There are some clear warning signs if a spouse, lover, or family member is using.  Whether you’re living together, in a committed relationship, engaged or married…no matter what the genders of the couple… the feelings and problems are equally difficult. Accepting that your loved one has a substance use disorder is the hardest thing in the world. It’s so scary. Someone you love is caught up in something dangerous and beyond your control. Your feelings will run from disbelief, fear and betrayal, anger, concern and back again. What you do and how you handle it is important. Your future will depend on taking care of yourself and being able to understand and accept the situation. Addiction doesn’t go away when it’s ignored.

First Be Observant

Do some detective work. That means taking care to watch what’s going on and making notes about how your loved one is acting toward you and everything else. Learn about addiction and the changes that occur in personality and behavior.

Know The 12 Warning Signs

Not all of them will be applicable to your loved one, but these are common signs of substance and alcohol abuse and addiction

  1. Mood swings
  2. Anger, impatience, irritable behavior, especially when confronted
  3. Sudden appearance of new friends
  4. Secrecy about activities and whereabouts
  5. You found Items that you suspect might be drug paraphernalia
  6. Pupils are often either enlarged or constricted. Methamphetamine or cocaine will enlarge the pupil while heroin and other opiates will constrict the pupils
  7. Smells different, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs can change body odor
  8. Loss of appetite
  9. Money and other items have been disappearing
  10. Neglecting things that used to be important—family, church, relationships, activities
  11. Neglect of personal hygiene and personal appearance
  12. Sudden secret phone calls and texting

Educate Yourself About Substances Your Loved One Is Using

If you have little knowledge of drug addiction, then learning more about different classes of drugs will also be helpful to you. Most drugs give fairly precise symptoms if you know what to look for.

Get Help

Addiction is not a choice. It now medical specialty described as an chronic relapsing brain disease. Don’t try to change anyone on your own, it won’t work. Seek professional help from a therapist, addiction professional, doctor.

If you need help with a loved-one’s substance use, visit Al-Anon.org


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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation. Leslie is a proud member of Rotary International.

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