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Intervention Guidelines

If a loved one is suffering from an addiction and you judge that they might be responsive to an appeal from family members and close friends to address their problem, an intervention might be a good course of action. 

By “intervention” we mean a deliberate, planned discussion initiated by those closest to the addicted person with the intention of encouraging him or her to recognise the problem and take action. 

The immediate objective of an intervention is to induce the addicted person to see clearly the impact of the addiction on themselves and others, without provoking defensiveness on the part of the addicted person or allowing the conversation to escalate into a conflict. 

In General, The Best Outcome Will Be Achieved By Adhering To The Following Guidelines

DO’S:

  • Ideally the intervention should involve a small group of people that are close to and care about the addicted person.
  • It is often helpful to write letters in advance, detailing the impact that the addiction has had on the writer. These can be read to the addicted person on the day.
  • You should educate yourself beforehand on relevant aspects such as the nature of the particular addiction, detoxification and treatment programmes – particularly those which suit the personality and needs of the addicted person.
  • The participants should plan in advance precisely how the conversation will unfold and should rehearse beforehand.
  • Each participant should be willing to offer concrete help to the addicted person in some or other way, within their respective means – e.g. attending family therapy sessions, financial support, care of children while the addicted person is in treatment.
  • The participants should be prepared to implement and act upon boundaries if the addicted person is not receptive to the request for intervention. Relationships will need to change. Everyone present must commit to cease enabling and codependent behaviour and be clear that there will be consequences for the addicted person if they refuse help.

DON’TS:

  • The tone of the discussion should not be one of blame.
  • The discussion should not occur spontaneously when the addicted person is drunk or high.
  • The participants should not be overly prescriptive or authoritarian in the solutions presented.
  • Do not despair if the intervention ends badly. A seed has been planted.

Signs of an Addiction

Addiction is an insidious illness.  It usually develops gradually over time, making it easy for the severity of the problem to escape the notice of immediate family members.  On top of this, the natural inclination for close family is to deny and diminish the problem in order to retain some sense of normality. 

If you suspect that a family member may be addicted to alcohol or substances, but you are unsure of the severity of the problem, consider whether any of the following apply to the person:

  • An inability to stop using. The individual has made at least one serious but unsuccessful attempt to give up the substance or behaviour.
  • Use and abuse of substances continue despite health problems. The individual continues regularly taking the substance, even though they have developed related illnesses.
  • Dealing with problems. The substance or behaviour is resorted to in order to (or as an alternative to) dealing with problems.
  • Obsession. The individual has become obsessed with the substance or behaviour, spending more and more time and energy finding ways of getting access to it.
  • Taking risks. The individual takes risks to obtain the substance or engage in the behaviour.
  • Taking a large initial dose. This is common with alcoholics. The individual may rapidly consume large quantities of alcohol in order to feel its effects as soon as possible.
  • Sacrifices. The individual is willing to give up activities that they used to enjoy in order to carry on taking or having access to the substance.
  • Maintaining a good supply. The individual will ensure that they have a good supply of the substance of choice even if they cannot afford it or are put to serious inconvenience.
  • Secrecy and solitude. The individual uses the substance alone or in secret.
  • Disregard for safety. The individual consumes the substance in amounts which are unsafe (particularly in the case of alcohol and heroin).
  • Maintaining stashes. The individual maintains small hidden stashes of the substance in unlikely places (such as the car or the office).
  • Withdrawal. The individual experiences physical discomfort when their ingested levels of the substance drop below a certain level. Depending on the substance they may experience symptoms such as cravings, constipation, diarrhea, trembling, seizures, sweats, insomnia and uncharacteristic behaviours such as violence.
  • Appetite changes. Some substances alter a person’s appetite. Marijuana consumption, for example, might greatly increase their appetite while cocaine may reduce it.
  • Sleeplessness. While insomnia is a common symptom of withdrawal, the use of illicit stimulants such as speed or ecstacy might also result in a disrupted sleep cycle.
  • A change in appearance. A person may begin to appear more disheveled, tired, and haggard, as using the substance or carrying out the addictive behavior replaces key parts of the day, including washing clothes and attending to personal hygiene.
  • Increasing tolerance. The individual needs to take more and more of the substance to achieve the same effect.

