He who has many vices, has many masters! Plutarch
Junkie. This word immediately sends us to think the worst of the person we have labeled with it. We take it for granted that addicts are people without trade or profit and devoid of all virtue. When drugs are often the easy way out of a difficult path that leads nowhere.
I was recently talking to a psychologist at a rehab clinic and he was telling me some interesting things about it. For example, that many of the reasons why people approach drugs have little to do with the substance itself. These are only used to mask much deeper issues that have to do with their environment or the way they see themselves.
The social factors of addiction
One example of this is that many young people smoke more because of the pressure to fit in with their friends or because their appetite decreases when they do so, than because of chemical dependence on a substance. That is, in many cases it is not so much about cigarette addiction, but about a problem of image, self-esteem, need to belong or something else, which they believe to solve by smoking. Many others become addicted to pills because they want to perform better in their daily activities, such as work or studies. Once again, the problem arises in an attempt to resolve an issue that haunts them. Or how about those who do it to alleviate sadness, making it clear that the reason they use drugs is because they feel overwhelmed by their reality.
This psychologist also told me something that caught my attention, and that is that families are one of the main factors responsible for addicts falling and relapsing. Therefore, even when specialists do their part in clinics or therapies, once they are at home they return to everything that led them to take drugs in the first place. Our talk ended with a strong statement: it is love, good treatment, empathy, which actually helps us get out of these situations.
What you must discard, in order to help
Why then, if we are faced with the answer, do we keep making the same mistakes when it comes to helping an addicted person? Here are some possible answers, which are actually things you should get rid of if you want to help someone overcome an addiction:
Those of us who have the ability to see the problem believe that it is their fault and that we have nothing to do with it. So we ask them to change, but we don’t.
judgments People who give in to addictions are emotionally fragile. However, we take it for granted that it is their fault and that if they got into it, then they will get out of trouble by themselves. The truth is that they need us to do it.
We believe that they are incapacitated
We feel that if we solve their life, then we are helping them. In reality, the opposite occurs, since by doing so we promote mutual dependence. They do not have a disability, nor do they need you to do for them, what they can and should do for themselves.
We cling to family dynamics of physical or emotional violence.
This only continues to lead the person addicted to substance use and abuse. Therefore, make sure that in your home what prevails is affection, trust, solidarity and communication.
Fear that they will ruin our lives
We withdraw from our loved ones under the pretext that if they want to ruin their lives, we will not let them do the same to ours. Remember that being by their side is not indulging their attitudes, but rather letting them know that they are not alone.
We believe that we are absolutely right.
Thinking like this implies believing that they are completely wrong. We tell them that they are wrong to perceive their life from a dark and lonely perspective, when it is not about who is right and who is wrong, but about finding the way out together.
How to prevent
Unfortunately, the drugs are not going away. But what we can eliminate are the arguments to see in them the way out of the problems. The best way is to raise our children with love and strong self-esteem, especially during the first twelve years of life. There are studies that show that a child who was loved during this stage will hardly fall into drug addiction.
Giving children an education with values, where the good and the bad are clearly delimited is also of great importance. It is true that life is not black and white, but there are situations that do not allow space for grays: it is important that our children are clear about this. We must also educate them with a life plan, that they feel they have a purpose and that fulfilling it requires their effort, to be prepared, focused and healthy.
Likewise, it is vital that our children are clear about the risks involved in drug use. Knowledge is power, inform them! Prevention is always the best bet, but if it fails, love is always the right answer.
If you want to delve further into the subject, I invite you to
read2 effective tips to prevent your child from getting addicted to drugs
You can also read: Your son is getting addicted to drugs, and you don’t even suspect it