There are four good reasons why you should never talk about weight to a meth addict.Now’s not a good time.Unless you’ve beat meth addiction yourself, you cannot know how hard it is to walk away from that drug. It is an experience that is accompanied by huge lifestyle changes, relationship issues, most likely loss of personal belongings, and possibly serious health issues. Not only do you leave the comfort of a drug that has held you captive, the addict is faced with the reality of the damage that was caused while away in drug-land. The last thing they need is for you to tell them that they are fat.Fat vs. healthy.When the addict is lost in meth addiction, food is usually the last thing an addict needs to survive. Most meth addicts are known for the sucked-in, skinny look; size 0 pants are hanging off an inverted butt, arms and legs look breakable, and cheek-bones clearly show. To the meth addict, they don’t see that. Usually for the first time in the addict’s life, they don’t have to worry about weight issues. In fact, when they do it, they can literally eat whatever they want. HOWEVER, part of the side-effects of quitting meth is that the addict is HUNGRY. The addict continues to eat whatever they want and in no time, the addicts’ skin is starting to press up against the no longer saggy pants and panic begins to tug deep within that all of a sudden, they are feeling fat. No, really, is actually healthy but to the addict, it feels like fat. And it is a horrible feeling.Please don’t notice my butt’s bigger.As the meth addict is trying to adjust to life without meth, and eating is a comfort as well as a necessity, the body slowly starts to fill back out. The addict is more than likely trying to hide the fact they are in recovery and just are trying to manage the drastic change that just occurred by leaving meth. The since of loss is real, the emotions are raw, and the cloths are getting tighter. So do them a huge favor and don’t exclaim about the obvious that their butt is getting bigger. I know, it’s usually out of support and excitement that a family member might bust out and say, “Wow, you are looking so much better! Look, you finally have a butt.” No, please skip the comments. For an addict, hearing “It so nice to see some meat on your bones” is not a compliment. Besides the fact that you are pointing out the obvious, it also means that you are putting the addict in the spot light and pointing out something on them when really, hiding is mostly what they feel like doing. Depending on how long the addict is sober will depend on the response to the person needing to voice the compliment, but speaking from experience, smiling, and gritting my teeth was the way I dealt with it. Please, just keep the comments about the addicts’ positive physical changes to yourself and stick with “Hey, nice to see you! Let’s go do something fun (and hopefully not addicting) together.”There is one quick way to shrink.One of the biggest struggles with meth addicts and gaining weight is that each one of them KNOWS one good way to blast that weight right off. Not only would it take care of the weight issues, the addict knows that it would fill that emptiness and hyper-active drive that is now non-existent. So many addicts who are faced with weight issues have to deal with the fact they now have to deal with weight issues in a healthy way. It’s not going to work anymore to eat whatever they want. It’s not going to work anymore making fun of people who exercise. The addict is trying to get whatever life back they can and deal with recovery when everything inside of them is saying that it is just easier to go back to the open arms of meth. I’ve heard that some addicts even think they can go back to using meth JUST ENOUGH to control the weight issues without completely losing grip and being wrapped in the meth grip. That is pretty absurd especially since you need more meth to get the same the same high but the addict wants so much to have the best of both worlds. But that’s not meth’s calling card.So the next time you are talking to your addict, do them a huge favor and keep your comments about how they look and their weight to yourself. If they really mean anything to you, do your part and ask yourself ‘do I want to help them or tempt them to chain themselves up again? ‘
Deep down inside people with addictions know that what they are doing is wrong. They know that their behaviors, choices, and actions are hurting them and their loved ones. But the need to feed their addiction supersedes everything else in their life.To perpetuate their addiction they must deny that the substance, compulsion, or habit has anything to do with what is going wrong around them. That is why they become very defensive when confronted with their behavior. There are a variety of defense mechanisms used by those with active addictions.DenialDenial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true. The ability to deny that he or she has such a strong emotional attachment to his or her addiction of choice is largely what enables an addict to continue the addiction despite overwhelming evidence. The more severe the problem, the more denial there usually is.RepressionRepression is the conscious mechanism those with addictions use to completely