Top Ten List for Drug Addiction and Recovery Awareness

  1. People with drug addictions are not bad people; they are not monsters.

-There is an incredibly false stereotypical view on drug addicts, and it’s that they are bad, immoral, evil people simply because they are addicted to a drug. This cannot be any more false. Drugs make people act in certain ways and say certain things that they would never think to say or do in a million years. It is not the person that is evil and bad; the drug they are addicted to is. The person doesn’t commit crimes and steal because they are monsters; it’s the drug that is forcing this out of them against their will because of their addiction. If you’re going to take one thing away from this list, take this fact. To me, it’s the most important thing to realize and remember about any drug addict.

 

  1. People with drug addictions don’t want to have drug addictions.

– Most of the time, people don’t even try to become addicted to a drug. It just happens. One drink a night turns into two, eventually three and before you know it you’re addicted to alcohol. Cigarettes, same thing. It is the same thing with hard drugs too. “Oh it’s fine I’m just gonna try it once,” and before you know it it’s all you’re thinking about and you’re hooked. Nobody wants this. No one wants to have to depend on something for them to be able to function normally. In retrospect, this can happen to anybody who just “tries something once”.

 

  1. Recovery is not a one or two week process; it’s a lifelong battle.

– Once a person is addicted to a drug, every single day of the rest of their lives is a recovery within itself. Everywhere they look there are triggers, and they have to fight with themselves on whether or not they should relapse. Just because someone has been sober for ten years doesn’t mean they are any less susceptible than someone that has only been sober for a day. There’s always a monkey on their backs.

 

  1. If you have been trying to help someone with an addiction and you feel as if anything you say or do never seems to work, do not give up!

– This doesn’t mean that you should always nag them or criticize them about their addiction being a problem (that definitely will not be helpful), this just means that you should always try to guide them in the right direction. Always be there for them. Being supportive, doing sober activities and leading them to new and helpful resources, and getting them to go to rehab (even if it’s not for the first time) to recover is the best thing you can do as someone who cares.

 

  1. It’s important not to push any recovering addict away.

-Many people I grew up with became drug addicts. Each of their addictions were/are to hard drugs. A couple of people in particular became so addicted that nobody wanted to be around them at all anymore because all they wanted was a fix. So, these two in particular would only hang around other drug users and blow off their real friends, and even family. After having multiple conversations with them about it, they told me that they felt so alone because they felt that their friends pushed them away and had abandoned them. This gave them all the more reason to keep using. They felt like they had nobody, especially since the people they were doing drugs with started dying.

 

  1. Empathize!

– One of my friends who has a heroin addiction went to rehab and has been clean for three years now. One time when I was hanging out with her, she very badly wanted a fix. Instead of the traditional pleading and begging not to relapse, I simply said “Okay, if you go get some make sure you bring me back some too, I want to try it”. I would never actually touch heroin in my life, but I felt that maybe this approach would hit her in a different way than me begging her not to relapse would have. Right after I said this, she broke down and told me that she never wants me to feel the way that she feels with her addiction. She ended up not going to get a fix that night and is still clean today. Now, I’m not saying that this is in any way the correct approach for a recovering addict. I don’t think it is at all. The point of my story is to emphasize how important it is to empathize with people with drug addictions. The struggle that they deal with day by day is heavy, dark and unbelievable. Many people forget that.

 

  1. Don’t let them convince you to do drugs or make bad decisions with them.

– This one may seem obvious, but people that are addicted to drugs are very good at manipulation and persuasion. It is surprising how great they can make a very bad thing sound. No matter how convincing they may be, never agree to do any of it with them! Instead, try to get them to do some other activity with you so they can keep their minds off of it.

 

  1. Understand how to help an addict, not enable them.

– These two words can often be mixed up. You may think you are helping when in reality you are actually enabling. For example, if you try to help an addict by giving them money when they’re short or letting them use your car, you’re enabling them to prolong their habits. These kind gestures are not doing anything good for them, they are just making the situation worse. This can be tough because as a friend or a family member you want to do everything you can. Saying no to your friend who is an addict could save them from taking that short drive to use, and potentially overdose. Learning the difference of enabling and helping can save somebody’s life.

 

  1. If it starts to emotionally and physically batter you and consume your life, it’s okay to take a step back and focus on yourself.

– Being healthy and happy is important for everybody. It’s hard to focus on others when you can’t even focus on yourself anymore. Take care of yourself! This doesn’t mean you’re turning away your loved one who is an addict, it just means your mental and physical health is just as important as theirs is.

 

  1. If you have family, friends or acquaintances struggling with an addiction, start a group with all of your friends for the ones that are recovering.

– I started a group in my hometown, a suburb of Chicago, where there is a very bad heroin epidemic. I grew up with many people that battle with addictions and many of those friends have died. After becoming very sick of death being a normal thing for the youth in our town, my friends and I decided to start a small group that is for our friends who are recovering addicts. They really appreciate that they feel comfortable talking to and doing sober, fun activities with people that care about them. My friends and I have been told on many occasions by the people in our group that our group has helped put a sense of purpose back into their lives. Their loneliness and helplessness is uplifted, and this is the vital in helping a person recover from any drug addiction.