Dr. Cali Estes: 5 Deadly Mistakes You Make When a Loved One Has an Addiction
1. Sending money and expecting them to pay the rent, electric, food or other bills with the money. An addict in active use will use the cash for drugs or gambling and then call for more money when the eviction notice is slapped on the door. Parents and loved ones panic and try to fix the problem the addict has which results in more money being sent. If you are paying for something, pay it directly. Send a check to the landlord or pay the electric bill directly. Do not send the addict in active use cash. Send a food card if necessary or take them to the grocery store and buy the food with them.
2. Rescue the Active Addict. The Addict in active use will always be in a state of chaos and call frantic, needing to have an issue handled. Resist the urge to jump in and fix the problem for them. Let them attempt to figure out the issue on their own and struggle.
3. Lack of Self Care. With focusing on the addict in active addiction, you lose what you need to take care of. Doctors appointments get missed, dinner is not prepared, you find that you are not eating well and sitting up worrying about your loved one. It is imperative that you take care of yourself during this time period. Go to the gym, yoga, for a walk, etc.
4. Allowing your anger to consume you and accusing the addict of ruining your life. They have a ton of shame and guilt around what they are doing and how it is affecting you. They know what is going on. Yelling and screaming and calling them a ‘junkie’ does not help, it magnifies the guilt and causes them to continue to use.
5. Setting consequences and then not following through with them. If you threaten divorce or to throw them out and never do, they have learned to manipulate you and will continue to do so. Whatever you say you will do, make sure you follow through with it.
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