Awareness of Addiction
The signs and symptoms of chronic alcohol and drug use are often obvious. You may notice that your spouse or family member has to make a run to the liquor store every weekend, like clockwork. You may smell the odor of a drug being smoked in a back bedroom or even come across the paraphernalia. Knowing your friend or family member is using, you may not be sure if he or she is truly addicted. You might think, “I hate it when he gets drunk, but he’s not an alcoholic. He still makes it to work every day!” You may tell yourself, “It’s only pot, so it doesn’t really hurt.” Coming to awareness and acceptance that someone you care about is addicted can be confusing and challenging. Knowing the truth about addiction can help begin the process of finding the help needed for a real change. Even though the focus is on the addict, family and friends also must begin their own process of recovery from the effects of substance use, abuse, and addiction.
Signs of Addiction in a Loved One
One thing about addiction that can make it confusing is that signs and symptoms can vary so much between people. For example, we have all heard the phrase “functioning alcoholic.” If you look closely, you may notice that in someone who remains generally high functioning, there are always signs of addiction. Sometimes it is up to family to recognize the patterns and behaviors connected with substance abuse that may not otherwise exist. Here are some questions which you can use as a reference to consider if addiction may be present:
- Does your loved one make up excuses about their drinking or drug use?
- Do you notice that money is missing from your bank accounts or your wallet?
- Does your loved one contribute his or her fair share toward household expenses?
- Does your loved one react with anger or even violence when you question him or her about drinking or drug use?
- Have you noticed that your loved one is struggling at work, has failed to meet assigned deadlines or has lost a job due to drug and alcohol abuse?
- Have there been noticeable physical changes in your family member?
- Does your family member struggle to remember basic details?
- Has your loved one withdrawn from social and family situations?
- Does your loved one seem depressed or anxious?
- Has your loved one’s job been affected by alcohol or drug use, such as calling in sick, being late, on the job accidents, etc.
- Is your loved one in trouble with the law due to alcohol or drug use?
Getting Help for You
Even if your loved one does not want help for their addiction, you may need to seek professional help to get yourself on the road to recovery. Individual sessions with a trained therapist can help you determine how you move forward with your life. You will discuss topics such as boundaries, consequences, support, communication, shame and guilt, resentment, etc. As with any struggle in life, it is better to know what we are dealing with and our reactions to it, in order to make a conscious choice on how we want to move forward.
Getting Addiction Help for a Loved One
Break the cycle of alcohol or drug abuse and get your loved one and/or yourself into an addiction recovery program that can help. Specialized alcohol rehab programs, drug rehab programs and family counseling can include mental health care, support, detox services and more. Turning Point Recovery Center offers you and your loved one the fullest range of addiction recovery services. If you’re doubtful, scared, or even angry about the behavior you see, reach out for help. Call us at (505)217-1717 and talk with one of our knowledgeable counselors. Calls are confidential and can help you to determine your insurance coverage for individual family counseling and detox and care for your loved one. Don’t wait another weekend. You can’t control the addiction, but you can do something about it.