A woman who was once a Las Vegas stripper pleaded guilty in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on charges of conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. She essentially ran a drug trafficking ring from North Dakota to Idaho.
Formerly married to a physician in Coeur d’Alene, the ex-stripper allegedly used the money her then-husband gave her to build up a drug empire that netted more than $1 million over the past seven years selling oxycodone, methamphetamine, and heroin. Though she says he had nothing to do with it and he has said the same, he is facing charges as well and will stand trial in a couple months.
The ex-husband worked 60 hours per week as a physician and it is very likely that he did have no idea about what his wife was doing while he was working to support them. Unfortunately, he will have the responsibility to prove that in a court of law and, no matter what the verdict, will have to face the hit to his reputation and practice when and if he is free to return home.
Though an extreme case, the basic structure of the story is not unfamiliar to families who live with someone who is involved with drugs. It is not uncommon for loved ones to face legal charges and problems at work, and struggle with stigma, when a family member is living with addiction. It can be heartbreaking and frustrating, but it can also be the impetus you need to kick things into high gear and make changes that will help your loved one to connect with treatment services.
Is now the time for you to stand up and help your loved one connect with treatment?
Standing Up for Positive Change
You cannot force your loved one to enter treatment even if it is abundantly clear that they have a serious addiction disorder that is making it impossible for them to function healthfully. You can, however, make it very clear that things must change going forward. Outline changes that will make it harder for them to continue living in active addiction without experiencing the full brunt of the negative consequences of the disease and invite them to accept treatment.
Some of the changes you might want to implement include:
- Cutting access to cash, family bank accounts, and other sources of financial support for addiction
- Cutting access to pills, drugs, and any addictive substance if that is somehow provided by someone in the family
- No longer allowing the person to continue living in the home
- Leaving and/or removing children from the home
How to Begin
A formal discussion to kick off these changes is recommended for the purposes of making sure that everyone is on the same page and encouraging the individual who is struggling to get treatment – that is, staging an intervention is the best way to start.
Though you will discuss all the changes listed above, the primary focus is to emphasize, first, that addiction is a medical disorder that requires intensive treatment and, second, to ask that your loved one immediately begin treatment that will help them heal. For some, it may be helpful to outline some of the signs that have demonstrated to you and everyone else that the intervention and treatment are necessary if the person is in denial that they have a serious problem. For others, even if the individual clearly understands the need for treatment, they may still propose to simply stop using drugs and alcohol on their own rather than enter treatment.
Unfortunately, it must be emphasized that the changes above will still be implemented right away and that treatment is the only safe and effective option for managing an ongoing addiction disorder. No other solution will work.
Is It Time to Take Action?
If your loved one is living with addiction, and your life and opportunities have been negatively impacted due to a family member’s choices under the influence or in service of an addiction, you can begin to improve your quality of life and that of your loved one. Reach out for that help today.