Heroin Addict Tough Love?
It’s an emotionally draining process in the extreme trying to get help for kids who are possessed by drugs. Addicts are tricky and using tough love on a heroin addict, or any type of addict for that matter could be a death sentence. Remember, addicts are manipulative, powerful and have ironclad wills like a toddler. And based on IQ studies on patients addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, they’re generally smarter than the average person. Sometimes they’re even eerily more intelligent than the average person. Emotionally, however, they are quite unintelligent, bordering on emotionally handicapped.
‘Tough Love’ Could be a Death Sentence
For all parents out there waiting for someone to tell you what to do, trust your instincts. Sometimes it’s best to let your child go so they can hit rock bottom. Sometimes it’s best to cut them off. However, those tough love approaches can be quite the gamble these days because sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. The problem with cutting a child off is that people addicted to drugs (specifically heroin and opioids) are dying every day. “Tough Love” could be a death sentence. Be tough, but not emotionally distant and tough. It’s a fine, dangerous line to walk, but necessary.
Cutting kids off financially could help them come to their senses and ask for help. However, even this tried-and-true method of backing a child into a corner can be dangerous because heroin addicts can become very resourceful and live for some time on the streets. So be careful when using the tough love method. It could backfire. Make sure you balance tough love with what you instinctually feel is the best thing for your child. For example, if your son or daughter is in a relationship with another heroin user, then he/she might easily run to the safety and security of their partner depending on the partner’s resources. So, tough love could make things worse.
Solutions to Consider:
- Keep the lines of communication open, which means not ever refusing a call, text, or video message from your addicted kid. It will mean tough, heartbreaking talks, but you never know which conversation might reach their heart and turn them around.
- Have a drug rehab, detox, or treatment facility set up and ready to go so when your child is ready to get help, you have all the resources at your fingertips. Send the child far away or even out-of-state for drug rehab when heroin is involved, because it makes it that much harder for them to contact one of their addict friends, or romantic partners, to supply them, or pick them up from the rehab. Most heroin addicts will drive hours to pick up their heroin-using partner and “break” them out of drug rehab, but few are willing or have the money to make a rescue flight. And they can’t be without their own source of heroin for too long, even to help a lover.
- Never let them use your car as a transportation source, no matter where they tell you they are going. Without fail, the heroin user will find heroin with your car.
- Cutting them off financially should be obvious, but again, you also don’t want to enable them to become financially dependent on a boyfriend or girlfriend who does have resources or give them a reason to consider crime as an option to get the money they need for their drugs. The “financial cut-off” is another balancing act in the battle for your child. Trust your motherly instincts.
Photograph by Sarah Bernard