How Racism And Addiction Play Into Language
Arthur*, a former heroin user, also shared his thoughts on the language surrounding addiction. I have more respect for dope fiends, he says, explaining that its a hard road to travel and understand if you havent gone through it yourself.
He also alludes to racism in addiction language, too that people of color are painted as addicted to dirty street drugs, versus white people dependent on clean prescription medications. People say, Im not addicted, Im dependent cause a doctor prescribed it, Arthur adds.
Perhaps its no coincidence that theres growing awareness and empathy now, as more and more white populations are developing dependency and addictions.
Empathy needs to be given to everyone no matter race, sexuality, income, or creed.
We should also aim to remove the terms clean and dirty altogether. These terms hold belittling moralistic notions that people with addictions were once not good enough but now that theyre in recovery and clean, theyre acceptable. People with addictions arent dirty if theyre still using or if a drug test comes back positive for use. People shouldnt have to describe themselves as clean to be considered human.
Dont say this: Are you clean?
Say this instead: How are you doing?
Just like with the use of the term junkie, some people with use disorders may use the term clean to describe their sobriety and recovery. Again, its not up to us to label them and their experience.
They Engage In Criminal Acts
When someone becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, their value systems take a back seat to right and wrong. Essentially, the screaming brain compels them to do whatever it takes to find life-sustaining drugs.
A teen who never got into trouble may suddenly start having run-ins with the law.
The quest to satisfy the survival part of the brain can lead them to do illegal things they would have never considered before, such as:
- Stealing prescription pills from the medicine cabinets, purses, and homes of relatives, neighbors, or family friends.
- Lying about pain or causing self-injury to get prescriptions.
- Doctor shopping to try and get more prescriptions written.
- Forging prescriptions.
- Shoplifting valuable items to sell or pawn.
- Getting drug money by turning tricks or selling drugs.
- Injecting heroin.
The teen you previously thought incapable of even cheating on a test at school may suddenly find herself with an arrest record and a long line of people whose trust shes lost.
Put The Yourself As Priority
This is especially important when there are children involved – never allow yourself or your children to be abused or to be exposed to harmful chemicals, toxic smells, or any shifty people who may come around. Your safety and well being comes first. This is where the boundaries come in. Tell the addict that, if they insist on using, they must do it elsewhere.
Also Check: How To Get Off Caffeine Addiction
Talking To A Coworker About Addiction
Coworkers, supervisors or other people at work may pose an especially challenging situation. You may wonder why your supervisor or human resources manager doesnt confront a coworker with a substance abuse problem, but they may not have noticed the same things that you do. This is especially true if you work closely with someone or share an office. You may notice behavior changes that others dont.
Workplace substance abuse isnt just upsetting. It can also be dangerous. Impaired workers can cause injuries to themselves or to others. Its important to seek help from your workplace to talk to someone you suspect is an addict.
- Take notes: First, make notes on where and when you observe behaviors that lead you to suspect substance abuse. Write down the day and time and what you observe. Dont write down what people tell you happened, but only things that you have personally seen.
- Talk to your human resources manager: Your companys human resources personnel have special training in how to handle these situations. They know what to do legally and morally to help individuals showing signs of an addiction. Bring your notes to the meeting, and do not discuss them with others.
- Do what your HR staff tells you to do: They will probably schedule a meeting with your coworker to investigate the claims. They should keep your involvement anonymous. They may provide your coworker with information on counseling, employee assistance programs or insurance coverage for rehab.
Apply A Show Don’t Tell Mentality
Once you begin to set the boundaries with an addict, they often make promises, saying they will stop using, or they will make other promises of things they will do to prove that they are sorry for what they have done. Stand firm with a “show me, don’t tell me” mentality – they need to prove the changes, not just tell you they will change. Words don’t mean much, especially when someone has a proven track record of dishonesty.
You May Like: How To Smoke Without Getting Addicted
Drug Or Alcohol Abuse Symptoms
Mayo Clinic offers a comprehensive list of symptoms that may be displayed by a person struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. Many of these may be internal experiences for that individual however, symptoms that may be evident to others include:
- Appearing intoxicated more and more often
- Developing problems with cognition and memory
- Being lethargic, sleeping more, sleeping irregular hours, or appearing unwell or tired
- Developing problems at work or school possibly losing ones job or dropping out of school
- Attending social events only if drugs or alcohol are available becoming intoxicated before the social event or attending fewer social events specifically to drink or use drugs
- Stealing money or valuables to pay for drugs
- Lying about the substance or how much they are using
- Becoming angry, sad, or lashing out when questioned about their substance abuse
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to take the drug
- Neglected appearance and poor hygiene
People who struggle with substance abuse problems are likely to behave differently when they are intoxicated versus when they are sober they may say or do hurtful things, and they are likely to take serious risks with their life, such as driving while intoxicated. These behavioral problems can cause intense worry and fear in loved ones.
