Wanting to help a loved one is natural. Wanting to help a loved one on drugs, is harder. Wanting to help a loved one on “Ice”, can seem impossible.
Navigating day to day life with someone on “Ice” (crystal methamphetamine) can be a nightmare. Not knowing how to help, what to say or when to say it. All the while your loved one is slipping away before your eyes.
Our Family Support Officer, Helen Gardner, comes along side those who’s loved ones are dealing with addiction. She offers support, compassion and a listening ear to those who have exhausted all the options. Those who just don’t know what to do and are seeking help though Teen Challenge.
Here, Helen shares some advice for parents, relatives and friends of those suffering an “Ice” addiction, and how they can help.
Often you may need to go against what seems like the ‘natural reaction.’ Condemning and seeking to offer good constructive advice may not help but actually push them away from you and the support you want to offer. Trying to ‘rescue’ will also be unproductive in helping them to change their life and lifestyle.
It is important we understand we may not get it right all the time – it is a difficult situation and there is no clear step by step formula to a solution.
It helps to be a good listener. Your loved one may be wanting to talk about what is happening to them and their experience. This could include explaining their reasons for using it and the way they feel. It may be upsetting, and will not be what you like talking about – but try not to get upset and not be judgmental. These attitudes will push them away, and may close the door to your support.
Encourage change. A person needs to come to their own decision to stop or reduce using “Ice.” Encourage them when they make this decision and remind them that it is possible and you believe they can do it with support. See the potential and value this person has. Acknowledge and value even small changes.
Stay positive. Take care of yourself and try to remain positive and hopeful. You may need support yourself to work through the challenges and find the strength you need. Ask for help.
Wisely choose your moment to talk. Do not try and discuss issues or sort our problems when your loved one is under the influence of a drug.
Set boundaries. Discuss what behaviour is acceptable and unacceptable in your home (eg bringing drugs into the home.) Establish rules and consequences for breaking the rules. Be sure you can abide by these consequences if broken.
Help them to be responsible. It is a temptation to try to protect your loved one from the consequences of their Ice use (eg phoning a boss to report them sick when they do not get up for work or an appointment). It will help them make positive choices when they begin to understand the consequences of their own choices for themselves.
Do not give money. If you want to help support them, supply a meal or warm clothing, or take them to the doctor.
Research treatment options. There are many different treatment options and support resources available. It will help if you are able to offer some suggestions and explain access to them for your loved one when they are ready to seek help (helplines, rehabilitation services, pastor).
Coming out of addiction is a journey, and different people will respond to different approaches differently. Support is also available through our family support. To talk or seek further advice call Teen Challenge on 07 3422 1500.