When asked most people think they know what addiction is. People who have never encountered it themselves generally just think back to Hollywood movies. While most people understand what withdrawal effects are and how they affect an addict, they don’t quite differentiate between drug dependence and actual addiction. Sadly, the “good old cold turkey” method just does not cut it. For starters, it is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted as it can cause your organism to go into shock, lose consciousness or even coma and death, caused by a stroke or respiratory arrest.
Rehab is tough, most people know that. But they will hopefully never have to understand just how tough it really is. People have different reasons to be in a rehab. Those lucky with conviction have made the right choice and stepped toward sobriety out of our own will. Yet there are those who have lost a bet, been forced in one way or another, bribed or maybe even blackmailed to sign up. And then there those who had doubts about their fight with addiction, which is to say – every single one of us, regardless of conviction.
Not if. When.
It is part of the process. There, that sums it up. It is, however, important to understand why, if we have any hope in supporting our loved ones who are going through the fight.
The same way as grief is an important to process to go through, so are doubts and ideas of relapse for anyone addicted. It is important to experience the temptations to quit, to slip back. It would be so easy. But because it would be so easy, it is important to experience the pull and resist it, ultimately fight it and win over the fears and urges that will haunt every single addict at one point or another. Not a question of if. It will happen sooner or later.
This victory is important in the process of healing and should not be avoided but embraced and fought to win, then held high as a trophy and personal proof of abilities every addict in the recovery process.
It is our duty as parents, friends and loved ones to understand the importance of this fight and provide all the support the addict needs while maintaining an open mind and understanding the reasons why the addict may want to quit, drop everything and run for the hills. Or the closest dealer.
Dangers of quitting mentality.
Anything unfinished is not a good thing, obviously. Not need to elaborate on the reasoning behind that. It is, however, important to understand why in this particular case it is not only unrecommended but also very dangerous.
It is not unheard of to have people in rehab calling their relatives and talking about their hardships, begging to be allowed to come home. It can be painful to listen to your child, spouse or close friend to beg, but it is important to remember, that this is part of the process and such ideas should not be indulged. It is imperative that the treatment schedule is maintained and the addict is never put in a position of relapse, no need to stack the odds against yourself.
We, the family and closest friends, we are the confidants and pit crew for the addict. We must be the pillars of strength in their time of need, whenever it may be. There are many things we can do to ensure the addict remains motivated and supported through their rehabilitation program.
Might seem obvious to most, but it is important to encourage the addict in his decision to get clean and not indulge ideas of quitting. Do not pretend to own them or save them in any way. They are not a “damsel in distress” that need saving, they need support to do this themselves. A child will never learn to walk on his own if he is being carried everywhere, instead be close, encourage them in their steps and be ready to catch them when they fall.
When they fall, not if. Patience is key, combined with good energy and positive attitude it is the winning combination. They might feel betrayed if you do not support his moment of weakness, call you names and be very angry with you, but it is important to remember that it is for their own good and to remind them what is at stake while remaining positive and being patient. Keep your own mindset positive and it will rub off, you will see. Do not get angry as it could just flare up the issue and make it all even worse, fuelling the addict’s doubts.
It is important to stay strong both for the addict and his supporters. Both sides of this coin need each other now more than ever.
Join us in our next article to glimpse an insight into reasons why an addict might consider quitting.