Dr. Pohl shares how women can deal with a loved one struggling with addiction.
One of the questions that I deal with regularly when I deal with families, so that’s somebody who cares about a person who has addiction, is “What can I do? What can I do for them – him or her?” And the truth is there’s not a ton that you can do to make them stop drinking or using. Because they don’t drink or use because they don’t care about you; they drink or use because they are compulsively attached to the substance.
What you can do is you can set limits around the behaviors that you will tolerate, and you can be very clear on what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not acceptable behavior, and I really caution you to not set those limits without a realistic truthful ability to say, “I am not going to tolerate this. If this happens here’s what’s going to happen.”
And the reason I stress that is a lot of people want to say “stop or else,” but the “or else” never comes true. So then the addict really knows that there’s no real backup to that.
I deal with parents sometimes, and they just aren’t going to let their kid hit the street, and they say, “If you use drugs in my house, I am going to kick you out,” and then they never do. So what does the kid learn from that? What a woman can do who is concerned about somebody in her life is tell the truth to yourself, “Here’s what I am going to put up with; here’s what I am not.”
Get some help for yourself. Al-Anon Nar-Anon are sister programs to the 12-step programs. It’s really about you recovering. You know, if you are in an airplane and you are sitting next to somebody who is disabled, what do they tell you? Put your oxygen mask on first and then help the other person. You need to put your oxygen mask on first.
You need to get well. You need to find some comfort in your own skin so that either you stay with that person and live with that addiction and tolerate it and take care of yourself, or you get up enough energy to say ”I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore. If you don’t stop using, I am gone,” and be willing to carry that out.
About Dr. Mel Pohl, M.D.:
Dr. Mel Pohl, M.D., is a Board Certified Family Practitioner. He is the Vice President of Medical Affairs and the Medical Director at the Las Vegas Recovery Center (LVRC), the only private, freestanding, medically managed inpatient detoxification and addiction treatment facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.