As the coronavirus pandemic persists, and families across the country are gathered under the same roofs for much longer periods of time, thousands of parents, siblings, spouses, sons and daughters are dealing with having to navigate living in close quarters with an addicted loved one. There are nearly 21 million Americans who meet the criteria for substance use disorder, only around 10 percent of whom get treatment for it. Many of these untreated Americans are living with their families and causing dysfunction, fear and chaos in their households.
While this issue has gotten lost in the shuffle, as this pandemic has changed virtually every area of life as we know it, it endures as a daily struggle for people across the country who are concerned for their health, safety and security in their own home.
At the same time, addicts who want to get into treatment are finding it harder to get information and answers, as many medical offices and traditional healthcare infrastructure has shuttered. Life can be tense and dysfunctional enough when you’re living with an addicted loved one who refuses to get treatment, and the impact of COVID 19 has only increased this tension for many families just like yours. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to stay safe and gradually guide your addicted loved one toward the help they need for their drug or alcohol dependency.
911 Still Works
It may seem hard to reconcile in the moment, but your personal safety and security are more important than anything else. If your health or well-being are put in jeopardy, you can’t do anything, including help your addicted loved one when they’re out of control. There’s nothing wrong with calling the police if things escalate beyond your ability to handle them. Additionally, 911 should be your first call if your loved one appears to be suffering from an overdose. Emergency responders are still working, even amid the coronavirus outbreak, and are available to help.
The Art and Necessity of De-Escalation
There may be times when you have to give your addicted loved one time to calm down and listen to rational explanation. If their substance use has gotten out of control, talk to them about getting help during periods of lucidity when they’re more likely to listen to reason. If this doesn’t work, take the first available opportunity you have to reach out for help from an experienced and qualified interventionist. Recovery Unplugged is still offering interventions to families everywhere who are struggling with addiction and need help getting their loved one into treatment.
Take an Inventory…and Action
Keep alcohol out of the house and keep any prescriptions you’re taking in a secure location that your addicted loved one doesn’t know about. It’s unfortunate to consider, but your addicted loved one may be prone to taking your pills when they’re unable to buy them off the street or through doctor shopping. If necessary, change your hiding place on a regular basis until you can finally get your addicted loved one into a treatment program. Over 18 million Americans misuse prescription drugs each year, and millions of the more severe cases steal the drugs from their family members’ legitimate supply.
Hold Your Addicted Loved One Accountable
Just because we’re in the middle of a public health crisis, doesn’t meant you have to be a victim to addiction or let your loved one become one. Your safety and that of others in your house has to come first, which is why if you know your loved one has a history of excessive alcohol or drug use, it’s critical that you draw boundaries if they’re living in your home. Whether it’s regular drug-testing, check-ins, or any other type of similar measure, accountability will go a long way to showing your loved one you’re serious about getting them help.
Remember…They’re Still Your Loved One
Patience and context are key when dealing with an addicted loved one, especially when you’re in such close quarters with them. Remember to take each situation as it comes, and that no matter what they say or do, they’re still your family and they need help. It’s also important to temper compassion with action, and recognize that, since addiction hijacked their brain chemistry, they may not able to make sound decisions or help themselves.
Let Recovery Unplugged Help You Help Your Addicted Loved One
Recovery Unplugged has helped thousands of families come together to help their addicted loved ones find their way to recovery. Our interventionists and care providers have rallied even the most seemingly dysfunctional families to help them guide their loved ones toward treatment a better future. If you’re living with an addicted loved one during mandatory self-isolation, the stakes have never been higher to get them into treatment. Our locations are open nationwide, and we’re standing by 24-7 to help. You don’t have to be a victim in your own home, and your loved one doesn’t have to be a victim of their addiction.