Shalom, I need some help. How can I help a relative who is dear to my heart recover from drug addiction, and what can I do when the drugs have mentally handicapped this person?
I hope you can help me,
Dear [name redacted],
Drug addiction is a delicate issue that really needs to be addressed individually on a case-by-case basis making it difficult to address by email. No two people are alike, nor are their circumstances.
In a drug addiction like that which you have described, there are two issues which really need to be addressed: the addiction itself, and the resulting “mental handicap”. There needs to be an assessment of the various possible causes for the addiction, and of how far the person is mentally incapacitated—including professional medical and psychological diagnoses.
Another crucial factor in determining the appropriate course of action, is whether this drug addicted relative acknowledges the problem and is willing to pursue treatment, or is this person in denial with family and friends trying to intervene?
These are some of the issues that need to be considered, and there are more. What I can say very generally, is that in dealing with problems such as this there are both short-term and long-term interventions. The short-term issues tend to be primarily medical in nature and must be addressed by experts in the medical field, while the long-term “treatment” is usually deeper and requires analysis of the roots of the addiction. Was the addicted person left vulnerable by some form of trauma? In some cases, a drug habit started out as a fad or the result of peer-pressure and escalated into full-scale addiction, while in others it may have been started by a feeling of resignation, or the lack of a healthy outlet for a passion.
In helping a person overcome the grip of their addiction, it is often helpful to find healthy alternatives that can fill the void and help them channel their energies toward attaining healthy “highs.”
If you wish to share more details, I will be happy to address them accordingly.
The original case I wrote to you about has gone through treatment and is doing much better, thank G-d. I think G-d gave him the wake-up call we have been praying for.
But there is another situation. My cousin is addicted to cocaine, and he has really caused a lot of pain to his mother, and is about to lose his wife.
It is so frustrating, because he is the kind of guy who had all kinds of things going for him. He is messing everything up. In his eyes, he knows everything and there is nothing we can tell him that he doesn’t already know. He blames his mother and his wife for getting in his way, and says he had everything under control before they got involved. How can we find out what the root is? What can we do? His mother and wife tried putting him in rehab, but he just turned around and said that them getting involved was the cause of all the trouble.
What advice can be given to his wife and mother?
Thanks for the advice, and please pray for him. (and also pray for the continual recovery of the first mentioned).
Dear [name redacted],
Unfortunately, in cases like the one you describe, often nothing can be done (except pray) until the individual himself gets to a point (often it comes after hitting “rock bottom”—G-d forbid) where he recognizes himself that his life has gotten out of control.
In this particular case, I would suggest that the wife and mother not openly intervene, but find a friend or a co-workers who he respects, or perhaps even his employer (I’m sure his work is also being affected by his addiction) to intervene in some way. Every person has a soft spot that is the opening to their heart, sometimes we really have to search and search until we find it.
Meanwhile, I will pray for those you’ve mentioned. Do you know their Hebrew names as well as their mothers’ Hebrew names?