So. . . why don’t they just quit?
Some recent posts from “Dad on Fire” blog:
Rewiring the brain against addiction is an idea that holds the key to the answer. Having known suffering drug addicts, its safe to say that “just quitting” is not an answer. The Depression that goes along with addiction, often predicating the need for drugs to begin with is a key area of study. Dual Demons! as it called, continually feeds into the reality of repeated relapse. Addiction is a disease that requires the equivalent focus in dollars and effort of the drug war itself. Once we get big Insurance and big Pharma to play the game of real recovery we can start poking holes in the sails of drug trade. De-criminalizing addiction would cripple illegal drug trade. Imagine a world of compassion, recovery and freedom from addiction.
Maybe they don’t quit because it’s hard to quit and people don’t like to do things that are hard or challenging. And why bother anyway as long as someone else will come along behind and clean up the mess. Can they quit is a better question and the answer is yes. Sure they need help and no one does it alone but that help will start to come out of the woodwork once they reach out for it, once they swallow their pride. The role of the concerned person or family member is to help them want to, not to look at them as victims. How about imagining a little tough love.
I am with you on the tough love. If it were not for tough love, some addicts wouldn’t get any love at all. So what do you do with the constant stream of 8 million or drug addicts that seem to stay “hooked” and that are dragging themselves down and everything they touch “lock them up in forced rehab” what do you think of the impact of dual diagnosis, the impact of hard drugs on brain chemistry, the costs to our communities, etc. . . looking for solutions, answers, ideas, stuff to post.
I think we have made this much more complicated than it needs to be. Treatment is a great place to begin the journey. Once the person leaves they must follow-up with a support group that meets every day. I do not know of any group that even comes close to the AA 12 Step model. I don’t care if they WANT TO GO or not. The sick person is not in a position to create his or her own treatment program. If my son or daughter were in trouble this is what I would tell them to do. If they don’t like it at first that’s too bad. Imagine a diabetic telling his doctor he just doesn’t want to take insulin. I’ve been in the field for over thirty years and all I’m suggesting is what I have personally seen work the vast majority of the time (like over 90%).
Co-occurring disorders will often take care of themselves after the person stops poisoning his/her brain. It will take at least a few weeks or maybe many months. Too many people want things fixed NOW–so they listen to some “psych” tell them about a special drug and they start to play a chemistry game with the brain. In some cases these meds do make a big difference but they are way over-prescribed. Nothing will ever take the place of talk therapy–nothing. So let’s try a big dose of that first. I have heard more than a few psychiatrists say that many of these drugs often only make things worse. Adding more and more meds should be a last resort.
So how do we stop the ever growing number of people from coming into addiction? In my humble opinion you need to start when they are young, as in small children. Kids spell love T-I-M-E. The more time we invest in our children early in life will make a huge difference. This is by no means a guarantee but it is something we have been lacking in our culture for quite a while. Single-parent homes and absentee parents who pop in on their weekends for some “quality time” ain’t working. One of the best books I have ever read on this issue is Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline. Also, Before it’s too late, by Stanton Samenow.
So what about the 20-something or 30-something or 40-something person who is already in big trouble (or the adolescent, for that matter). What do we do for them? Empathy and a mixture of tough love is what seems to be most effective.
Concerned loved ones and family members need to not only read about what works best but then also start doing what’s best. No more enabling the insanity to continue.
* Have you “tried everything?” To learn about individual counseling with Joe Herzanek (in person or by phone) click here.