Drug Addiction has been on the rise for several years now and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse it doesn’t appear to be stabilizing – much less lowering – anytime soon.
I have witnessed the mental and physical effects of drug abuse first hand, and, as I would imagine, many reading this can say the same.
Being close to a drug addict is like walking a bridge that can break beneath your feet at any given time.
It’s the push-pull effect. One minute they couldn’t be any happier to be surrounded by your presence, and the next they don’t want you anywhere near them.
Their actions and patterns of behavior are unpredictable.
Not only do they destroy themselves, but they can, and most likely will, be destructive towards you.
I grew close to a recovering heroin addict who relapsed with opioid pills, specifically Oxytocin and Hydrocodone.
His sober persona made him seem like one of the sweeter, more charismatic men I had encountered.
He was well-rounded appearing ambitious, charming, intelligent, active, kind and caring.
Opposite of that, his addict personality proved him to be callous, lazy, manipulative and highly insensitive.
Someone who uses can have some very consequential effects on the ones they are closest too.
One of the bigger effects they can have on you is they begin to consume your whole life. You may start to find yourself waking up nervous every morning just to hear that they made it through the night.
It’s not even that your sole worry is if they overdosed.
You worry that they had an accident, got into a nasty fight with someone, a car accident or even tangled themselves up in a legal matter that would change everything.
The worries start off small than the snowball effect happens, until all you can think about is if they’re okay, or being honest with you.
Being close to a drug addict is watching them go from lifeless to listless in a matter of minutes.
It’s losing the valuable social component to the relationship you had with that person.
In the middle of a conversation, you look over and find that they’ve nodded off and even if you nudge them they won’t wake up.
It’s understanding that without a doubt they are going to lash out at you, often.
They become unstable in their emotions and start to pick at the little things about you that just drive them berserk.
It’s common to take their harsh criticism to heart, and to start obsessing over what it is you’re doing that’s wrong.
I suggest not taking this path. Rather, take what they say with a grain of salt, and move on.
Drug addicts tend to be volatile and unstable people whose opinion of you may shift dramatically by the next time you see them.
The biggest struggle of being close to someone who suffers from a drug addiction is learning how to handle the inevitable lies and deception that will come with it.
According to Psychcentral, an addict will do everything in their power to preserve the addiction and lying is a way of doing just that.
At some point, an addict will be aware of the pain he/she has caused on another, thus they begin to avoid reality.
By creating alternate logical “truths,” they’ve provided themselves with a defense mechanism to help oppress their guilt.
If you’re in a situation dealing with a drug addict, whether it be a relative, significant other or close friend, my strongest piece of advice to you is to take care of yourself and always put yourself first.
You could bend over backwards trying to help them, and unless they want help they’ll never accept yours.
Instead, it’ll push them farther from you.
Though it can be nearly impossible to break from someone who’s struggling, sometimes it is what’s best, even if it’s just temporary.
Don’t dwell on the sober version of that person you miss so dearly, instead accept who they are now and that they aren’t willing to change at this time – and remember, it’s not your fault.
Cassidy Chambers is sophomore political science major from Hendersonville, North Carolina