Help someone get addiction free by showing them that
you trust them. People in the grip of addiction have very low self esteem and so to support them to move forward and break this cycle a key way to help them is to show them appropriate trust. At different stages in their recovery you can give them more and more opportunities to take personal responsibility. At the height of their addiction they may be constantly deceitful and so, offering opportunities to gain
trust when they are likely to let people down will only serve to undermine the
relationship, exhaust and frustrate you; ultimately result in guilt and regret
for the addict leading to a fall in their self esteem. However even here there is the opportunity to grow some level personal responsibility.
TRUST WITH SMALL THINGS FIRST
In the midst of addiction, it is better to offer only
a limited remit to show trust. Giving someone financial responsibility, when
all the evidence is that they fail to manage their instant gratification drives
will only cause the addict to keep their distance. Let them prove themselves on the small things first.
In these circumstances it is better to limit access to resources, but show trust, by allowing them to share what they are up to. Remind them that you hope that they can be honest and that you trust them to tell you about how they feel, even though they can be dishonest about their addictive behaviours, (what they use, where they get the money, how often they are engaging in their addictive behaviour etc).
Addicts often lie about their addictive behaviour to their loved ones because they know that they are hurting the ones that they love. They lie, as much out of love for those around them, but also out of shame that they are being controlled by their addiction.
Addicts can and do make progress, even from the depths of the chaotic behaviour. As they demonstrate that they are making progress, small elements of trust can be expanded to bigger and bigger elements.
For heroin users who have switched to methadone, the
treatment system employs a similar trusting process. Initially addicts who are
prescribed methadone are given a precise dose and are observed taking this dose
every day by their pharmacist.
TRUST BUILDS SELF ESTEEM
Over time medication supervision is reduced and eventually ends. These incremental stages of giving more and more trust help grow self esteem, are milestones of recovery, help build life long sustainable recovery and result in becoming completely addiction free.
In rehab, this model is replicated throughout the treatment of the addict. Initially, in many residential rehabs, the recovering addict is not able to leave the building unescorted, nor are they left unattended as they may make poor choices. During their treatment they are afforded trust to make more and more, high value decisions, like taking personal and community decisions such as food preparation, cash handling and being trusted to support the decisions of the other rehab residents.
USE TRUST TO HELP A LOVED ONE BECOME ADDICTION FREE
To support a loved one to beat their addiction and live a fulfilling life in recovery, accept that in many ways their addiction makes them vulnerable to behave in ways that mean they should not be set up to fail and instead you should find ways in which they can be trusted. Small steps will support them to trust themselves and find their addiction free recovery.
STAGES OF TRUSTING
To build self esteem in the early stages of recovery you should allow someone trust to do low level things such as putting the bins out, to tidy their room, build a simple self management routine such as shaving but also at a personal level to share how they are feeling. As they progress in recovery they should be trusted to take more responsibility, not only for themselves but for others too such by being responsible for cooking a family meal or to take the family out for the day. The should also be given responsibility to handle modest amounts of cash e.g. for a family shop. They should also become more responsible for their own recovery by being encouraged to ask for help if they need it but otherwise to be trusted should they not ask. As they mature into their recovery they will gain more and more self esteem as they recognise that their own coping strategies are re-emerging and that they are capable and trusted to manage their own affairs and those of the people they love.
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