First off this post is not going to define drug addiction. But will only focus on its effects on the family and loved ones of addicts. The information can be used in relation to other addictions as well. You can find the definition of different drugs and what they are here including side effects at family support network
The most common effects are:
- Not understanding/lack of awareness and denial of what the drug your child/partner is taking. So I would read the above list and get to know them and their side effects. Educate yourself, this is vital in your battle with drugs or any kind of addiction, knowledge is power. The book by Craig Nakken The Addictive Personality is an excellent source of information about the personality of addicts.
- The deceitful nature of the disease: the lying, the financial hardship, the intimidation by loved one/drug dealers. Again getting support is vital here. I would recommend two organisation but there are plenty more out there. The Family Support Network and Nar-Anon both organisations have a lot of information and support on their websites. Please take a look.
- On the subject of Intimidation: there is confidential Garda support (Irish Police) and the family support network also offers advice and support on this matter. But only you can decide what you want to do about this. Please check out the video on this subject here
4. Mental/Physical health issues: The stress, strain, isolation, shame, self-neglect, guilt, grief, loneliness, arguments all add up. Most families will have developed health issues including depression and stress-related illness.
Of course, you're going to have confused feelings around the addict. They have deceived you, stole from you, caused financial hardships, led to intimidating knocks on your door, the property is stolen or damaged, you live in fear of "that" knock on the door from the police telling you they are dead or arrested. This list goes on.
You will hate and love the person you will feel guilty about this you will feel manipulated by them you'll feel angry with them and guilt over this simultaneously. You'll feel guilty because the children in the family are being neglected and scared All because this person you love is an addict and has become the centre of your universe. You no longer matter, others no longer matter. The addicts are the only ones who matter. You think you are going mad, guess what you are because that is what addiction does to you the family member, the partner, the friend of an addict.
What can you do for you?
Get help, you need help to solve your problem. Yes, it is your problem. The addict has their problem with addiction but you have a problem called co-dependency. (See the link below for a blog on co-dependency) You need help just like they do and until you get it things won't change for the better. You are as addicted to the addict as they are to their drugs.
Can things change for the better? Yes, they can. You need to seek help from someplace like your GP, the Family Support Network and Nar-Anon. You need therapy. You need to relearn how to look after yourself again (self-care and health boundaries) and the other members of your family too need help and support. Children need therapy and support too. Find out all you can about drugs, what they do and the side effects. Reach out to talk to others who have been in your place this will help ease the isolation, loneliness, guilt and shame. Look for help with financial problems through MABS. Ask for social welfare help or FIS. Seek support from Women's Aid or Refuge or Amen (if you are a man seeking help for domestic violence) all links below. You may have to change the locks on your door, open a separate bank account or move home. These are the facts of life living with an addict. You need help, there is help available you are not alone, you shouldn't feel ashamed or guilty. But above all reach out ask for help, keep asking for help.
To help yourself check out my blog on Co-dependency
These are some steps you can take to help yourself and your loved one.
- You can not change someone else. You can only change yourself.
- You can not get someone to receive help unless they are willing to do so.
- You didn’t cause this addiction and any other additional problems associated with it.
- You can not cure this addiction but you can ask for help for yourself so you can better understand how to deal with your loved one’s behaviour and help yourself.
- Stop covering for them, allow them to take the responsibility for their addiction.
- Don’t interrogate the person it won’t help you or them.
- Instead, you need to start to bring your focus to you and any children involved and get help from your GP, counselling. FLAC (can explain to you your legal rights – free advice) and MABS.(financial advice and free service they will also help talk to your creditors, as with any other addiction money issues will arise as money is spent on alcohol)
- Stop giving or lending money to the person involved.
- If you are earning money yourself make sure they do not have access to your bank account or any savings.
If you have been affected by addictions we can help with therapy and support call 0894373641 for an appointment.
Other support links:
Money Advice service in the UK
Drugs and alcohol advice in the UK
Amen For domestic abuse support for men Ireland
Mankind For domestic abuse support for men in the UK
Dessa’s remit is to develop and deliver social inclusion initiatives to people with disabilities
Information services for travellers