Dont: Expect Immediate Change
How do you help an alcoholic? One of the best ways is to be realistic in your expectations. Long-term Recovery is not a quick fix. Its an ongoing process for your loved one that takes time, effort and continued support from professionals and family alike. Some treatments may work for some time and then need to be changed.
If one treatment doesnt work, it doesnt mean all treatments will fail. It just means youll have to find the specific one that will work for your loved one.
Also Check: Am I Addicted To Vaping
Take Care Of Yourself
If youve attended a family program at a drug rehab center or any support group for loved ones of addicted people, youve heard how important it is to take care of yourself. It may seem cliche, but its true. When you sacrifice self-care, you can become physically and mentally depleted, which isnt good for you or your loved one. Taking care of yourself is important for both of you. Worrying and focusing all of your energy on
your loved ones addiction isnt going to change them. You can give them love and support that doesnt enable, but you cant do the work for them.
Ways to take care of yourself include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating three nutritious meals a day
- Spending time with people you enjoy
- Attending Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, or other support groups
- Seeing a therapist
- Continuing to take part in hobbies or fun activities
Whether or not your loved one is willing to seek addiction help, remember to take care of yourself, said Wielechowski. You are not responsible for other peoples actions or emotions, and they are not responsible for yours. You cant change how someone else feels or thinks. You may be able to influence them for the better, but ultimately, people decide their own behavior.
Here Are Some Signs That It May Be Time To Call Your Relationship Off:
The relationship is abusive: If the addict is physically or emotionally abusive, get out of there as soon as possible. No matter how much they threaten you or make you feel like youre hopeless without them, you need to walk away. Call a family member, a trusted friend, or even a domestic violence hotline for help.
Children are affected: If you have kids, you may have to lower your tolerance for the addicts behavior. It might be necessary to remove the children from the situation, even if the relationship isnt abusive. Addicted parents can have long-lasting effects on their childs mental health. So, its important to take your children into consideration.
They dont want to change: If the addict has no intention of changing, it might be time to leave. The problems youre currently facing will only get worse. Its possible to love an addict in recovery, but its difficult to stay with someone who doesnt want to get better. It may be tough, especially if you still love them, but do you want to take care of them forever?
Theyre holding you back: When maintaining your relationship is preventing you from living your best life, you might want to get out. It doesnt make sense to have your dreams ruined by someone elses addiction. If your self-esteem and mental health are only going to deteriorate over time, you might want to end the relationship in order to pursue a happier life.
Also Check: How Does Nicotine Make You Addicted
You Are Constantly Worried About Their Safety And Pray For Them To Live Through The Night
No one will understand that after a while you develop an addiction yourself. Not to the drugs themselves but to the person. This doesnt happen because you love them, this happens because you are so invested into trying to fix their life. One minute they are getting back on track and the next they come home with a giant stab wound across a part of their body at 3am and you dont know what to do. Youre afraid that they wont wake up one morning. I cant even begin to count the amount of times I thought he was going to die. I would wake up in the middle of the night and he would be lying next to me not breathing. I do not wish this upon anyone the cold chill that crawls down your spine while you try to revive someone is horrifying.
No matter how many tears have crawled down my face over the years, the money I spent, and the feelings I invested I will never feel sorry for myself. I will never truly understand the attraction that kept me around for so long. Maybe I felt bad for him maybe he was around to teach me a lesson. At the end of the day the best thing to do is run. If you are or ever were in a situation similar to mine just run away. No matter how much it hurts, it will hurt you more to stay.
When You Realize A Loved One Has A Problem
Sometimes you go into a relationship with someone who is an addict. You hear the classic “I can stop anytime,” or “I only on the weekends.” Sometimes you may not even be aware that they have a problem at first. Other times, you may not realize the depth of the problem at first, as sometimes addicts can hide their habits very well. Still, other times, you may be in a relationship with someone who develops a habit over time.
