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Do Not Be Manipulated and Do Not Enable An Opiate Addict

Anyone who is in recovery from opiate addiction can tell you stories about the lies they would tell. Their main reason for lying was to hide their addiction. Most addicts, including myself, would even go as far as to believe our own lies.  We convince ourselves that we are in control of our addiction and that no one around us can tell that we are out of control. Over time, people gradually see many changes in your personality and the way you live your life. You become a shadow of the person you once were, and you start to feel like you are being backed into a corner. Instead of telling the truth, the lies and manipulation become your way to get out of conversations or to avoid people in general.

If you are a significant other, friend or family member of an addict, you may be asking yourself if you are going crazy. You see signs that something is terribly off with the addict, but you have no clue what it is. They tell you everything you want to hear, but things just do not add up. In your gut you know that something is wrong but you can not prove it. You are also afraid of confronting them if you may be wrong and completely out of line.

This scenario is something I talk about on a daily basis with people looking for guidance. You know the person very well and if something seems off, it may be best to talk to them about it.  Do not keep it to yourself because you do not want to hurt their feelings or your relationship. It is better to risk your relationship if it means saving that person's life. I can not tell you how terrible it is to hear people tell me that they wish they would have done something sooner.  Their loved one died from an overdose and they feel extremely guilty for not trying to intervene sooner.  The severity of this situation is very real and not something to take lightly.

When you approach an addict, make sure you stay positive. Do not let the conversation become negative on your part. As soon as an addict feels threatened they may leave or go against every thing you are saying. If you approach them with the understanding that you want to help and be there for them, your chances of getting through to them is much greater.

Do not expect a miracle. Addicts get help when they are ready to, but planting the seed that you know something is wrong and that you want them to get better is a start.  Most importantly it may be best to cut off any means of enabling them. If they live with you rent free, ask them to help pay for rent. Don't lend them money.  Most importantly keep your valuables locked up and secure. Realize that by enabling them, you are feeding their addiction.  This may seem drastic but it is for their own good. Addicts need to see the consequences of their addiction and even if they do not see it after you stop enabling them, you know that you did your best to help.

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