A person might experience a few of these symptoms or many of them. Substance use disorders manifest differently in different individuals.  In general, the greater the number of symptoms displayed, the greater is the severity of the situation. 

Most of the above symptoms apply equally (with the necessary changes) to process disorders (i.e. an addiction to a behaviour such as gambling or shopping). 

Helpful Information for Families

If you love someone who is battling an addiction and you are wondering what to do, please keep the following in mind:

  • Treating an addiction is about more than just about breaking the addict’s physical dependence on the substance – It is a common misconception that curing an addiction simply means abstinence from the substance or behaviour for a long enough period that it is eliminated from the addicted person’s system. This assumption fundamentally misunderstands the nature of addiction and the neurological processes that keep it alive.   As an addiction develops, new and distinct neural pathways are formed in the addicted person’s brain, establishing powerful linkages between the pleasure and relief provided by the substance or behaviour and the routines and triggers of everyday life.  This process might be compared to the formation of a well-trodden hiking trail.  The more we use the path, the faster, easier, and more familiar it becomes.  As we travel it more and more, it becomes wider, smoother, and easier to use.  It becomes a preferred route. The same is true of neural pathways. Over time, the brain forms familiar neural pathways, and these become habitual routes.   Recovery from addiction is about laying new paths and equipping the addicted person with sufficient coping mechanisms and motivation to tread them for a long enough period that they become the preferred route.
  • Sometimes medication is necessary – When treating addictions to opioids (prescription pain relievers or drugs like heroin or fentanyl), medication should be the first line of treatment, followed by some form of behavioural therapy or counseling. Medications are also available to help treat addiction to alcohol and nicotine. Medications are also used to help people detoxify from drugs, although detoxification is not the same as treatment and is not sufficient to help a person recover. Detoxification alone without subsequent behavioural therapy or counseling generally leads to resumption of drug use.
  • Be optimistic – If the addiction is acknowledged and decisive action taken, there is good reason to be optimistic about the future.  The last two decades have seen great strides in the development of effective evidence-based treatment methods and research shows that most people who consciously pursue recovery do ultimately succeed.   A substance use disorder is considered “a good prognosis disorder”. 
  • Be realistic – Expect recovery but be prepared for relapse. Although some people achieve recovery on their first attempt, for others it requires multiple attempts over multiple years.  Family members should also maintain realistic expectations in their interactions with the addicted person.   Your loved one is going to lie to you, and you will want to believe them. They might actually believe themselves. But what they are doing is protecting their illness, because the addictive behaviour or substance has come to seem as vital to them as air. This isn’t to say that you should excuse lying, only that you should understand where it’s coming from so you can take it a little less personally and avoid getting sidetracked by pain and resentment. Instead, keep the lines of communication open, but set clear boundaries that protect you and them, and that encourage a turn toward treatment.
  • You are not to blame – It is not unusual for the immediate family members of a person in active addiction to feel guilt or responsibility for the way that the situation has developed. This is not productive, and it is almost certainly not a true reflection of reality. No matter what you did, how you parented or whether you argued, you did not wish this life for your loved one and you did not cause the condition.  Whatever the circumstances were that led your loved to start using drugs or alcohol, you need to know that addiction is a complicated condition influenced by many factors, including genetics.  It is more than just an emotional or psychological phenomenon.  The structural changes that occur in the addicted brain exert an extremely powerful influence on that person’s behaviour – crowding out reason, common sense and even love. 
  • Educate yourself about treatment options and seek out support networks – A vital first step in moving towards a permanent solution for your loved one and your family is shining a light on the problem.  AlcoholicsNarcotics  Anonymous,  Sex Addicts Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous are well-established non-profit organisations with a robust global network of support for family members of people suffering from addiction.   If your family member is willing to undergo an assessment, Cherrywood House offers this service for free

Culture Of Addiction

The addict, regardless of drug of choice, is a chameleon.