Once the addiction is discovered, many things will run through your mind. One of the biggest things that affects the loved ones of addicts is a sense of betrayal, as you realize that their word cannot be trusted. Knowing that there have been lies and things hidden from you is an enormous blow to the heart. There are some very important things to keep in mind as you process the reality of the addiction and begin to make choices in your own life.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Over An Addiction
What Is Recovery Treatment Like
It may also help to learn what recovery treatment is like. Recovery programs range from 12-step group meetings to special centers called rehab centers. Rehab may be in-patient, which means that you live there during your treatment, or outpatient, which means that you attend rehab sessions during the day but go home to your own residence at night.
Rehab isnt like jail or a hospital. There may be medical treatment involved to help people withdraw from drugs or alcohol, but in general, a rehab center is set up more like a big group home crossed between a hotel and a dorm. Recovery isnt about punishment, its about healing. You cant get well in a place where youre uncomfortable.
The same goes for withdrawal. Many people imagine white knuckling their way through withdrawal. Thats no longer the case in most recovery centers. Newer medications can help you through the worst withdrawal, and you are monitored constantly at many centers to make sure your health isnt compromised. The goal is for you to recover from your illness, and rehab centers do all that they can to help.
Surviving A Relationship With An Addict
Looking for more free resources? Follow our Colorado addiction local resources page here. Remember, if youre in a relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict, youre not alone. Data shows us that there are more than 24 million addicts and recovered addicts in America. A lot of those people are in relationships. So, there are a ton of people out there going through the same thing as you.
The most important thing is that you keep yourself safe. Do what you need to do to protect your physical and emotional well-being.
If you want to discuss rehab options and help your loved one get clean, please call anytime 24/7. Wed love to help you to figure out the best way to get them back on track.
Don’t Miss: How To Quit Tobacco Addiction
I Love Seeing You In Such Good Spirits
When you see your loved one happy and feeling positive, acknowledge it and tell them this. It makes them realize how far theyve come and that their hard work is paying off. Now, they are learning that true happiness doesnt come from an external substance but, rather, from the inside.
Are you or someone you love ready to get help? Browse our directory of rehab centers or call to inquire about addiction specialists in your area.
First Lets Establish That Addiction Is A Medical Problem
Addiction is a medical problem, says Dr. S. Alex Stalcup, medical director of New Leaf Treatment Center in Lafayette, California.
All of our patients get an overdose kit on their first day. People thought it was creepy at first, but we give Epi-Pens to people with allergies and devices for people who are hypoglycemic. This medical device is for a medical disease, he says. Its also another way of explicitly stating this is a disease.
Since New Leaf started providing overdose kits, deaths have also been averted, says Dr. Stalcup. He explains that folks who carry these kits are really just dealing with major risk factors until they get better.
You May Like: How To Kick Food Addiction
Drug Rehab In Las Vegas
Detoxing to become substance-free requires proper medical and psychological assistance. Landmark Recovery in Las Vegas, Nevada delivers the gold standard in evidence-based medication-assisted drug rehab and treatment services.
Detoxing is smoother when assisted by prescription medicines such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, or methadone and with the emotional support of counselors.
The masters level clinicians and addiction counselors on staff at Landmark Recovery assess every patient and create a drug rehab and treatment program specific to their needs.
After successfully detoxing from substances, your drug rehab program continues with medication assisted treatment, diverse therapies, 12 step programs and more. The type of therapy a person receives depends on several factors centered around their addiction history.
Analyze Where You Are
Its coming down to the wire. If all previous attempts have failed, our number one solution will be the last ditch effort to getting your loved one off of drugs, and giving them the health and attention they need to recover. By taking a step back and looking at the last few weeks or months of events, youll be able to better determine if your efforts are proving useful or if you need to take one more stab at this.
Also Check: Does Intervention Pay The Addicts
Dont Ignore The Problem
No one ever imagines that addiction will happen to someone they know. So, when it does, it can be very difficult to accept. You may be tempted to ignore the signs of addiction, to make excuses for your loved one, or to deescalate the severity of their addiction. But trying to convince yourself that its not that bad, or that theyre simply going through a tough time or phase that theyll snap out of is not doing your loved one any favors. Remember, addiction is a progressive disease, and your loved one will only get worse the more they use or drink.
Educate Yourself About Addiction
If you have never been directly exposed to alcoholism or drug addiction, you may be misinformed about what addiction is, who it affects, and how it affects them. It is important that you do your own research so that you can better understand what your loved one is going through. The more informed you are, the more you will be able to help them. Some great resources to start with include the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism , the National Institute on Drug Abuse , and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration .
You May Like: How To Come Off Sugar Addiction