Monday, November 14, 2016

Fighting addiction

Image courtesy of Kely Luzio-Cardona

Addiction is a word used very loosely in today’s society. Addiction is a disease that goes widely undiagnosed. When someone you know has an addiction, it affects your life just as much as it does theirs. As someone whose father has suffered from a heroin addiction, I wanted to share a few tips I have found to help them through the process of breaking the cycle.

When most people think of addiction and getting help, they think of the famous twelve steps from Alcoholics Anonymous. I believe that the twelve steps are essential, but I think what is usually left out is that the twelve steps aren’t always moving them forward. Sometimes a person battling addiction can make it all the way to step seven, then relapse and have to start all over again.

The first step for you, as the person outside the disease, is to notice the problem. Once you do, it’s time to get help. Not help for them, but for you. The National Addiction Hotline’s website or toll-free number (1-800-443-4357) can help you approach your loved one in a way that makes them receptive. You have to remember that their addiction is now a part of them, and they aren’t going to just let it go.

Once they finally admit they have an issue, there's a good chance that they are going to backslide. And they are going to lie. They have had to lie to maintain the habits needed to fuel their addiction, so don’t feel bad. Just be strong.

When you are helping someone battling addiction, you must first step out of yourself. At times you are going to feel responsible and want to give up on them, but you can’t. The most important asset your loved one has in this fight is you.

Because my father has been an addict all my life, I have been through the cycle. I know it's not easy but it will be worth it. Battling addiction is hard, but there are tools available to you, use them. Also, don’t be afraid to let your loved one fail and cry sometimes. Ask for help for yourself and don’t be afraid, because they’re not the only one struggling.


By Ojanae Ellison

Transitions - Transitioning into the best version of you

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