Ask the addict for a self-explanation (life story), and the story goes through a kaleidoscope of changes depending on who’s listening.
Autobiographical accounts contain retrospective explanations and justifications that may have little to do with the person-drug relationship. The addict described by family members will never be the person described by others. Probation officers describe the addict from behind the criminality of the addict’s life. Clergy will describe the addict from spiritual emptiness aspect.  Anthropologists will describe the addict as being ‘naturalistic for that habitat’

Each view point exposes a different colour offered by and/or taken on by the addict

Managing Heroin Withdrawal – What You Can Expect

The first steps on the long road to recovery are the hardest to take; you’ve committed to rehabilitation, and it’s time to stop using heroin. But stopping any drug takes a great deal of willpower, strength, and support. Especially when you start going through heroin withdrawals, which come with symptoms and need for a detox.

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal can range in strength and severity, and because of this, it’s always important to not go through heroin withdrawals and detoxes without supervision, especially if it’s a long-standing addiction. While withdrawal from heroin isn’t considered dangerous in of itself, the medical and psychological symptoms can cause complications that may be life-threatening, such as suicide. That’s why it’s best to undergo this process with the help of trained medical and/or mental health professionals.

Here’s what you can expect from heroin withdrawals:

Symptoms can last up to a week or a little longer

So you’ve taken your last dose of heroin, and you’re determined to keep it that way. But after 6 hours, you’ll start to feel the onset of withdrawal symptoms and cravings for your fix. These symptoms will grow in severity as you reach your withdrawal peak, which can happen 1-3 days after your last dose. The severity of this peak can vary based on your history of drug use and mental illness.

You can develop longer-lasting symptoms

For those severely dependant on drugs, there’s a risk of developing post-acute withdrawal symptoms, which is psychological and mood-related. Symptoms like aches, pains, nausea, headaches and cramping can persist for months after using, sometimes even up to a year. This makes it all the harder to stay sober, and it’s highly recommended to stick it out with a rehabilitation program for support.

Symptoms can range from the mild to the severe

Withdrawal symptoms aren’t the same for everyone, and addicts will likely go through their own stages of withdrawal. Depending on the length and severity of your drug use, your symptoms can range from something as mild as frequent yawning to something as severe as hypertension.

Mild withdrawal symptoms can include

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Tearing
  • Runny nose
  • Sweats
  • Chills
  • Yawning a lot
  • Muscle and bone aches

Moderate withdrawal symptoms can include

  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Goosebumps
  • Fatigue

Severe withdrawal symptoms can include

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle spasms
  • Trouble breathing
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure
  • Drug cravings

You can go through a heroin detox program

To help you through your withdrawals, rehabilitation centres and medical professionals will put together a medical detox program for you, attempting to keep it as comfortable for you as possible. It entails medication to counter the symptoms, as well as therapy, to help the body and brain recover from the abuse. For your peace of mind and your safety, your vitals will be measured throughout the process, including your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature levels and breathing. A detox can last for 5 to 7 days, though for more severe cases the detox can last up to 10 days.

If you or a loved one are in urgent need of recovery, don’t do it alone. Find a rehabilitation centre and program that best suits your needs to really stand a chance at achieving sober living. Getting through withdrawals is only the first step towards recovery, and with the right support structure, you can confront your addiction and the underlying causes for your substance abuse head-on.

The Battle Against Tik – How addictive is Tik really?

All drugs are addictive by nature, but some are certainly more addictive than others. And while all forms of substance addiction should be avoided at all costs, it’s not unfounded to warn potential users of which drugs are most addictive and the effects of their use.

