How To Set Boundaries On A Drug Addict Who Disappears
In 2013, the Daily Mail published an article in which the late comedian and actor Robin Williams recounted a relapse into alcoholism after 20 years of recovery:
One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniels. And then that voicegoes, Hey. Just a taste. Just one.
Williams goes on to explain how his relapse escalated quickly, causing him to fall back into addiction and rehab.
Like Williams, addicts who are in recovery may start to feel they can reward themselves with drugs or alcohol and not suffer the same consequences. The problem that happens when this occurs is that the moment the addict slips, so do their years or efforts of recovery.
So while their binge on alcohol or drugs will cause them to abandon their responsibilities and loved ones, its important to keep in mind that you are not at fault.
Here are tips for setting clear boundaries for an addict who has disappeared and relapsed:
Listen More Than You Talk
When someone with an addiction confides in you, try to listen without interrupting or criticizing them. Even if you do not agree with their behavior, it’s important to withhold your judgment.
Learn more about addiction from reliable medical sources, and try to understand their point of view.
You should also avoid trying to solve their problems for them. For instance, telling them that they should “quit cold turkey” or that they just have to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” are unhelpful ways of talking to someone about their addiction.
Does Getting Into Recovery Help
But what happens when an addict or alcoholic gets into recovery? Does just putting down the drink or drug change their behavior from selfish to unselfish? Not necessarily. Getting sober and clean is a wonderful thing, but if someone just puts down the addictive substance and doesnt do any inner work regarding emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, chances are theyre just going to continue to be selfish.
The 12-step programs deal with this selfish nature pretty well. In fact, Steps four and five have the recovering addict or alcoholic begin to look at their character defects. Selfishness can be one of those character defects. If you ask most recovering alcoholics or addicts if they were selfish when they were using, many would say absolutely. Its not that they wanted to be selfish, but they were anyway. Its just part of the nature of addiction in general.
When they were in active addiction, they didnt really have any regard for those that were around them. Their worlds were wrapped around themselves and their own selfish wants and needs. In fact, quite a many addicts and alcoholics will admit that they purposely latched onto those who were extra giving, so they could get what they wanted in terms of attention, money or drugs.
Don’t Miss: How To Help With Video Game Addiction
Finding Support When Coping With A Drug Binge
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 percent to 60 percent of drug addicts experience relapse after treatment. Therefore, experiencing a drug binge phase with an addict is common among friends and family members.
Worrying is normal. Its a response to the love you have toward the addict, but its important to express this love in two ways: from a distance and on your terms.
While exhibiting firm boundaries between yourself and the addiction, remember that the lines of the relationship can shift, depending on the addicts response to your guidelines.
But until you feel comfortable opening the doors to that person, gaining a community and support is important.
For those who are dealing with an alcoholic on a binge, Al-Anon/Alateen provides support for family members and friends of alcoholics via local support groups. You can visit their website to find a support group in your city.
Here are additional support groups for family and friends of addicts who disappear:
- Nar-Anon Family Groups
- Learn to Cope
- Parents of Addicted Loved Ones
Joining a support group will link you to communities who can help give you the strength and accountability you need to finally stop enabling an addict and their drug habits.
Why Is Drug Addiction So Hard To Overcome
Although not everyone who uses illegal drugs or prescription medication will go on to develop an addiction, there are some who will become physically dependent on these substances. This is because the drugs alter the way the brain functions and, over time, the affected persons brain and body will come to expect these substances to arrive. The brain will adapt to the presence of drugs and will produce less feel good chemicals than it did when the individual initially began taking the substance. This is known as tolerance and usually results in a temptation to take more of the drugs in order to achieve the desired effect. However, the more drugs the individual takes, the more he or she will come to depend on them, which can quickly lead to addiction. Once you understand this, it will mean the question of why is drug addiction so hard to overcome starts to make more sense.
Read Also: What Causes Addiction In The Brain
How To Become Less Selfish
There will be various paths to becoming less selfish. As mentioned earlier, counseling is a feasible way to learn how to be less selfish. Others tend to read books on the topic, whether its personal development or spiritual books. The 12 Step programs will encourage those in recovery to hand over their defects, including selfishness, to a Higher Power. Religious folks will encourage them to ask God for help. Buddhists may encourage meditation and following their eight fold path to enlightenment. There are plenty of avenues to address selfishness.
