How to make an Addict Behave

When people ask me questions about the addict in their life, the only thing I hear is, “How can I make my Addict behave in ways I can understand?”  And the response to that question is: Seek to understand your own life.

You read that right — if you want an addict to get “fixed,” you should first attempt to understand why the Addict’s behavior triggers such strong responses in you.  My initial bet is that fear is dominating your thoughts.  You’re probably quite worried that the Addict in your life is going to die an ugly death as a result of the addiction.  Further, you might also be feeling ashamed of the Addict’s life conditions.  Really, you might be worried that you can’t “fix” the Addict or even that the Addict’s situation is somehow your fault.

Here’s the thing though: The Addict’s situation is not your fault.  Also, while death can await an untreated Addiction, life will present the Addict SEVERAL chances to find health.  Of that I’m certain.  Whether or not the Addict finds the motivation to partake of those chances is anybody’s guess, however, and there’s almost nothing you can do to MAKE someone do something they just don’t have reason to do.

You see, no one has to “want” to change, but there has to be a motivating REASON to change. Even if they don’t want to get clean, if the judge says ,”treatment or hard time,” an Addict will usually comply with the judge’s order to treatment.  But I can assure you that nothing you will do will change an Addict’s behavior.  The reality is that the harder you try to push an Addict into treatment, the more the Addict will resist and remain addicted.

So, then, it’s important for your own health to first, understand your own emotions surrounding the Addict and then second, make peace with those emotions.  Emotions, one understood, will generally burn themselves out and los their impact.  The problem is that few people actually dig into their emotions and try to face them head on.

Look, seeing your loved one become trapped in an addiction isn’t easy. But if you look inside your own heart and uproot the core reasons behind the emotions you will find answers.  Talk with a counselor, take a class, exercise; all those activities may not help the Addict in your life, but they can (and probably will) make you a healthier person.  With health comes strength and there’s no shame in saying that you are afraid of what’s happening.  However, there’s nothing you can do to force a change in someone else.