Should We Cut The Addicted Loved One Out Of Our Lives?
In the United States alone, 1 in every 8 adults suffers from drug and/or alcohol abuse. According to a survey conducted by the National Substance Drug Use and Health conducted in 2017, there were 19.7 million American adults and children over the age of 12 who are living with an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Let that number settle in. If you took all the citizens that live in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles combined, you would still need 5 million people to get to the number of addicts that live in the USA.
Full family support or tough love?
These are terms we often hear when we speak of a person we love who is an addict. While every person is different, all addicts have some traits in common. In order to make a personal decision on how to proceed, you must first know some of these traits.
There is no doubt about it. Science has proven that the brain of an addict is compromised. The drugs and alcohol, hijack the brain. The front part of the brain is the part that allows us to maintain control. A normal brain reacts to things that make us feel good and it processes that information in a way that lets us make a choice, understanding the consequences. For example, Let’s say you love chocolate. When you eat chocolate, it is more than the chocolate to consider. Your brain rewards you with a natural chemical rush to the front section of the brain. You feel good. You are happy. But you are not addicted. You may have to make a choice as to when or how much chocolate you will eat, and you may even slip up from time to time, but your brain is allowing you to maintain the control.
Now, let’s look at the addict. The addict takes a drug of choice. It feels good to them. They get the same reward the chocolate lover does. But, when the drug is no longer in the body, the brain demands more of that drug. The “fight or flight” warnings go off in the brain. This is milder at first, but as the addict continues, the brain fights with all it has. The addict panics. All they can think about is the drug. At that point, they will lie, steal, and take advantage of people that they love because the addiction has taken over. If they do not get the drug, they go into full withdrawal and they become physically sick.
The person you love is hijacked. You cannot cut him out of your life. He did that himself. They have no control over their mental or physical state. Speaking to them, crying, begging, and threatening does not mean a thing. You are in essence speaking to a needle, a pill, or a bottle. No matter what you say, that pill will not go flush itself. The bottle will not pour itself out.
Should you cut them out of your life?
You love the person who is fighting this. But again, they are not there. Saying to the addict, “You are not good for me right now, so get help.” is a healthy boundary. If they go to drug rehab and get the poison out of their blood and deal with the issues that trigger their fall, they have a chance, but it is a tough road to walk.
So, what can you do?
Addiction hurts everyone. To an addict, anything and anyone is worth the loss if they can stay high. You are not helping him if every time you lay down the law, you pick it back up. Get professional help for yourself and your family to help you survive and grow. Encourage the addict to get into the right rehab that fits his needs. There is a new day ahead. Just stay the course and you will find it.