Do you have someone close to you or know that someone that you love is struggling with using substances? When it comes to having a problem with drinking or drugs, sometimes the signs can be there long before we realize that there is a problem.
How we find out is often significant of where the process is at. It may be possible that your loved one confided in you about the nature of their issue because they are feeling overwhelmed or they got caught in a scenario where they were visibly intoxicated. Perhaps you heard about it from a relative or put the pieces together when they were fired from their job and were acting strangely when you last saw them.
While it can be a shock and even upsetting to find out that someone you care about deeply is struggling with dependency or reliance or deep-set emotional or even psychological issues, it's also important to start the process of educating yourself about substance abuse in general. Now is not the time to plan a rushed intervention; nor it is a good idea to let someone know how their choices are affecting you as it is likely to get out of hand.
What should you do if you suspect or discover that someone close to you may have a problem with substances?
Having a substance abuse problem can be really tough. For individuals that have this problem, they often have no idea or even a concern that their behavior or lifestyle is affecting those close to them. Many people who are dealing with drinking or drug problems often hide their problem or cover up for the extent of it. This is so that they don't have to deal with that lifestyle changing or anyone possibly interfering with their routine.
Drinking and doing drugs can be a disease. Those close to individuals who have abuse problems don't always know that certain substances may lead to hostility and even unpredictable behavior and violence. Understand that this type of abuse is a disease and the individual may not always be able to stop-- even if part of them wants to.
As it is a disease, family members or friends may unwittingly enable this behavior by covering it up or simply acting as though it does not exist. While it is important to eventually confront the issue and perhaps tell the person how you feel, ideally it might be safer to go to the office of a licensed therapist or counselor that can mediate the discussion. However, it is better to be honest about your feelings. Have a third person there for support and safety.
Coming from a place of concern will ultimately be more effective than ranting about how they have hurt you. Remember that they are still sensitive and while they may seem tough, they are in a fragile place. Expressing concern and hope that they seek treatment or offering to help pay for rehabilitation may be helpful. If they turn you down, then you did what you could.
Those struggling with this type of abuse often need to choose to get help first. If you have been enabling someone close to you, stop and begin focusing on taking care of yourself. Remember that you need to live life for yourself too and that there are endless resources and materials available to you to do so.