Tik, or crystal meth as it’s otherwise known, is one of these alarmingly dangerous drugs. One of the most widely reported substances abused in the Western Cape, Tik is an insidiously addictive substance that affects people from all walks of life, and most alarmingly, people of all age groups.

Here are some of the reasons Tik is more addictive than other substances:

It’s easy to get a hold of

Tik is an unsettlingly easy drug to produce and acquire, with recipes and ingredients readily available. This means tik labs spring up all over the Western Cape, even in peoples homes, and the drug is sold cheaply, compounding its addictive nature.

It causes extreme highs

All drugs produce a high when taken. This high is produced when the substance stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for your joy and pleasure. But with tik, in particular, the flood of dopamine is 13 times stronger than normal. Compared to other drugs which increase dopamine levels up to 4 times, this is a clear indicator of Tiks strength.

However, this effect will steadily diminish the more an addict abuses meth. This is because the brain builds up a tolerance to meth, and the addict has to take higher and higher doses to get the same high. This makes the situation all the worse.

It brings with it extreme lows

With the high that all drugs deliver, there is always a low when the drug wears off. And with tik, that low is even more crushing. Due to the severity of the dopamine release, your dopamine levels will run critically low after, and you’ll feel depressed, paranoid, angry and irritable. After the already addictive high and the boost in confidence, this drop makes it even more compelling to use again.

It severely damages the brain and how it functions

The pre-frontal cortex of the brain is where the magic happens, the part of the brain that makes up our ‘selves’. This is where our personality comes from, our rationalizations and our abilities to plan, make judgements and decisions, feel empathy, and allows us to follow social norms and behaviours. This is linked to the amygdala, which is where we store our long term memories and generate emotions such as pleasure, fear, and anger, to name a few emotions.

Tik damages both these sections of the brain, destabilizing function in the PFC (Pre-frontal cortex). The damaged pre-frontal cortex disrupts the amygdala, which results in the chaotic mood swings and erratic behaviour we see in Tik addicts. They become paranoid, violent, and angry, and will even homicidal.

This is only made worse by what is known as methamphetamine-induced psychosis, which makes tik addicts delusional and violent. They experience auditory and visual hallucinations and lose their grip on rational thinking and judgement.

The results? A deadly spiral of addiction and substance abuse

This deadly concoction of psychological chaos is what makes crystal meth, or Tik, so addictive. Against the drug’s highs and its catastrophic lows, it’s incredibly hard to fight against. And the damage it inflicts on the brain is by no means short-lived. Tik addicts will likely suffer from brain damage for the long term, likely even the rest of their lives.

But by pursuing rehabilitation and recovery, an addict can save their life and the lives of others. They can stop this dangerous course, a course that more often than not hurts themselves and those around them.

If you suspect someone close to you is abusing tik, or you yourself want to free yourself from your addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us.

The effects cocaine has on the body

How does Cocaine Affect the Body

To really understand the gravity of cocaine addiction, we have to get real about its effects on the body. All drugs wreak havoc on an addict, but the long term effects, even after you’ve stopped using, can be truly devastating. No matter how many times you dabble in cocaine, it’s going to have an adverse effect on your body. 

Even the shortest-lived high on cocaine can have lifelong consequences for your health. And there are no two ways about it, those consequences can be deadly. Not only will you quickly become addicted, but it alters the way your brain functions, which makes it all the harder to fight your addiction and find normalcy through sober living.

Here is the impact cocaine has on an addicts body, both short and long term.

The Long Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse

It changes the way your brain functions

Cocaine is as addictive as it is thanks to the intense high it brings, creating an excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine that creates that feeling of euphoria and confidence. This overload alters your neurochemistry, weakening the circuits responsible for joy and pleasure as your brain craves this dopamine reward.

