People who have a drug or alcohol addiction will become a slave to that addiction.
Once an addiction takes hold of a person’s body and mind, that person will do anything to get their fix. Because of this, addicts become very adept at lying and manipulation to get their way. Very often an addict will blame another person for their addiction as an attempt to get that person to back off and leave them alone. Once the addict is left to himself he is free to continue in his addiction without any interference from others.
Substance abuse can cause moral and ethical decay and this enables an addict to justify their behavior. Especially when intense cravings take hold of an addict, they may say or do whatever it takes to get drugs or alcohol. People who live with addicts must learn to sharpen their “lie detector” skills. They should ask for proof by insisting that an addict verify their stories. This may make the addict angry or they may go into a long discourse about why their story is true.
Here’s where their talent for lying becomes apparent in a big way. There are ways to avoid being manipulated and controlled by an addict. People (like single mothers and grandmothers) who are not strong enough to fend off an addict’s verbal assaults will need help from other people. Backup can come from other family members or addiction specialists.
The first thing a person has to do to fend off manipulation is to make sure they are not a part of the problem. If they are enabling the addict to continue with their addiction, then they will have to change their own ways of thinking and behaving toward the addict. Also if a person has a co-dependency relationship with the addict they should get help to stop their co-dependency. Talk with a counselor or therapist about your relationship with the addict and get help if you are an enabler or co-dependent.
Eventually an addict will begin to fantasize and create a false reality about their situation because they are fearful and have lost hope. These fantasies help the addict deny the truth about their addiction and protect them from having to deal with it. Keeping an objective, clear eye on the reality of the situation will help you maintain the proper perspective when an addict goes into fantasy mode. Defining clear physical, social and emotional boundaries between you and the addict will help to keep your perspective clear. When boundaries are blurry, and you become entangled emotionally with the addict, you will begin to lose your perspective and will fall prey to their fantasies.
Being overly concerned and caring for the addict, while neglecting your self, is a big part of manipulation. Trying to take care of all an addict’s needs, when he should be doing things for him self, is counter-productive. Begin to spend more time taking care of yourself and your own needs and let the addict know that he will have to start doing more things for himself. Set social boundaries and spend more time visiting with family and friends without the addict. Also take personal time to be pampered and just relax. Begin to enjoy activities again, like going to the movies or dining out with friends.
Learn how to say no when it is necessary and be firm in your convictions. This will let the addict know that you can no longer be manipulated by their addiction. Keep encouraging the addict to get professional help and let him know that you will support him throughout his recovery. Try to keep a positive attitude toward the addict and life in general. Show by example how wonderful life can be when you are not the slave of an addiction. Be kind and loving, but also strong and committed in avoiding manipulation. This is part of the process of encouraging the addict to get the help he needs.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.