Having a drug addict living in your house can be a toxic experience. Being in the constant presence of someone who is always under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be physically and emotionally draining. Nobody wants to stay at home feeling always tensed and uncomfortable. If you have children in your home, you may feel the need to protect them from an addict’s unstable behavior.
However, kicking a drug addict out of the house is not as simple as how it is often portrayed in movies. Throwing clothes out of the window while shouting “Get out of my sight!” will not always work like a magic trick. The role you play in an addict’s life is an important factor on how to make someone leave home. A spouse, parent, sibling or landlord would need to approach the situation differently.
If you are a landlord
It is generally easier for landlords to remove a drug addict staying at their property. This is mainly because there is usually no emotional connection between the landlord and the addict.
If the drug addict is posing as a threat to the community, the landlord can alert the authorities about the situation.
If the tenant is late on rental payments, this can also be a reason to give an eviction notice. Most landlords also protect themselves by including a clause on drug abuse in the tenancy contract. If a tenant violates these rules, then these can be grounds for eviction.
If you are a family member
Having a loved one suffering from drug or alcohol addiction can be heartbreaking. You are usually torn between your love for them and wanting them to become better. Parents and siblings are often faced with this dilemma. Will letting my child or my sister stay at my house enable his addiction further? Or will kicking him out make me a bad parent or sibling? While this is not always an easy choice to make, there are different factors that come into play.
First, there is the legal aspect of evicting a child out of the house. Different states in the United States have different laws about evicting a children living at home. You may be shocked to know that your children can sue you if you kick them out of your house. It is then better to contact an attorney to see the legal implications if you decide to ask your child to find another place to live.
Some parents take extreme measures like setting up their drug addict child with the police. In these situations, the parents believe that being in jail is the safer option instead of their adult children being in the streets.
If you are a spouse of a drug addict, you can only legally kick out your drug addict spouse by obtaining an order of exclusive occupancy. You can only do this if you are able to show evidence of assault, abuse or threat of physical harm. If you cannot prove that there is danger involved, it might be difficult to do so since you both equally own the house. If you are filing for divorce, you would have to legally agree on the living arrangements.
Choosing a more enduring solution
Saying that you want to kick out your child or your spouse is easier said than done. Parents don’t like the idea of their beloved children being homeless in the streets. And not all spouses are ready to kick out their partners permanently. There are husbands and wives of addicts who are willing to work on their marriage after their spouse completes addiction treatment.
Is kicking them out of the house still the best solution? While the “tough love” method may work for some families, this is only a short-term solution. When addicts find themselves homeless, it can be difficult for them to stay sober. They may feel abandoned so they make bad decisions and may go deeper into addiction. When this happens, families often blame themselves for making the problem worse. Many parents are unable to stop themselves from rescuing their children which will lead to enabling them. So, is there a middle ground?
Sadly, it is very difficult for you to change the behavior of a drug addict. You cannot make choices for an addict nor force them to do your will. But what you can control are your own actions. You have the power to change the way you deal with your loved one to potentially help them become better. While there is no guarantee, keeping these recommendations in mind could help your physical, emotional and mental well being.
Detach with love
If you’re not a fan of tough love then you will be pleased to know that there is a concept of detaching with love. What this means is taking a step back and not letting your life revolve around your addict loved one. When you detach with love, you prioritize your needs first before the addict’s needs. You should take care of yourself first before being involved in your loved one’s problems. Detaching does not always mean being physically away from a person. Instead, it refers to your emotional acceptance that there will be things beyond your control.
Stop enabling your loved one
Enabling a loved one means you are directly or indirectly contributing to their addiction problem. It is very difficult to determine what can be constituted as enabling. While you want your loved one to stop their drug addiction, you also do not want to abandon them. So, what are examples of actions that may enable your addict loved one? These are things that you provide to a person that they can earn alone if only they were sober. Here are some examples:
- Letting them live in your house without contributing in the expenses or in housework
- Giving them money even if you know they will use it for drugs
- Providing them food and drink for free with no expectation of payment
- Providing gas money or driving them when you know they are to meet addict friends
You can still show your support and love by providing things that cannot be bought by money or they cannot do alone such as:
- Listening to them when they need someone to talk to
- Spending time with them doing fun and productive activities like exercise and community service
- Including them in family activities and outings
- Giving them positive affirmation when they do something good like finding a job or attending meetings
Find a reliable treatment facility
The most important step in helping your addict loved one is to encourage them to seek treatment from a professional treatment center. This can offer a long-term solution and is a better option than just kicking them out to become homeless.
Knowing that they are in the hands of experts who can help them deal with their addiction will not only be good for them but you can also sleep better at night knowing that they are in good hands. If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse issues, contact Lighthouse Treatment Center to learn more about our different treatment options. Help is available today.