Is Addiction The New Pandemic?

When someone takes on addictive tendencies they want to numb their emotions so they don’t feel the complete isolation and disconnect that is theirs in their daily existence. 

When someone takes on addictive tendencies they want to numb their emotions so they don’t feel the complete isolation and disconnect that is theirs in their daily existence.

A friend and colleague, recently said that functional heroin and fentanyl addiction is on the rise, and that most people would not know that their friends, colleagues, family were addicts, until it becomes a much bigger problem.  

Most addicts, never for a moment, thought they would ever be in that dark place, and all of them wish they had never started.  So here YOU are. The bystander, the family member, the friend or the colleague. 

You just want to help. You want to fix the pain, fix the addiction. And you feel guilty. You feel like you have been a part of the problem or that you caused it. You want to become the helicopter parent, or friend, who goes and saves the day.  


You can’t.  

Here is what you CAN do. 

1. When an addict tells you their secret, make sure that you let them know that you care about them. 

2. Let the addict know that you will support them in their recovery.

3. Tell the addict, that there will be no more secrets 

4. Do not lie for the addict. Lying for them, keeps them in their secret world. 

5. Check in with them. But don’t over do it. 

6. Gather resources and help lines for them, and give them the information. They need to be the ones to make the call. 

7. Hold them able – Let the addict know that you are there if they need, but that you will hold them able to make better choices.  

And if the addict stops, be prepared and be realistic. It is not something that stops overnight, and the desire for a fix will always be there. Even with the best intentions, an addict may not be quite strong enough to make the appropriate changes that they need to make.  It will always be something they need to use all of their strength to keep at bay. 

There are many options for addicts to get help. 

– A psychologist who specializes in addictions

– A Rehab centre

– A doctor who can help them with withdrawal. That often isn’t enough. While it can be an emotional addiction it can also be a physical addiction. When both are present more help is required.

– A supportive family – A little bit of tough love 

The main message here, is that as a person standing on the outside of an addicts life, do not take it on as something you have done wrong. Don’t look back and think about all of the things you could have done. Do not blame yourself. You were not the one who started them on this journey.  Their trauma, and emotional pain pain and sometimes a genetic precursor are more likely.

Addiction is an epidemic. We need to pay attention. Is there silence on the other end of the line? Does that person seem to be acting out? Is there a difference in their skin tone? Are they withdrawing from you? When they say they are withdrawing, know this. It is UGLY. And it is SCARY. Do what you know. And let the professionals and the addict do the rest. 

If an addict is not ready to heal, then they will always go back to their addiction of choice. You cannot force, manipulate or try to get them to do ANYTHING. It is up to them. 

Do yourself a favour and remember this. You are not, I repeat not the reason for their addiction. The choice was theirs.  The choice to be a member of their support system is yours.  When they say they hate you, act out, and do things that you never thought could be possible of them, please take this to heart. You are not speaking to your loved one, you are speaking to their drug of choice. I was asked to write on this topic. It is not something that I have dabbled with, but others I care about have. I hope this will help someone. I have had clients, family, friends and colleagues who have been addicted to gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol, social media, pain, and more. 


Social Media

Check out Imagine Life Coaching on our social media channels, which we update regularly.

Sign up for the Newsletter