You’re worried about addiction in a friend or loved one, but you’re not sure how to act – or what even to look for in their behavior. Today we’re addressing the subject of addiction in men and how incredibly powerful support networks are in helping them to conquer their problematic behavior or substance misuse.
Support networks: The key to recovery
Sadly, many men worldwide have skewed and incorrect views of addiction. The reality of substance misuse, dependency and abuse differs from what is portrayed in popular media, with one particular element often being missed entirely: isolation.
Substance abuse invariably develops as a coping mechanism. Most individuals who enter drug rehab have experienced some form of significant trauma in childhood or adult life, be it due to abuse from parents or other acquaintances or PTSD from specific traumatic events.
It’s vital that we appreciate the fact that addiction strengthens the more the individual is alone. A person abusing drugs or alcohol will find themselves slowly alienating themselves from family, friends, and loved ones. While every picture of addiction is unique, it’s often the case that an element of shame and fear of being discovered dominates the frame of the individual, compelling them to use in private.
Social connections directly combat this. The light of affection and care shines on the struggle of addiction, bringing the person’s difficulty into discussion and encouraging them to address their problematic substance misuse. The value of support networks cannot be overstated. In a time in a person’s life where they fall further into a private hell, the love and understanding of peers, friends, and family are critical to enabling recovery.
Where men are concerned, it’s undeniably true that our tendency to bottle up our emotions plays a role in the development of addiction. Whether through the strong need to be a provider for our families and loved ones or through fear of our self-image and masculinity, men who struggle with addiction are unlikely to disclose their problem outright.
Key to this behavior is the understanding that the fear of the man in question is predicated on an unrealistic and unhealthy view of their self-image – and an inaccurate prediction of the reaction of those who matter to them. Where they fear hostility and contempt in others should they admit their issues, they will instead discover love, empathy and support. Where they fear they will be less of a man in the eyes of peers, they will find respect for addressing a serious challenge directly.
Addiction is a surprisingly prevalent issue in the workplace. Many men who are fighting that private battle in their minds fear their employer will immediately fire or discipline them for admitting a struggle with addictive substances and behaviors. In reality, Human Resources departments are trained in this subject and tend to work with employees who disclose issues with addiction to help them recover their well-being and productivity.
Seeing the signs
It can be difficult to identify exactly when a person is struggling with addiction to drugs, alcohol or activities such as gambling. While common themes undeniably exist in the many stories of addiction worldwide, every instance is unique. Changes in behavior, however, always become visible in time.
Typically, social circles, jobs and intimate relationships are first to suffer. Addicted individuals usually find themselves facing disciplinary issues at work due to poor performance. They will also begin to push away the very people that are best suited to provide the nurturing support they so desperately need. A person who is battling a developing addiction will, across numerous areas of their life, steadily sacrifice obligations and social connections so that their addiction can continue further.
Confronting your friend or loved one does not need to immediately and explicitly include the subject of addiction. Simple concern over the changes you have discerned in their lives and behavior is grounds for a private and intimate conversation, and by providing this it is likely they will admit to some degree of issue with drugs, alcohol or addictive behaviors. The door will open.
Your support matters
In closing, it’s important we recognize the power we have as individuals. Our support and care can be the very thing that saves the life of a person fighting addiction and can be the catalyst for the beginning of their path to recovery.
The Help Me Stop Online team hopes you’ve found this article informative and useful.
This content is brought to you by Tim Woodley.