Sometimes we have a loved one who is destroying their lives through addiction or other bad choices. We painfully watch them as they create chaos for themselves and those close to them. This can be excruciating to watch especially when it comes to addiction, and can be almost unbearable when we watch them create chaos, harm their bodies possibly to the point of near death, and be mean and aggressive to those who love them. It can be beyond awful if you are the one on the receiving end of the verbal or physical abuse, having things stolen from you, are the one who gets the phone call asking to pick up that person from jail and bring bail money, etc. Unfortunately when it comes to addiction, we have to wait for the person who is addicted to see first that there is a problem and then decide they want to change their behavior. Usually this does not happen until the addict hits rock bottom. Rock bottom looks different for everyone and it can take months or years for a person struggling with addiction to get there. Meanwhile, their loved ones watch painfully as the addict destroys his/her life.
So what can a person who has an addicted loved one do to help them stop using drugs? There are a few things you can do, but unfortunately none of them will solve the problem swiftly. You can love them and emotionally support them. Emotional support is important for people struggling with addiction, however if you are putting yourself in harm's way in order to emotionally support an addict, you need to ask your Higher Power how much are you supposed to be involved in the addict's life. Sometimes love is tough love, and yes, that may mean distancing yourself or even not talking to them until they stop using drugs for a specific amount of time. This is extremely difficult, but sometimes an addict needs to feel alone in order to stop using. Having little or no family support in their lives is what some addicts need in order to decide they are willing to change. You can make statements such as "I love you and when you have stopped using drugs, I will happily welcome you back into my life." You have to protect yourself emotionally and physically first, before you can help someone else.
It may mean not taking those "come pick me up from jail" phone calls and most likely means do not give them cash. If you feel you must assist them with food or gas money, buy the food or gas for them. A lot of people feel they can solve the problem by not allowing alcohol or drugs into their home. Unfortunately this is a waste of time and energy. If someone who is addicted decides to get drunk or high, there is no stopping them. Banning it from your home or pouring it all down the drain will only make them go get it somewhere else. Even if you destroy it as soon as it comes through your door, an addict caught in the grips of addiction will just turn around and go back out for more, most likely after having some unpleasant words for you. You can also join a support group such as Nar-Anon (this is useful for families of alcoholics or drug addicts). This is a very difficult time and having someone going through similar circumstances will help tremendously.
The other thing you can do is pray for them, other family members affected by it, and yourself. I am including a prayer you can use or something similar that resonates with you that will help you get through this difficult time. Use it daily or as many times a day as you need to use it to help you feel empowered and able to get through this situation. Sometimes the best type of empowerment comes through surrender.
God (or whatever you choose to call your Higher Power), please help (insert addict's name here) to see the harm he/she is causing him/herself and others in his/her life. Please help (addict's name) to see the chaos that is being created by the addiction and have a desire stronger than the addiction to stop the chaos and harm that is being done. Please help (addict's name) to rely on Your power to overcome this addiction, as I am aware he/she cannot overcome it without Your help. Please help me and my family to lean on You during this time. Please help us to allow You to heal (addict's name), according to Your Divine timing, not our human "right now" timing. Please help me/us to accept this situation as part of the trial he/she must endure for growth. Please guide me/us with the knowledge of how I/we can best help and support (addict's name). Please help me/us to surrender to You, knowing You are the only one who can heal (addict's name) and at the end of the day, I/we are powerless over his/her choices. Please help me/us to keep firm boundaries and to protect myself/ourselves from the affects of the addiction as much as possible. Please help me/us to remember to take a deep breath and release his/her decision if/when he/she decides to use again/continue using. He/she has free will and no matter how much I want to save them, it is not my job nor my families job to save them. He/she must decide to let You take control of their lives and help them. Thank you.
Love & Light to all of you.