Years ago, a website called Vox published an article I wrote on my meth addiction

Response was positive! Readers contacted me out of the blue, telling me they felt helped

Many fell into the category of “Supporters” looking to help a loved one/friend/colleague

Whenever possible, I’d talk on the phone to these Supporters

Maybe I helped them…I don’t know…yet from those conversations, I learned a great deal

If you’re a Supporter, my heart goes out to you: An addicted person is a tornado, cutting a swath of destruction

A Supporter’s challenge is first, to not get sucked in to the vortex

(It’s too hard to help, from inside the addicted person’s vortex…you’re too preoccupied hanging on for your own life)

From a place safely outside the addicted person’s vortex, your aim is create a counter-vortex…into which you draw the addicted person

Here are the two best ways I’ve found to accomplish that

(NOTE: As always, everything you hear from me is suggestions only…if they make sense, great! If not, discard them in favor of what does make sense

And—with the above in mind—first and foremost, a pursuit of spirituality is the most important step you can take to help yourself…

…as goes that old saying about airplane air masks dropping during a loss of cabin pressure…you know the rest)

One: Model that which you wish to see in the addicted person

If the addicted person in your life is to look to you? It will be for inspiration, rather than for advice

As addicted persons, we act like the people whom we wish to be like

(Side note: this may be why we as addicted persons often gravitate to drug dealers/strippers/bikers/life-on-the-fringers.…they seem to project the confidence about themselves and the world, which we wish to feel)

As addicted persons, we know we have a problem: Yet—believe it or not—drugs are not our problem

Our problem is, we cannot escape our lives

Our lives are in chaos…our minds commandeered by thoughts about how others need to change…our emotions—not reason—weighs far too heavily in our decisions

Does this life sound all too familiar? Is it the life you, as a Supporter, are leading?

If so, then…sorry to say…you are likely not someone we as addicted persons wish to become like…you are leading the very life we seek so desperately to escape

Imagine someone approaching you, wearing tattered clothes and a desperate grimace, and telling you:

“Listen…I’m broke again…my last five investments tanked, I can’t pay the rent or the bills…but, let me give you some financial advice!”

The advice could well be the greatest in the world, lifted from the lips of Warren Buffett…but, would you listen?

As addicted persons, our souls seek something of far greater value than money

Therefore you must model that which you wish to see in the addicted person

If you wish to see the addicted person in your life pursue a path of self-improvement? You must pursue a similar path

(We can all stand self-improvement, in one form or another…start/ramp up your exercise routine, revisit your reading list, learn that new language)

If you wish to see the addicted person cease hanging out with persons you feel are less-than-desirable? You must do the same

(Learn to disengage with the unruly co-worker, detach from the overly demanding boss, draw boundaries with the passive-aggressive friend)

If you wish to see the addicted person drop a “bad habit” (for lack of a better term), you must drop a bad habit

(Ask yourself whether all the focus you put on the addicted person, is in and of itself your “bad habit” (for lack of a better term))

The above can be hard work! But, if you’re not willing/able to work hard to model that which you wish to see in the addicted person, then…sad to say…

We as addicted persons…who face the incredibly hard work of repairing the unfathomable damage our tornado-selves have done…are unlikely to see you as the source of inspiration we seek

As I struggled to get clean, well-meaning people told me what they thought I should do

These people had money, homes, careers, families, etc.

They thought I should change! Of course, they were right

Yet when it came to their spiritual grounded-ness, their happiness, the way they treated others? They were very much like the destitute individual in the example above…it didn’t matter what advice they put forth—they weren’t living the life I wanted to lead

Fortunately, I discovered individuals who led lives like the one I wished to

They genuinely cared about others, served their communities, overcame their obstacles, set examples—they showed the world the same face they wore in private 

(Of course, they also had money, homes, families, etc.)

They didn’t do drugs…they improved themselves…and I found myself doing the same

We as addicted people use drugs to solve the problem of being ourselves…when we quit drugs, we need a better solution

You, as a Supporter, must first and foremost model that which you wish to see in the addicted person…you must appear able to solve your own problems

For in the twisted mind of the addicted person: If your solutions to your own problems don’t work for you? They certainly aren’t going to work for me

You may be asking yourself, “How is the addicted person going to pick up on the fact I’m modeling what I wish to see in her/him?”

Don’t worry so much about that…the energy from your counter-vortex has a way of traversing the ether

Put your faith in God, and in your own ability to become the person you wish the addicted person in you life to become

You may be surprised at how well the results turn out

Next Week: Part II…the second important way Supporters can help someone struggling with addiction

Resources For You

If you know or are a person who is struggling, check out my free PDF: Ten Helpful Questions to Ask When Someone You Love is Recovering From Addiction

Simply go to my website, and hit the “Download PDF Now” button in the lower right. When you enter your email, you’ll be signed up for my weekly newsletter, Meditations on Meth. Feel free to unsubscribe if you don’t want it.