It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge your loved one may be a drug addict and even more to confront them. How do you know what to say to a drug addict? Every person and situation is different. We have come up with a guide that can help you understand more about addiction, as well as a series of questions you can ask to help put your loved one onto the path to recovery.
Drug addiction can happen to anyone, but the majority of people start using when they are young. In 2013, there were more than 2.8 million new drug users, and 54.1 percent of these new users were under 18 years old, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Not everyone who uses drugs will become an addict, but substance abuse is still costly. The abuse of illicit drugs results in $11 billion in healthcare costs and $193 billion in overall costs in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The term “self-care” came into style in recent years because, frankly, we all need to relax a bit. We’re inundated with bad news, an onslaught of digital distractions, and a culture that expects us to be driven to work at all times and to always be accessible. Everyone’s looking to achieve balance and find ways to relieve stress. But for the recovering addict, self-care shouldn’t just be a luxurious dream. It is essential in the process of moving past the addiction for good. It can even be lifesaving.
Why is self-care important?
Addicts, at their core, generally don’t believe that they are worth caring for. These feelings are usually what drove them into unsafe behaviors in the first place. In fact, poor self-care is a common denominator of emotional relapse. Part of the recovery process is changing your thinking and the old habits that made using a convenient and viable solution to life’s problems.
If you suffer from social anxiety, you are not alone. About 15 million American adults have social anxiety disorder. The overwhelming majority of people with social anxiety wait years before getting help. Like you, they have a fear of judgment by others in various social situations. That fear negatively affects your ability to foster friendships, cultivate romantic relationships and perform in school or in your job. That leaves you feeling discouraged, alone and ashamed. Many resort to avoiding situations that make them anxious altogether, while others turn to drugs or alcohol to ease their discomfort in these situations, which is a dangerous solution. Still others feel discomfort in social situations, but not to the point of anxiety.
The good news is we can help you learn how to overcome social anxiety without drugs. You can take steps on your own to overcome social anxiety and shyness.
Expectations guide your progress in addiction recovery, but having unrealistic expectations during the process sets you up for failure. When you set expectations so high you couldn’t possibly attain them, you add unneeded stress and decrease your chance of success. Setting realistic expectations in addiction recovery helps you form a healthy framework to succeed.
What Are Unrealistic Expectations?
Unrealistic expectations happen when you don’t know what you’re getting into or you expect recovery to turn out differently. Those expectations can be about the treatment process or life after treatment. Some common unrealistic expectations include:
- Expecting treatment and recovery to be easy
- Expecting to immediately feel better in treatment
- Failing to understand how much work goes into recovery
- Thinking you can handle addiction recovery on your own
- Forcing perfectionist ideals on yourself and punishing yourself when you fall short of those perfect expectations
- Expecting addiction recovery to be a quick process
- Expecting recovery to be a constant positive trajectory — the process often comes with highs and lows which you need to account for when setting expectations
- Thinking life will be perfect and back to “normal” after you complete treatment
- Thinking that addiction recovery will instantly solve other problems in your life, such as financial difficulties or marital problems
- Believing you won’t still have to work on your addiction once treatment is complete
- Thinking addiction recovery has a definite end date
- Expecting loved ones to suddenly regain trust in you because you’re in addiction recovery — rebuilding the damage done to trust can take time
Unrealistic expectations can happen at any time during the addiction recovery process.