Someone very close to me is dealing with addiction. At first I was mad at the person and in disbelief that something like this could happen to someone I know. I was frustrated and angry. As I began reading about addiction, however, I realized that my reaction was uncalled for. At least in the sense that I shouldn’t be angry at the person with the addiction. The more I read about addiction (addiction to anything from pills, alcohol, etc.) the more I began to realize that in most cases it’s not the person’s fault. I do feel that some blame lies on the person, but a lot of blame can be placed elsewhere (doctors, pharmaceutical companies, etc.) I will be writing another post regarding that later.
I want to focus on my experience as someone helping another with an addiction to pain pills. As I stated, my initial reaction was completely unnecessary. I should have shown more concern towards the person rather than blowing up and getting angry at them. I have learned to be more supportive rather than judgmental. In a situation where someone tells you or you find out that they have an addiction I can assure you they are flooded with shame, completely embarrassed, or possibly in denial. To show support will put the person on the road to recovery much quicker than anger.
After initially finding out about the addiction, getting angry, becoming educated, then showing support, I realized that I too was just as involved in the recovery process as the person addicted. I was reading addiction articles, books, looking up recovery groups, and reading the profiles of therapists. I wanted to see this person get better so bad that I was going through everything they were to show my support. I wanted to know everything about addiction, recovery, and the resources that were out there (which there are many, and some are free). I have learned that addiction doesn’t just affect the addicted, but those around them as well, even during the recovery process.
Right now things are going well for this person and I am much better educated on the matter. If you know someone with an addiction, first show support. Educate yourself about the certain addiction that they have so that you are better equipped to help. And be persistent in getting the person professional help.
As someone helping with an addiction, I can say that simply listening to the person is probably the best support you can give.
Resources for those with an addiction:
“The Road Back” is also a great resource.
- Introducing an Epidemic of Addiction (psychcentral.com)
- Is There a Middle Way in 12-Step Programs? (Part I) (psychologytoday.com)