This transformation makes it harder for the addict to experience happiness and pleasure naturally, and additionally, the neurocircuits involved in stress become increasingly more sensitive, raising your levels of displeasure and anxiety. This is what drives addicts to use, and soon enough the only way to feel normal at all is to use. The addict’s brain becomes dependant on cocaine to function, and natural stimulants for joy cease to make a difference, including family, friends, interests, and food. 

With extended use and higher doses, addicts develop a full-blown psychosis, experiencing severe paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations, restlessness, irritability and more. An addict is not in their right mind, and can even turn to murder to find their fix.

The damage inflicted on the brain also makes addicts susceptible to strokes, seizures, and brain damage. You’ll also permanently experience degradation in your cognitive abilities, resulting in memory loss, a lower attention span, and trouble with decision-making. 

It severely damages your major organs

Cocaine damages many of the essential organs we need to function, most alarmingly the lungs, heart and cardiovascular system. When cocaine thins the blood, it causes a severe drop in blood pressure and causes your heart to beat fast and erratically. Even after use, an addict’s heart beats faster than it should, and the heart becomes damaged with inflammation. The heart loses the ability to contract sufficiently, and addicts will be prone to heart attacks, severe chest pain, and aortic ruptures.

Your gastrointestinal tract also suffers from cocaine addiction; with reduced blood flow to the digestive system, your intestines tear and develop ulcers. This results in a loss of appetite, leading to addicts appearing dangerously thin and malnourished.

The Short Term Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine doesn’t just affect you in the long run. As you’re using, your heart will beat erratically, and your brain function and muscle ability slow till even natural things like breathing become difficult. While high, you can experience:

  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Abdominal heart rhythm
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Paranoia
  • Tremors
  • Bloody nose

Even during first-time use, cocaine use can cause sudden death from seizure, stroke or cardiac arrest. 

What does a Cocaine Overdose Look Like

A cocaine overdose is a life-threatening situation, and if you suspect you or someone else experiencing an overdose, seek medical help immediately regardless of the situation. Here’s how to recognise an overdose when it occurs

  • The victim will have difficulty breathing, with shallow breaths or no breathing at all.
  • They’ll have difficulty focusing, and struggle to speak or keep their eyes open. They may even be unconscious. Their minds will be dangerously overstimulated
  • Their skin will turn blue or grey from lack of oxygen, and their lips and fingernails will darken from lack of blood flow. Their heart will beat dangerously fast and erratically. Their body temperature will spike alarmingly.
  • You’ll be able to hear snoring or gurgling noises coming from their throat.

If you find yourself in this situation, you can do your best to help the situation by trying to keep the person calm if they are still conscious, as you don’t want to aggravate their already strained heart with further stress. Keep reminding them to control their breathing and remain calm, encouraging them to keep trying to breathe deeply and regularly. 

If they aren’t conscious, you can apply CPR, or press down on their chest and rub. Move them onto their side and keep them cool with ice packs and cold blankets to lower their body temperature. Don’t leave them alone until emergency medical help arrives.

The chaos drugs wreck on our bodies is nothing to be taken lightly, and even on the road to recovery, the effects of withdrawal are painful to bear. 

These are the consequences of drug abuse, and if you suspect someone close to you is using, don’t hesitate to seek help and guidance. At Cherrywood House, we’re always prepared to answer any questions and provide the best possible advice for the way forward.

How to help someone going through depression

Depression is a debilitating mental illness, one that doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as it should, especially here in South Africa. When a friend or loved one suffers from depression, it’s natural to want to help them, even if the prospect is a touch daunting.

Depression is a complex issue, and there’s no simple cure to it as much as we wish there was one. Simply telling someone it’s going to be okay or to ‘try to be happy’ isn’t enough, and is actually counter-intuitive.

If you want to help someone suffering from depression, there are a few ways to go about it. Here are some things you can do to reach out to them.

Take the time to listen to them.