Does Sobriety Help Selfishness
Getting sober is helpful in the journey of recovery. Alcohol keeps a cloud over the mind of an addict, and removing that cloud can help them to see the issues alcohol has caused.
Once free of alcohol, a person may realize that their behaviors were self-focused and harmful to those around them. Changing those behaviors can start once the person has stopped abusing alcohol or drugs.
Addiction is a compulsion that causes uncontrollable urges. This type of behavior is often seen as selfish. Once free of the physical dependency on alcohol, the behaviors that follow addiction can be addressed.
You May Like: How To Know If You Are Addicted To Alcohol
Take Care Of Yourself
This is one of the most important things that you can do if you know someone suffering from addiction. Helping someone with an addiction can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining, and it is important to care for yourself first. Recognise that this is not selfish, it is self-care. It can be heart-breaking to see someone make the same mistakes repeatedly, but you need to take care of yourself before you can help anyone else. Addiction is a family disease, one that can break up relationships and ruin multiple lives, and it is a chronic disease that will affect those closest to the person addicted for the rest of their lives. Please take the time to reach out to others for support, and here are some things you can do to help yourself:
- Dont blame yourself
- Eat healthily and exercise
Dangers Of Excessive Self
Excessive self-absorption is like being trapped inside a prison. It prevents people from getting the most out of life. It can lead to dangers such as:
* The more people are focused on their problems the more they will tend to suffer. Thinking about personal difficulties excessively is not beneficial in any way. Those individuals who are less self-absorbed tend to be a lot happier.* Excessive self-absorption is an unattractive character trait. It can be hard for people who are so focused on themselves to make genuine friendships. It can also make it difficult for people to establish romantic relationships if they appear too needy.* It can be really difficult for friends with because it can feel like their own needs are always being ignored. If people are overly self-absorbed they do not really care about other peoples feelings and perspective. It is all me, me, me .* Those individuals who are self-absorbed are more prone to becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs. This obsession with self is one of the characteristics of the addictive personality.
You May Like: How To Deal With An Addictive Personality
Being Selfish In Addiction Recovery
In my experience, we recovering addicts have to be selfish in some ways. We have to put our recovery first. For Leah, certainly aiding her friend in purchasing drugs would be bad for both of them. In addition, given Sarah’s drug use and disregard for Leah’s well-being, I believe Leah is justified in taking a break from their friendship. If that means Sarah has to find another way to the clinic, then so be it. In the grander scheme it is more important for Leah to stay clean and sober so she can be an even bigger help to Sarah and others.
Putting Sobriety First Sometimes Means Saying No
Personally, I don’t mess around with things I find triggering. It amazes me when I hear fellow addicts in recovery talk about bringing wine as a gift or being responsible for drinks at a party or holiday. I don’t know why anyone in recovery would want to do this, except perhaps it makes them feel non-alcoholic. I’m not judging anyone for this the pressure to feel “normal” in society is tremendous. I’ve had to develop a certain protective confidence to say “no.”
I have turned down many invitations to go out for drinks after work. I’ve been accused of never going to events I’m invited to by co-workers. But I am not antisocial. I frequently attend events where others are drinking. I just don’t attend events where getting intoxicated is the main draw.
If someone asked me to pick up alcohol for a get-together, I would politely tell them I could not. Similarly, I do not keep alcohol in my house and when I have people over for movies or barbecues I don’t supply alcohol. Honestly, the way I figure it, if a friend of mine does not want to hang out with me without being intoxicated, then we probably don’t have much in common. If you can’t tolerate a party that’s alcohol free, that’s really your problem, not mine. It might be selfish, but it’s an attitude I feel I have to take.
You can find Kira Lesley on , and
Recommended Reading: What Drugs Are The Most Addictive
Finding The Ideal Treatment In The Uk
Alternatively, you could opt for an outpatient programme where you would attend regular counselling and therapy sessions but would not stay overnight in the clinic. Outpatient programmes are less intensive than residential programmes and so tend to run for longer. They are typically suited to those with less severe addictions because the individual must also deal with their everyday lives while trying to overcome their illness.
Most experts agree that those with a severe addiction would benefit from an initial inpatient programme as it means they are removed from their everyday lives and placed in a distraction-free environment where they have no choice but to focus on getting better.
