Waiting for Rock Bottom
Someone you care about is clearly an addict. Or, not so clearly… maybe you suspect it.
If you suspect it, they usually are. Let’s face it, the signs of drug addiction are not subtle. However, it’s not something anybody wants to be true. We don’t want THAT to be happening. Or worse yet, happening AGAIN.
I personally used drugs for 12 years. Despite going to rehab several times, I was not at rock bottom when I finally took the right steps to change my life. And I certainly didn’t do it by myself.
Did I want a better life, deep down inside? Of course. But did I ever really want to go to drug rehab and stop using drugs and be sick, craving and rebuild the life I had destroyed from scratch? Not once. Talk about daunting…
I now work with families of drug addicts and can draw upon my personal experience to help them save the lives of their loved ones. I’m going to address a couple of beliefs when trying to get someone into drug addiction treatment:
They have to hit rock bottom
This is a common saying and not necessarily true. That’s like saying someone must first have a bad relationship in order to know they want a good one. Don’t get me wrong, people are motivated AWAY FROM negative experiences. But an even stronger form of achievement takes place when one decides upon a desirable goal and moves TOWARD IT. Also, every addict is already experiencing some form of personal hell. They just don’t show it. Which is why they take drugs.
Rock bottom for many is death and obviously, there is no treatment for that. When dealing with addiction, DO NOT WAIT. Some families, unfortunately, learn their loved one is an addict upon overdose.
They have to want it for themselves
This is both true and untrue. As I explained above, everyone wants a better life. Drug addicts do not believe they are able to achieve it and certainly not without the use of a substance. They have lost the ability to be responsible for their lives, much less the lives of those around them. So, waiting for this person to make a responsible decision that moves their life in a positive direction is a mistake.
Let’s be real. Addicts generally reach for help when they are out of options. They’ve run out of drugs, money, housing, etc. And even then, they often resort to crime.
But they say they’re going to do better
While this may be encouraging, it generally isn’t true. They may even have the best of intentions. Or just be trying to get you off their back. Either way, if they were going to stop on their own, it would’ve happened already and they wouldn’t BE a drug addict.
Dishonesty is the currency of the addict. To have arrived at that point, they’ve had to hide and lie. They aren’t terrible people. They know what they are doing is wrong and they do feel bad. That is why they hide it and try to convince everyone they are fine and ultimately why they keep using drugs. They want to stifle that feeling.
They suggest Suboxone, Methadone, Psychiatric Medications, or a quick medical detox rather than going to treatment
This could be the subject of an entirely different article, however, I will take up one aspect of this; other drugs are an easy “out” for an addict. And they usually make things worse.
The biggest fear is having to face life without substances. This route is generally suggested by the addict so they don’t actually have to get off of drugs. They can get on a “legitimate” substance and ideally, they won’t have to hide their drug addiction anymore. But they are still on drugs and still addicted. And without actually facing life and their own problems without the use of a substance, they are not better equipped and fall into the same traps. Nothing is actually gained.
Nearly all people who go onto replacement drugs, end up reverting to illicit substances. They either sell their prescriptions or save them for a rainy day when they can’t get what they really crave. Or, they get out of their quick, medical detox and relapse.
So, now what? In short, don’t give up. Confront them. Ask for help from a professional or a family member. Intervention does work and there are professionals who specialize in getting addicts to take that first step, no matter how cautiously. You see, the drug addict in front of you is not your loved one. And no matter how much they resist or don’t seem to want to get better, they are just scared.
Once they’ve been gotten off the drugs, you will see. They will thank you. They always do. Why wouldn’t they? You saved their life.