We all just want to be heard, and listening to someone with depression can really help them. Let your loved one know you’re there for them, and let them know you’re concerned. Ask them what’s on their mind, and open up the conversation for them to share with you.

Don’t try to give them any advice as you listen to them, unless they want your advice. Really try to engage with them to show you’re listening, like asking questions for more information rather than assuming you understand. Validate their feelings, and show empathy and interest through your body language. Just avoid being pushy, and always try to have these conversations face to face.

Additionally, be sure to stay in touch. A short message every other day to let them know you’re thinking of them and value them is helpful and appreciated.

Help them get the professional help they need

Whether they don’t know they have depression or they’re not sure who to turn to, it’s important to support them to seek out therapy. It can be daunting to have to look for one and even to open up to them, but therapy is a great step on the road to happiness again. If they seem interested in therapy, offer to help them review potential therapists to find the right one for them, and if they’re open to it you two can come up with a list of things to asked and brought up in the first session.

Encourage them to keep going

On bad days it can be difficult for those with depression to leave the house, or to even get out of bed. It takes away all your energy, and pushes you to isolate yourself from others.`

If they intend to cancel their therapy session for that day or avoid going to something, gently encourage them to stick to it. Especially if the sessions help. Saying something like “You said you felt better after seeing your friends last week, what if today helps you too?”`

The same thing goes for medication. Antidepressants can have some unwelcome side effects, but antidepressants should never be stopped suddenly without the supervision of a health care professional. If your loved one says they want to stop taking their meds, encourage them to talk to their psychiatrist about changing their antidepressants or getting off the medication.

Help them with everyday tasks

Depression is insidious and creeps into every area of our lives. When we can’t motivate ourselves to do anything, daily tasks become overwhelming and tend to pile up. We can’t bring ourselves to go buy groceries or do the dishes, and the more there is to do, the less we want to do it.

So, offer to help them! They’ll appreciate it, especially if it’s done clearly. Offer to take them grocery shopping or grab some things for them, or offer to come over and help them with chores around the home. Putting on music and starting a conversation as you work together can make chores go by faster, and uplifts that little bit more.

Be patient, keep extending loose invitations

It can be frustrating when someone close to you has depression, as they often can’t bring themselves to reach out to friends or go out. Many stop extending invites or stop talking to them, but no one wants to be left alone. Don’t blame yourself or take offence to their silence; keep reaching out to them with little messages of support, and loosely extend invites to spend time together, letting them know that it’s okay to not respond or not join. As long as they know you look forward to seeing and talking to them again when they’re ready.

When it comes to depression, you’ll often feel like you’re carrying the majority of the weight of the relationship. It’s important to take time for yourself and to set boundaries so as not to be overwhelmed with caring for another.

Also, remember that depression isn’t cured overnight. Your loved one may battle with depression throughout their lives. Don’t take one good day as the end of their ordeal, or make a bad day mean it’s hopeless for them. Be there to support them as much as you can, and keep an eye on them. Suicidal thoughts often arise with depression, but you can prevent a tragedy by remaining observant and open to talking to them.

If you have any questions on depression or know a loved one who may be suffering from depression and you’re not sure of the way forward, feel free to message us. At Cherrywood House, we’re always on hand to help wherever needed.

A Guide on How to Deal With a Tik Addict

Tik is renowned as one of the most addictive drugs in South Africa, an ‘upper’ drug that induces intense but short-lived euphoria, confidence and paranoia. Officially known as Crystal Meth, it’s an extremely addictive substance that hooks its victims more often than not from the first hit, making it extremely dangerous.

The mind-altering and addictive nature of any drug, makes dealing with an addict a monstrously difficult task. If you’re faced with a loved one suffering from addiction, it’s important for them, and for yourself, to handle the situation appropriately. Forget everything you think it takes to support that person as you normally would; while this process is normal and nothing to be ashamed of, what you can consider the norm for your loved one no longer applies, and you’ll have to alter your way of caring for them accordingly.

