Tik is renowned as one of the most addictive drugs in South Africa, an ‘upper’ drug that induces intense but short-lived euphoria, confidence and paranoia. Officially known as Crystal Meth, it’s an extremely addictive substance that hooks its victims more often than not from the first hit, making it extremely dangerous.

The mind-altering and addictive nature of any drug make dealing with an addict a monstrously difficult task. If you’re faced with a loved one suffering from addiction, it’s important for them, and for yourself, to handle the situation appropriately. Forget everything you think it takes to support that person as you normally would; while this process is normal and nothing to be ashamed of, what you can consider the norm for your loved one no longer applies, and you’ll have to alter your way of caring for them accordingly.

Here’s our guide to dealing with a Tik addict. Remember that you are equally vulnerable in trying times like this, and you should seek as much support and guidance as you need when dealing with the hardships of addiction and recovery.

Watch out for bizarre behaviour

It’s horrible to watch a loved one’s behaviour change erratically. When repeated patterns of negative behaviour and events start occurring, it’s not unreasonable to suspect it could be related to drug abuse. A drug addict will do all that they can to hide their drug use, so pay attention to those long unexplained absences. Follow up on excuses, and you’ll find the real reason for their behavioural change.

Take note of irregular spending

Drug addiction doesn’t come cheap, and when large sums of money start disappearing without a trace, it’s not unrealistic to suspect drug abuse. It’s not wrong to question a family member on where the money is going when they start frequently running short on funds, constantly needing financial help. Do some investigating, ask the hard and tough questions, and don’t feel guilty for making money a matter of contention.

Don’t enable their bad behaviour with kindness

This is a trap we often fall into; as friends and family of an addict, you’ll want to help them. Lending an addict the car after they’ve crashed theirs to get to work, or giving them money, only enables them to pursue their drugs. To help them it’s better to be firm in your kindness; don’t supply them with money when you don’t know exactly where it’s going, and don’t make it easier for them to acquire drugs by finding them new jobs every other day.

Resist the lies and manipulation

Something we have to come to grips with is that an addict, no matter their prior disposition, is a slave to their drug of choice. It’s all-consuming, and they’ll do whatever it takes to push people away or take from them to facilitate their drug use. They’ll lie to you to get what they want, and even attempt to manipulate you into agreeing with them or take the fault for their addiction. If an addict turns on you with lies and manipulation when you question them for their behaviour, stand firm. You don’t need to be taken for a ride, and you have the right to question them.

Protect your home and valuables

If it’s established or you have suspicions that your loved one is suffering from drug addiction, don’t feel guilty at the prospect of needing to protect your values and possessions. As much as it hurts to believe, an addict is not the same person they were before they started using. Addiction is all-consuming, and an addict will not be above stealing family heirlooms, cherished possessions, or electronics to pay for their habits. Change the locks at home, install a new security system, cancel your shared accounts and have a real discussion with your bank about protecting your finances. By cutting off any opportunity for them to acquire money for drugs, you are preventing them from continuing their bad habits.

Don’t approach the problem alone

You’ve finally reached this point of absolute certainty; your loved one is abusing Tik, and you know they’re a slave to their addiction. They’re not the same person, and they can’t fight the drug on their own.

It’s often hard and even shameful for families to admit to others that they’re dealing with an addict, and they don’t want to admit to friends, family or community members that they need assistance confronting the addict about their addiction.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. Community leaders and ministers are always on hand to assist in these matters, and holding a meeting with the addict to present your findings as a group is more powerful than confronting the issue alone. Especially if the addict has already turned to manipulation or dangerous behaviour.

Research the best rehab for them

Now that the abuse is out in the air, you may be lucky enough to have your loved one agree to pursue treatment. This is a monumental first step towards recovery, and it’s easy to feel urgent and desperate to get them in the nearest rehab as soon as time will allow.

But bear in mind that rehabs offer different approaches to the road to sobriety. Some offer short term treatment, others long term, and some offer post-rehab support while others don’t.

Closer is also more often than not the worst possible option, as they may run into familiar abusers from the drug community. By sending them far away from a familiar environment, you set them up for recovery free from triggers

So take the time to do your research; make phone calls to the rehabs you have in mind, speak to the parents, friends and family of those who have gone through treatment there. Ask the important questions about treatment, about their methods, and what you can realistically expect from that treatment.

Once you’ve chosen your rehabilitation centre of choice, make a contact there, someone you can turn to for an honest opinion on their performance for your own peace of mind.

And most important of all… Don’t give up.

We come to our last and final piece of advice. Don’t give up hope.

The road to recovery for an addict is a long and difficult one, not just for the sufferer, but for the family as well. Relapse is an ever-looming threat for any addict, but Tik is an especially addictive ‘upper’ drug, and moments of stress, depression and breakdown are dangerous.

Your loved one may go through several relapses and stints in treatment, but don’t give up on them. Choosing the right drug rehabilitation treatment is key to breaking the cycle of addiction, and with time and love, your loved one can return to you.

If you suspect someone close to you has started abusing substances, be it tik, marijuana or cocaine, don’t be afraid to come forward. Our team at Bethesda Recovery are always here to assist.