Substance Abuse and Reflections On Helping Them

The use of visual media like videos has a strong way of conveying a certain message that it wants to relay. I saw one on smoking (Malaysian Anti Smoking Commercial Quit Smoking Now Current) and the effects of smoking on a person’s health. What we normally see in these types of clips are scenarios where:

  1. Someone is suffering from the consequences of a substance abuse.
  2. Loved ones suffer because of the consequences of the substance abuser.
  3. The person affected by the substance regrets what he/she did.
  4. And thus the clip ends on a sad note and warning for those who are struggling, to quit what they are doing because it leads to 1,2, and 3.

I do agree that these clips have a message behind them that is good and warns people about substance abuse. I applaud this. We need stuff like this to heighten awareness about these things. People need to know the dark side of short term enjoyment or the consequences of addiction.

But on the other hand, what these clips do not help us is in how we can help those going through the tough decision to quit. Quitting a substance that one is addicted to is not an easy thing and this requires patience, encouragement from people, discipline for the person in need of stopping, openness and acceptance from those who seek to help the person.

To me the glitch from these clips is as follows; they mainly depict that the struggle for an addict to stop is his sole responsibility because, it is reasoned that one cannot be so dumb because the cause and effect of their addiction is obvious. The clip shows the cause and effect and what should follow suit is to quit.

Easier said than done.

If we are so concerned about people having addiction problems we cannot simply go through and set up a campaign on awareness alone, and tell ourselves that the job is done, let’s clean our hands and if they (addicts) don’t want to quit it is their problem. And we snicker and have judgmental eyes.

Let me just state that if someone is an addict and gripped by a substance, the last thing he needs is someone hogging him/ her on consequences. Deep down they really want to quit. But the problem is how they can do it.

This is where other people join in to help. They need support from people in this situation. They need people who will walk with then in this situation of need. They don’t need people to condemn them. That will simply wedge hope from them.

The real help comes when someone is ready to do the job of walking together with the struggler, accepting, consoling, exhorting and encouraging all along the way.

If you have a loved one struggling, it is not just his problem, it is yours as well.

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