Here’s our guide to dealing with a Tik addict. Remember that you are equally vulnerable in trying times like this, and you should seek as much support and guidance as you need when dealing with the hardships of addiction and recovery.

Watch out for bizarre behaviour

It’s horrible to watch a loved one’s behaviour change erratically. When repeated patterns of negative behaviour and events start occurring, it’s not unreasonable to suspect it could be related to drug abuse. A drug addict will do all that they can to hide their drug use, so pay attention to those long unexplained absences. Follow up on excuses, and you’ll find the real reason for their behavioural change.

Take note of irregular spending

Drug addiction doesn’t come cheap, and when large sums of money start disappearing without a trace, it’s not unrealistic to suspect drug abuse. It’s not wrong to question a family member on where the money is going when they start frequently running short on funds, constantly needing financial help. Do some investigating, ask the hard and tough questions, and don’t feel guilty for making money a matter of contention.

Don’t enable their bad behaviour with kindness

This is a trap we often fall into; as friends and family of an addict, you’ll want to help them. Lending an addict the car after they’ve crashed theirs to get to work, or giving them money, only enables them to pursue their drugs. To help them it’s better to be firm in your kindness; don’t supply them with money when you don’t know exactly where it’s going, and don’t make it easier for them to acquire drugs by finding them new jobs every other day.

Resist the lies and manipulation

Something we have to come to grips with is that an addict, no matter their prior disposition, is a slave to their drug of choice. It’s all-consuming, and they’ll do whatever it takes to push people away or take from them to facilitate their drug use. They’ll lie to you to get what they want, and even attempt to manipulate you into agreeing with them or take the fault for their addiction. If an addict turns on you with lies and manipulation when you question them for their behaviour, stand firm. You don’t need to be taken for a ride, and you have the right to question them.

Protect your home and valuables

If it’s established or you have suspicions that your loved one is suffering from drug addiction, don’t feel guilty at the prospect of needing to protect your values and possessions. As much as it hurts to believe, an addict is not the same person they were before they started using. Addiction is all-consuming, and an addict will not be above stealing family heirlooms, cherished possessions, or electronics to pay for their habits. Change the locks at home, install a new security system, cancel your shared accounts and have a real discussion with your bank about protecting your finances. By cutting off any opportunity for them to acquire money for drugs, you are preventing them from continuing their bad habits.

Don’t approach the problem alone

You’ve finally reached this point of absolute certainty; your loved one is abusing Tik, and you know they’re a slave to their addiction. They’re not the same person, and they can’t fight the drug on their own.

It’s often hard and even shameful for families to admit to others that they’re dealing with an addict, and they don’t want to admit to friends, family or community members that they need assistance confronting the addict about their addiction.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. Community leaders and ministers are always on hand to assist in these matters, and holding a meeting with the addict to present your findings as a group is more powerful than confronting the issue alone. Especially if the addict has already turned to manipulation or dangerous behaviour.

Research the best rehab for them

Now that the abuse is out in the air, you may be lucky enough to have your loved one agree to pursue treatment. This is a monumental first step towards recovery, and it’s easy to feel urgent and desperate to get them in the nearest rehab as soon as time will allow.

But bear in mind that rehabs offer different approaches to the road to sobriety. Some offer short term treatment, others long term, and some offer post-rehab support while others don’t.

Closer is also more often than not the worst possible option, as they may run into familiar abusers from the drug community. By sending them far away from a familiar environment, you set them up for recovery free from triggers

So take the time to do your research; make phone calls to the rehabs you have in mind, speak to the parents, friends and family of those who have gone through treatment there. Ask the important questions about treatment, their methods, and what you can realistically expect from that treatment.

Once you’ve chosen your rehabilitation centre of choice, make a contact there, someone you can turn to for an honest opinion on their performance for your own peace of mind.

And most important of all… Don’t give up.

