Watching a loved one struggle with the reality of addiction can be distressing to watch. You care for them and want what’s best for them. Most of the time, it can be easy to be frustrated with the addict in your life.
It’s hard to understand why they allow their addiction to control their life, especially when it can negatively impact their relationships, career, and more. While substance abuse is highly damaging, quitting an addiction is more than an easy fix. It is more than simply deciding to just quit.
Even though it can be upsetting, you need to realize that the addict cannot simply quit as there are chemical changes, life habits, bad relationships, and attitudes that are fundamentally worked into the addict that need to be addressed and worked on in order for them to be able to quit.
In the addict, there are changes in them chemically that allows the drug to take hold. As shown in the NIH, their serotonin levels go down as they are receiving high amounts of serotonin from their drug.
Serotonin provides the feeling of pleasure. When they try to quit their drug they are no longer getting the high levels of serotonin from their drug, and their natural serotonin levels are down.
This means working your way through quitting can be extremely difficult and unpleasant. Quitting is more than simply putting the drug down. The addict has to have the willpower to stay strong through a highly uncomfortable and painful experience due to the chemical changes in their body.
Quitting a drug is also more than the drug itself. Oftentimes, addicts need to change core life habits in order to quit. This means getting away from usual hangouts that temp them into going back to the drug.
It can mean getting new hobbies in order to replace their old drug habits. When an addict quits, their entire life gets changed around. It is not an easy experience.
When an addict quits it is likely they will have to terminate any problematic relationships they had with people that further their drug use. Ending friendships and relationships is painful enough without the added suffering of quitting itself.
Getting rid of bad figures in their life is essential or else the temptation to do the drugs again is right in front of them. Not only is it easier to get when they have ties with a drug crowd, but it is likely they are also getting influenced to do the drugs by the people themselves.
Having a group that is pressuring the addict into doing the drugs, when they want to do it so bad themselves is just a relapse waiting to happen. When you ask an addict to quit, you are also asking them to end relationships. This becomes a lot more complicated than simply putting the drug down.
An addict can feel very isolated. When an addict tires to quit it can feel like they are all alone in the world with nothing to comfort them. What they need is a support system that is there to comfort and support them. If you are not willing to put work into their recovery, it is unlikely that they can do it by themselves. When you ask them to quit, you need to make sure you can be there for them through it as well.
You need to make sure the addict wants to quit. If they don’t want to, you asking them to isn’t going to change anything. They can’t “just quit” if their attitude is blasé toward the idea of it.
If you really want to help them quit, show them the positives of a drug free life, while being there for them through their rough times. If they learn to trust you and know you’ll be there for them, it is more likely that they will want to quit.
Quitting is a complex, difficult decision to make. Don’t be too rash on the addicted, as it is harder than you might think for them to quit.