Addiction is a brain disease recognized by the American Medical Association. While a person's genetics play a role in whether he becomes an addict, it does not dictate his ability to overcome or fail to overcome addiction. Depending on his form of addiction, he will need to consult a medical and psychological doctor to treat physical and mental illness. He may also need to seek vocational and legal help. You can help the addict by being part of his recovery team. Remember, living with a recovering adult addict will not be simple. Rehabilitation takes time.
Discuss the addiction with the adult. Discover what the person is addicted to: drugs, alcohol, gambling or sex. Ask what triggers the recovering addict's need for the drug of her choice and what the person is doing to help herself overcome her addiction. You can't force an addict to be clean; the addict must want to be free of her addiction in order for you to help her.
Research the addict's drug of choice and make use of the resources available to you. If the adult addict uses narcotics or alcohol, attend a local Narcotic- or Alcoholics Anonymous or group. Learn the physical, behavioral and psychological warning signs of addiction. For example, addicts often have financial problems. If money or items begin disappearing from your home the addict may be suffering a setback. To help the addict you must know about the problem.
Take control of your home. Put prescription drugs in a secure location and remove alcohol from your home. Removing drugs and alcohol from your home will not prevent the addict from wanting them, but it will make them less accessible.
Make the rules and consequences of breaking those rules clear. State your desire to help the addict. Tell the adult addict, drug use or possession in your home is unacceptable. Let him know if he breaks the rule he will no longer be allowed to live in your home. Enforce your rules. Sex and gambling addicts may face different house rules. Let them know you will not pay for their addiction. If he uses your phone or computer to gamble or view pornography, he will no longer have access to your technology.
Seek counseling or therapy. You will need someone with whom you can discuss your frustrations, desires and success stories. A counselor or therapist can give you advise and remind you that recovery is a process which takes time. The therapist may even open your eyes to way in which you are enabling the adult addict.
- HERO House: Suggestions for Family Members of a Young Adult Addict
- American Medical Association; Science of Addiction; Nora Volkow
- Drug Rehab Blog; Living with a Recovering Drug Addict; Nick Hayes; January 2010
- Spiritual River: How Can I Help an Alcoholic or Drug Addict? -- Specific Things You Can Do to Help
- HelpGuide.org: Drug Abuse and Addiction
- Wichita Area A.A. Central Office: Newcomer Frequently Asked Questions
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