How many times have friends and family tried one of a thousand ways to help a loved one find their way to recovery? It is as common as the dirt on the ground, and yet it almost never seems to work out very well. We all know that until someone is ready to recover, all our wanting for them to recover means little or nothing. But when we invite the addict to live with us, thinking we will keep them safe or off the streets, and that maybe, just maybe, they will see their way to a better place and stop drugging, we are only fooling ourselves. Things generally do not go the way we want. And sometimes, they go terribly wrong.

When someone is doing drugs, they tend to hang with others who do drugs as well. People always gravitate toward and become friends with others of similar type. How many times have you heard, “If you want to see who your child is, look at their friends?” People like to have fun doing the same things together. If you like to ski, you join a ski club. If you are into musician, you join a band. If you are a foodie, there are food and wine festivals for you. So, if you like to shoot heroin coke, meth, etc., your friends probably do as well. It happens because birds of a feather flock together.

Rational, reasonable people can become irrational and unstable when they are using drugs. Maybe not every drug, maybe not always, but you never know what will affect you, how it will affect you, or when it will revisit you. You also do not know that magic moment when you move from recreational abuser to addict. There is one other thing you do not know, and this could be a life-changer—as life-changing as a residential stay at a drug and alcohol rehab center.

You never know for sure what drugs another person is using. They may tell you, but you do not know if they are telling you everything. Luckily, there is one thing you know for sure that drug addicts lie, and they do it with conviction. They lie to your face, swear on their life that it’s the truth, and you just never know. And when an addict is using some of the hallucinogenic drugs, or taking a cocktail of drugs, neither you know what they will do nor they do, and that is where the danger lies.

How do you trust someone who can’t even trust themselves? They steal to support their habits; they lie to cover the thefts; they convince you that they are telling the truth. And still, you want them to live with you?

It is easy to say no when the addict is a friend or stranger. When they are one of your family members, the challenge is far greater. There is only one thing that matters, and that’s your sanity and safety. If you do not retain your sanity, you are worthless to everyone, including yourself. And the only way to retain it is not to lose control over your space. As much as you love someone, stop fearing what will happen to them if you don’t let them in. They already have been living like that, and they’ve survived. 

The most difficult choices in life are often the game-changers. When the addict sees that you no longer buy into their crap, it is their turning point. It’s at that moment of reality that they know they need help, that you are no longer there to save them. As you continue to cushion their fall, they have no motivation. All change is the result of discontent with your current situation. Give them a reason to change, and let your discontent with their situation be yours, one day at a time.

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