We come to our last and final piece of advice. Don’t give up hope.

The road to recovery for an addict is a long and difficult one, not just for the sufferer, but for the family as well. Relapse is an ever-looming threat for any addict, but Tik is an especially addictive ‘upper’ drug, and moments of stress, depression and breakdown are dangerous.

Your loved one may go through several relapses and stints in treatment, but don’t give up on them. Choosing the right drug rehabilitation treatment is key to breaking the cycle of addiction, and with time and love, your loved one can return to you.

Next Steps

We hope that you found these tips helpful and equipping when it comes to dealing with Tik Addicts.  If you are struggling with an Addiction or know someone who is. Please feel free to contact us and we can help you with your next steps.

Cherrywood House is a rehabilitation centre for people suffering from substance and other addictive disorders. It is situated in the tranquil, semi-rural environments of Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa. We offer  Residential Programmes, Aftercare Support Services, Outpatient Programme, Family Support Groups. For more information. Visit our Website Here.

RELATIONSHIPS AND MANAGING EXPECTATIONS IN EARLY RECOVERY.

So often we hear people sayingBut why don’t they trust me? I’ve been clean for a few months now, I’ve done 3 months of rehab, surely, they should trust me already.

Firstly, I think we need to look at what a relationship looks like with an addict before we start expecting anything from anyone. If we take a moment and reverse our roles, we might start to see things a little differently.

In Addiction: The Hostage

It has been said that addicts and alcoholics don’t have relationships, they take hostages.

This might sound extreme but if we look a bit closer, this statement has many areas that ring true.

People in relationships with us are often held or controlled by our behaviour, they feel frightened, they are often manipulated, cheated on and lied too. When they threaten the connection between us by saying things like “if you don’t stop using, I will leave you” we take it a step further. 

Here’s the thing, we don’t even need to say anything, even though addicts often do. Things like “well then I’ll drink myself to death” are often used as emotional blackmail to keep people around. 

But we don’t even have to say anything because the people around us know that addiction is fatal, they know that the way we use or drink will one day kill us and their belief is that if they are not around, that process will be accelerated. The fear is gripping; they love us, they don’t want this life for us. They stay because they think they can help.

All of this sounds like a hostage situation, the problem is, it’s their loved one who is holding the gun.

Broken Promises, Broken trust

“I SWEAR THIS TIME I WILL STOP, I PROMISE YOU!“

The saddest thing about this statement is that at the time we meant it. It was a real promise we made, we feel that promise in ourselves. We promise ourselves often that this will be the last time. 

Just one last time”. What our loved ones don’t know is just how out of control we really are, they don’t know that addiction hijacks the brain, they don’t know that its main control center is where our survival instincts live. Just like the need for food and water, our brain tells us we need to use/drink in order to survive. 

If you want to test out your survival instincts, find a very dry place with no water and hang around there for a while, then put yourself in a place with lots of shade and water and see if you can control yourself not to drink the water when your life depends on it. It will reach a point where will power alone will not be enough and you will drink the water. 

The same is said for drugs and alcohol. The primitive brain once hijacked will make sure we use or drink regardless of feelings, relationships or promises.

So we do mean the promise, we ourselves don’t want this life. For every promise, we break to someone we have already broken hundreds to ourselves.

Above are two of the many, many different reasons why people have a hard time trusting us. It’s not hard to understand if we take an honest look at ourselves. We have done some major damage, people are left with trauma after being with us while in addiction.

Time is the best healer here, we have to prove ourselves worthy of trust again. Our behaviour and actions are in line with our words and people will start to see the new you that is starting to shine through.

Finally, be gentle with yourself, but also be gentle with others.

Their love for you has hurt them in the past, they need to do the healing in THEIR own time, not yours.

If you fear yourself or a loved one is addicted to substances if you want yourself/them to stop using and sabotaging relationships, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help. Admitting there is a problem is the first step on your road to recovery