If you have ever wondered why is drug addiction so hard to overcome, it may be that you did not get the right help. Contact us here at UK Rehab and we can provide a fully comprehensive assessment of your situation. This will then enable us to match you to the most suitable rehab provider in your area, where you will get the full support that you need to finally beat your addiction.
Dont Focus On Guilt Or Shame
Someone struggling with addiction is usually already feeling deep guilt, shame and anger about their using. In addition, many feel judged by their family and friends, and will act defensively in response to any criticism that is levelled at them. Rather than helping, if the judgement or moralising does appear, they may turn to using to combat the feelings of stress that this gives them.
It is understandable however, as the person suffering may have already deeply hurt you, broken your trust or angered you. Where there is love left though, it is important to understand that feelings of shame, anger, and judgement can negatively affect your relationship with the person addicted and actively harm their chances of recovery. Research shows that shame is one of the least effective incentives to change, because it is isolating, painful and can make the addicted person believe they are unworthy of love or treatment.
Read Also: Can You Get Addicted To Melatonin
Are You Struggling With Alcoholism Or Selfishness
If youre struggling with alcoholism, you may also be struggling with selfishness. Or you may be in recovery, yet still feel and act selfish. Good news is that hope and help is available for you to recover from alcoholism and selfishness. Its going to take some time and effort, and learning some good tools, but its possible.
If youre struggling, reach out for help. There are treatment centers, counselors, and 12 Step groups ready and willing to assist you get free from the grip of alcoholism and selfishness. You dont have to stay stuck in the muck any longer. Simply admit that youre struggling and reach out for help. There is a beautiful life on the other side of addiction, and its your time to start walking a path to get there.
Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-276-2886 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.
Behaviors Your Addicted Loved One Uses To Keep You Off Their Back
Have you ever tried to talk with your addicted loved one only to have them blow up in your face? Have you ever felt crazy, like you did something wrong? Are you being trained to shut up? Has your home become a war zone? If you said yes, you need to read this.
Addiction is a progressive and terminal illness. Those with it are in denial. They suffer from delusion and dont know how sick they really are. Substance abusers protect their illness by using defensive maneuvers and playing mind games. They deny the seriousness of their problem by exhibiting dishonest, pathological, intimidating and manipulative behaviors. Below are the five main ones.
- Bait and switch Have you ever confronted your addicted loved one only to find yourself being verbally attacked and your actions being questioned? This manipulative defense tactic quickly escalates into a yelling match. The addicted person throws you off balance by arguing about events that happened in the past, avoiding responsibility for their present actions. This tactic works well. Families who engage are quick to anger at the injustice of the situation and will argue back. You might even lose all control and revert to the same ugly behaviors as your sick loved one yelling, swearing and saying things you later regret. You bit and now you pay. Payment usually comes in the form of feeling remorseful and guilty, then overcompensating by enabling or giving in to the addicted persons demands.
You May Like: How To Overcome Sugar Addiction
Alcoholic Selfishness And Dry Drunk Syndrome
When a person is able to stop drinking but doesnt work to make lasting behavioral or emotional changes to themselves, it can be harmful.
Those that remain aggressive, selfish, mean, or continue to exhibit other narcissistic traits are often referred to as dry drunks.
These individuals continue to act how they did when they were drinking, but without alcohol. They can come off as angry, easily agitated, rude, and often judgmental.
Recovery takes work, and while quitting drinking is a very important first step, sobriety is more than just putting down the bottle.
Some People Sober Up But They’re Still Jerks
Why do people, who have been sober for years, behave inappropriately with alarming regularity? Recently, I was asked this question in group therapy . The person who posed the question felt she had been misled. She believed that, even after decades of recovery, some people were “still messed up and acting out their issues.”
Similarly, a reader who commented on my post, “What Recovering Alcoholics Can Teach Us About Happiness,” discussed her negative experience in AA. She described some longtime members as “seething cauldrons of anger.” Another commenter observed that many AA members are caught in a cycle of negativity. This is certainly a common view for many who spend time in AA.
There are several possible reasons.
When someone enters addiction recovery and starts attending 12-step meetings they hear of the wonders that await them if they can remain sober. This is in the form of what Alcoholics Anonymous calls The Promises. To acquaint those unfamiliar with AA, here are The Promises:
These are lofty promises. Those who have been invested in AA swear these promises are realized. Many newcomers wonder how long-time members can make these claims when sober members are still acting out.
However, this is not the only reason.
Read Also: How To Cure An Internet Addiction