Annette Nay, PhD

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Dealing with a Drug Addict
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright 1999

Dear Annette,

I noticed that you mentioned drug abuse counseling. My husband is having trouble getting past the mental withdrawal from opiate addiction. He went to rehab and was clean for a month then he started to feel suicidal and what he describes as "not wanting to be in his body" He is not doing it every day like before rehab but it will probably end up that way soon. Is there any way to help him. He says he doesn't feel normal without the drugs. (morphine, lortab, vicoden, etc.) can you tell where he should go for help with the mental part? Does he need antidepressants? Any help you offer would be very much appreciated. I want him to be okay. To be normal and "Drug-Free."

Please help me,
Troubled

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Troubled,

Generally, the drug addict finds that he does not want do deal with life without his drug of choice. Cold hard reality is not a friendly place to be without the rosy effects of drugs. My drug clients state that while they are high, the drug helps them to:

  • feel better physically, because they are not having withdraw symptoms and little or no physical pain.
  • be sharp mentally. They claim they think clearer and faster.
  • deal with life emotionally, like superman. There is nothing they can't handle.
Why should they give up all this to:
  • go to boring job every day
  • be in the here and now with cold harsh reality that they can't handle
  • cope with lousy problems when they can forget them under the influence
  • have physical pain from withdrawal or other bodily aches and pains
  • be mentally tortured every moment of the day for the high the drug can give.

The families and/or spouse, the law, health hazards from using, are minor irritants next to how the drug makes they feel. Your wants and desires are almost meaningless.

So what do you do if he chooses not to change?

Read about your options in: Options for Families of Drug Abusers

How can you make a good decision on how you should act?

See: Making Good Decisions

If he truly wants to change This is what I suggest:

  1. If he hasn't had a priesthood blessing lately, he needs one.
  2. If he has not invited God to be part of his treatment then he had better. He will never make it alone. This thing is bigger that he can handle. God had better be part of his every waking breath. God and he had better become the best of buddies, walking and talking together all day long. This is actually not a bad thing. God is actually a very nice person to be around.

How can this happen? All he has to have is a hope that there is a God. With that hope he should pray and ask the Lord into his life to help him.

For the Drug Addict:

  1. Take God down off His pedestal, dust Him off and use Him. Make Him your friend.
    How do you make a friend? Do you talk, share confidences, go for walks together, cook together, cloud-watch to look for shapes, and laugh and cry together?
    Do the things that I have suggested above and more. Make your God someone who you can and would want to go to for any reason, just to be near Him, because you have come to love Him so much. So much so that you can't stand to be away from Him because it would break your heart.
    Note: All prayers do not have to take place on your knees. A pray can be only a thought away.
  2. My drug addicted clients told me that they didn't feel real without their drugs. The altered states that drugs gives people is a rosy glow effect. Everything seems better. Never having that again and having to come back to a very dull life full of harsh realities can make anyone suicidal if they don't have good coping skills. I have found that most people that turn to drugs for solace do not have good coping skills. What I mean by that is, what few skill they had were not working so they tried drugs to cover them up. Not wanting to be in your body anymore is another way of coping with the lack of pizzazz the drugs gave you. This is not good! Learn and apply healthy coping skills. Incorporate as many of these into your life as possible. Keep the list with you to look at and use instead of doing drugs.
  3. Read and incorporate Drug-Free Objectives and Relapse Prevention Tips.
  4. Attend the nearest Codependents, Narcotics Anonymous, or Alcoholics Anonymous (NA/AA) group regularly.
  5. Seek out professional counseling as needed in or to find answers to the questions in Drug-Free Objectives and Relapse Prevention Tips or to help you incorporate those items into your life.

 


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