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Letting an addict suffer the negative consequences of drug use personally

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by stagsonline, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. stagsonline

    stagsonline Active Contributor

    We have all tried our best to help addicts but sometimes failed miserably. This is why I believe that sometimes addicts have to suffer the negative consequences of drug use personally without the intervention of others in order to trigger their own lowest points of desperation to surrender and seek help.

    Take this perfect example: When an alcoholic gets arrested, do you bail him out? Mind you, this is not the first time. Your answer is probably 'NO'. Why? Because you feel the addict has to bear the consequences of drug use even if it means a little jail time. Maybe, you hope that this will jolt him back to his right senses and force him to face his denial and change ways. We need to know what kind of help is appropraite and what isn't.

    What do you think of this? Is it effective or does it lead to more issues?
  2. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    Your example is part of the "Detachment with love" and "tough love" approaches. It is true that addicts do need to take responsibility for their own actions. Otherwise, we are enabling them if we keep bailing them out. As long as someone is there to take care of them, they will never learn. For some, being stuck in jail might be rock bottom. For others, arrests are no big deal and something much more drastic would be necessary
  3. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Such non-intervention methods may not work. Some people use drugs to escape reality. They don't care about consequences and even if they spend a week or so behind bars once they get out, they'll go right back to their bottle because the underlying issues haven't been solved. In such cases I think, doing nothing would make the person abuse the substance even more because they know they are all alone and the only way to get that out of their mind would be . . .
  4. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    I think that tough love approach is the best way to help an addict but this does not mean letting them get more and more damaged because they can self destruct very quickly. If you bail them out, they will continue to do this as they are in need of help and support rather than trying to face the world alone. Most addicts do not know what they are doing as they do live in another world, a dark one and they often cannot come out of it. Addicts need someone to be tough, to support them and to lead them to a recovery that will continue on for the remainder of their lives. Yes, they do have to want to help themselves but this can only happen once they are in rehab where they can see clearer and undrstand what they have done. Before this they are unaware of the damage being caused to others and to themselves.
  5. Allen24

    Allen24 Active Contributor

    I think it really depends on the individual. If I were dealing with someone who had repeatedly made the same mistake (like your example, getting arrested for intoxication) I would probably go with a three strikes type of deal. I can help out and forgive but I also wouldn't want the person to take advantage of that willingness.
  6. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    I think it really depends on the individuals involved here as everyone is different. When it comes to adults, this is sometimes what has to be done. I am in favor of as much communication as possible and giving people several chances to make the decision to get help and stop going down a destructive path, but ultimately, if you have already discussed with them where you stand, what the household rules or boundaries are and what they need to do, if they choose not to follow them and end up in jail, then I probably would not bail them out because they need to see follow through from their family and recognize that this is the natural consequence of their own choice.

    Tough love is hard on everybody though, and really has to be handled with care and not with anger. Anger will push someone away and may just make things worse.
  7. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think it might be best in some cases, but it's important to know if it is appropriate in a particular situation, in my opinion. Sometimes doing the tough love method just drives the person away or to more extreme behavior, if that's their particular type of personality.
  8. sillylab

    sillylab Member

    Yeah I have to agree with you based on personal experience. I witnessed this happen to a family member of mine. The rest of the family was cold and uncaring and it only made it a million times worse.
  9. Lexiloup

    Lexiloup Member

    I think that this is absolutely effective. From attending many nar-anon meetings I have learned that you can't enable the addict. No matter how much you love them if you do not allow them to suffer the consequences of their own actions they will never understand. They will always believe that they have someone to rely on and save them when the mess up. The phrase "detaching with love" has a lot of value in this situation.
  10. mickella18

    mickella18 Active Contributor

    So true! We definitely need to set boundaries sometimes. What we define as help may be doing more bad than good to the addict.
  11. LinB

    LinB Senior Contributor

    We all do suffer the negative consequences of your actions at some point in time. Did we learn or did we not learn? It was all up to us if we would accept the lesson that life was teaching us. This is because change is a personal decision. For us who are supporters of addicts, we have to follow our hearts in dealing with each individual situations that arise concerning our addicted love ones. It is out of the purity of our hearts that we will make decisions concerning them.
  12. I would agree with you on this approach. From experience I feel that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom in order to realize you need help. Coming from a broken home with a father who was an addict, I also had to use this "tough love" approach. As I got older I realized that I was not the problem, and started to realize I was only contributing to my father's illness. It was not until I had my own family that I realized I did not need this kind of negativity in my life. It hurt to let my father hit rock bottom but I also felt that it was the wake up call he needed. But it also helped me realize that you can only help people to a limit, the rest of the way is up to them. If a person does not want a good life for themselves than they will not do it for anybody else. Although he is an addict in denial, it help me realize I needed to remove myself from a negative situation.
  13. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Right that there should be boundaries cause sometimes helping does not help anymore and can make things worse. But this kind of approach does not work for everyone. It could depends on various factors like the personality and condition of a person.
  14. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Agreed. You can use anything either as a weapon or as a tool for molding an addict into what you want them to be.

    Sure letting an "addict be" hoping they'll realize doing drugs isn't good for them might appear to work temporarily but most people learn to adapt to new situations/conditions and once they do it will be much harder to get them to change.

    Only let go when you are certain all you are doing is wasting your time trying get the addict to change.
  15. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I loved the example given,because if someone keeps bailing their alcoholic loved one that will only hurt both of them in the long run. Because the alcoholic won't ever feel the need to change and become a better person, since it seems he always has that loved one backing him/her up. So no consequences really, she or he can go on with that lifestyle, but if you don't bail them out, then they might learn their lesson. They need to deal with the consequences of their actions
  16. irishrose

    irishrose Community Champion

    I agree with @LostmySis. Sometimes people need to experience rock bottom before they are willing to seek help. Unfortunately, everyone's rock bottom is different. A loved one of mine has a problem but still functions okay in day to day life. He has not been met with the full consequences of his actions yet, partly due to fellow family members enabling him some. I think once we are all on the same page and the enabling stops, he will more deeply experience the negative consequences of his actions.
  17. layton

    layton Member

    I completely agree with you. My dad was a really bad alcoholic. My grandmother enabled him all the way until his death. He would be in and out of jail and they would always pay his bail. I believe she should have let him get a taste of the prison life rather than helping him with his habit. As soon as he was bailed out he would go and buy more alcohol and get out of control intoxicated and wind up back in prison. I do believe in a thing called tough love. I feel that he would be alive today and also learned a lesson from spending time in prison. You have to want to help yourself before anyone can help you.
  18. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    I don't know if "non-intervention" would work for everyone. This could only lead to two things: for the betterment of an addict, or for the worsening of an addict. But as for me, if there's any way I could help, I would totally try to give this particular addict some sort of support and encouragement.