Anyone who has ever lived with an addict knows that life can be challenging, at best. Although you may not realize it, addiction impacts your life in more ways than you care to imagine. Yes, there is the constant worry that they are literally killing themselves and are making horrible choices due to lack of clear reasoning when in the grips of the disease. And, make no bones about it, addiction is a disease. If you are struggling to come to terms with living with an addict, here are some common concerns you may be dealing with.
How to Know When You Are an Enabler
Sometimes, in the name of love, we subconsciously enable an addict to continue down the path they are on. From covering for them at work to giving them money when theirs runs out, those seemingly ‘little things’ are, in fact, enabling your friend or loved one in their addiction. Ask yourself: are you covering for them or making excuses for their behavior? If so, you are, indeed, enabling them because you are not letting them face the consequences of addiction. When you are unsure of how your actions might be enabling an addict, you can seek counseling yourself. This could be a vital step in the recovery of someone you love.
Is There Any Such Thing as a Contact High?
When you live in close contact with an addict, you may be wondering, “Can you get a contact high?” This is a very good question, but the answer isn’t quite as obvious as you might think. In fact, there is no short answer. Some drugs are highly toxic and can cause certain effects if you come in contact with the substance. Methamphetamine is the one drug out there whereby you can suffer ill effects if your skin comes in contact with the drug itself or the dangerous chemicals used to manufacture the drug. This one has a definitive and absolute “Yes, you can get a contact high from meth.”
There is little likelihood that you would get a contact high from other drugs and alcohol, except in the case of cannabis. It is possible to feel the effects of marijuana if you are subjected to second-hand smoke. Also, oils and tinctures are a huge concern because they can penetrate the skin. Even minute amounts will affect anyone who has contact with them.
Can You Force Someone to Get Treatment?
Here is the most common concern for anyone living with an addict. While you ‘can’ force someone into treatment as the result of an “or else” edict, you can’t force them to recover. Unless an addict wants to get clean and sober, chances are slim that they will remain a recovering addict. They are the ones who must want to recover, and that really is the bottom line.
It may be difficult, in fact, it will be difficult, to step back from someone you love who isn’t ready to seek recovery. By alleviating their pain, we are enabling them to continue down this dangerous path, as mentioned above. It isn’t only the addict who must say “No!” to drugs, but everyone around them must have the same mindset. You can be emotionally supportive without being an enabler and you can offer them options for treatment, but you can’t make them want to recover. That’s on them.
Support groups like Nar-Anon and Al-Anon can help you understand and work through the common concerns of living with addicts. Remember, you are not alone.