addicts and their loved ones share. Say your spouse is a big drinker and you’re worried that it’s taking a toll on his life. You confront him about the issue and he confidently responds that he can quit at any time. But, he can’t quite right now because he has things coming up that he wants to enjoy. You understand and table the issue until later. The truth is that your spouse probably can’t just stop. He needs help to do it.
2. He/she is under a lot of stress.
One of the main reasons why people use drugs or alcohol in the first place is because they are stressed. But, there are healthy ways to deal with stress, and drugs are not one of them. Be wary of people who say they abuse alcohol or drugs just because they have a nagging wife, financial problems, or stress at work. These are not legitimate excuses.
3. His/her drug use doesn’t hurt anyone else. It’s his/her business.
This one is always surprising because it couldn’t be further from the truth. Drug and alcohol abuse affects many people – actually, everyone. An alcoholic driving drunk puts everyone on the road at risk. They place a burden on the healthcare system. They are not productive or as good of a parent as they should be. Drug addiction and alcoholism take an immense toll on families and society at large.
4. He/she doesn’t drink during the day.
Just because someone doesn’t start their day off with drinking or using drugs doesn’t mean they don’t need treatment. Instead of looking at when someone drinks, pay attention to how much they drink, how it affects their behavior and personal life, and how difficult it is to refrain from drinking.
5. He/she only parties on the weekends. It’s a social thing.
This is another myth that many people believe to be true. Recreational drug use may not be the same as addiction, but it certainly paves the way. There have been countless incidents where people have become injured or have died due to someone else’s reckless behavior, and the attitude is, “Wow. I never knew he/she drank that much.” When drinking or alcohol use starts to get out of control, it’s best to step in then instead of waiting until it becomes an everyday problem.
6. The doctor prescribed it, so it must be fine.
Not all doctors prescribe medications with caution. And, if your friend is playing the game, he/she may be doctor shopping, meaning that they go from one doctor to the next to get the painkillers they need. Just because your loved one is taking legally prescribed medications does not mean that they can’t become addicted, or aren’t already are.
7. I know people who drink a lot more than that!
It’s common for addicts to hide or downsize their behaviors. So, it’s very possible that you have no idea how much your family member is really using in the first place. Yet, even so, comparing how one person drinks or uses drugs to another is a bad idea. The real concern is how alcohol or drugs are affecting the person. Not to mention, isn’t your loved one more important than these ‘other’ people?
8. He/she does great at work/school, so there isn’t a problem.
This is another common misconception. There is such a thing as high-functioning alcoholics, and these individuals can go on for a long period of time abusing substances. If the person you’re concerned about has a good job or a family with children, this does not mean that they do not have an alcohol problem.
Do not hesitate to get involved if you believe that someone close to you is struggling with an addiction. Some people think that a person has to hit rock bottom to seek treatment, but this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s easier to stop abusing substances when you deal with the problem early on, and it can prevent further problems such as DUIs or a job loss from occurring.
For more information regarding holistic treatment, call The River Source at 866-294-9331.