tune out the fact that they have a problem. They simply stop acknowledging the addiction to themselves and others.MinimizingWith minimizing, those with addictions will acknowledge that something is wrong but not want to make a big deal out of it. When confronted by others they rationalize that others are placing too much emphasis on the problem; that it’s not nearly as bad as others are making it out to be.Toxic ShameToxic shame is used by those with addictions to avoid taking responsibility for their problem. They see themselves as flawed and never measuring up; like their whole life has been a mistake. They believe they are victims of their past. Because they feel defective, they seek something that will make them feel better, but it is a hole they can never fill.Blaming and Shifting BlameBlaming is similar to toxic shame in that those with addictions avoid taking responsibility for the problem. They may accept some of the responsibility for their problem but believe that others are more to blame for it. They may act like victims, shifting the blame for their addiction onto the situation they are in or the people they are with. They don’t look at how they contribute to the problem. This gives them a sense of entitlement to use their substance since they are not to blame for doing it.RationalizingRationalization is used to explain away the consequences of their addictive behavior or choices. They rationalize that whatever happened would have happened regardless of their addiction. For example: The factors that led to the car accident would have caused it to happen whether he or she was intoxicated or not.DeflectionWhen confronted about their addiction addicts may use deflection to take the focus off of themselves. They do this by bringing up the other person’s shortcomings, similar activities that the person may partake in, or behavior the person may have exhibited in the past. For example, alcoholics might remind people that they have no room to criticize their drinking because they drink too.NormalizingWanting to feel normal, since they feel so shameful for their behavior, they surround themselves with others who abuse the same substance and have the same level of addiction. GrandiosityMost people with addictions suffer from low-self-esteem. Aware and shameful that they are messing up their lives, they use “Grandiosity,” the unrealistic inflation of their sense of self, as a defense mechanism to hide their feelings of vulnerability and low of self-worth. They may have low self-esteem yet still believe they are better than other people.CompartmentalizingBy compartmentalizing their addiction they are able to display the behaviors expected of them for windows of time. This fools them and others into thinking that they have control over their lives.ControllingThose with addictions try to control everything and everyone around them, believing it will get them what they want. When others don’t cooperate they become even more controlling. It is delusional; they believe that what they are doing is going to work even though it rarely does.UndoingPeople with addictions will demonstrate destructive behavior and then try to “undo” it by apologizing, offering gifts, or promising that they’ll never do it again. They do this to distract others from the real problem; from the fact that they have an addiction.If you recognize signs of an addictive personality in yourself there are steps you can take to prevent it from spiraling out of control.
You must admit that there is a problem. Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. Be honest and objective in your assessment of it. Surround yourself with a good support system.
Learn to face your feelings whether good or bad. Don’t put them on the back burner, stuff them inside, ignore them, or medicate them. Allow yourself to experience whatever emotions come up.
Arm yourself with knowledge; research your problem so you will not have to fear it.
If you can discontinue the addictive behavior without needing medical intervention, begin weaning yourself off of it. Cigarette smoking and overeating both fall into this category. If you are addicted to a substance such as drugs or alcohol, get professional help immediately. You cannot stop these habits without medical supervision.
Join a support group with people who share your particular addiction. It helps to know that you are not the only one dealing with it. If you would like to try attending a twelve-step meeting, find out where and when they meet in your area. There are 12-step support groups for every kind of addiction imaginable. To find one search “List of Twelve Step Programs.”
Be kind to yourself. Replace negative or destructive behaviors with positive ones. Set goals and reward yourself for reaching them. Find healthy ways to be happy whatever they may be. Take a class in a hobby or something that interests you. Surround yourself with positive people; weed toxic people out of your life. Learn how to reduce stress in your life in ways that are beneficial to your overall well-being. Learn how to meditate. Take long relaxing baths. Take a yoga class or learn how to practice it on your own. Take walks. Go to the gym.If you want to head in the right direction, all you have to do is keep walking forward.