Free Hearts Amagara Logo

Early this month was called by lion’s (central) Kampala to talk about the above. I was given less than 15 minutes and I promised them that I would expand the same on our website for personal adaptation and critisism.

This article is divided into 5 pillars.

Now we are going to begin with pillar number 1.


Even if you intend to help out someone who is abusing substance. Remember that your own life is important too.

Consider how that problem (of abuse) is affecting you personally ans your surrounding.

React consciously and make intelligible choices because in such stress, our thinking becomes burred and we make courageous moves which result into physical hurt or even death. Even if you feel bad about the situation, understand your emotions and handle them with wisdom.

Knowing someone or living with someone in substance abuse involves to be aware of manipulative behaviors, anger, out-basts and sometimes violent.

These above can make you sick, get into everyday crisis, always worried and anxious. But your life is your life and cannot be duplicated, don’t put yourself on risk, it will be better if someone else will help you if not so sure.

Now lets look at pillar number 2.


This means you have to get to know or understand the kind of substance your beloved one is using and how it affects them.

In Uganda, the use of ethanol (Alcohol)…….problems. It wouldn’t serve any good purpose to talk to someone drunk, better to wait until he / she is sober and have an intelligent discussion. You can show him the damages in the house, plates, etc lost friendship and affected / lost trust. At this point, an alcoholic is well perceiving what you are talking and may begin to change.

If you are dealing with a user of THC, it carries no sense at all to have such a conversation with such an individual (user) even when he / she is sober. A productive discussion can be made with a family.

Get more education about nicotine (how it works). A nicotine abuser has a more of psychological problem than a physiological problem. Therefore, using a physician would be more useful after being empowered by a psychiatrist.

A nicotine user can be approached even when he’s action (smoking). Giving graphic pictures will be better than counseling but be aware nicotine users are probably poly users (meaning they are using other substances as well)

Poly users (handling poly users)

According to my experience, a professional addiction counselor is more equipped in handling a poly user because of underlying concurring issues that may range from not only using substances but also compulsive behaviours.

This article is written by a Ugandan and would like to limit my article to Uganda issues but for worldwide substances, please refer to other articles written on this website.

Pillar number 3.


Reaction is to respond to the problem. Remember you want to help. So how do you want to help;

You can give information to the family or to the individual himself who requires the help however, keep the first principle on mind (ie.) your safety. (are you safe).

These are some wrong ways people have tried to respond / help.

  • Giving money to the addict in order for him/her to stop stealing from others. By doing this you feel used and abused.
  • Hiding money from him in order to stay at home preventing him from obtaining substances. This makes you feel controlled.
  • Doing all the hygiene for him e.g washing his clothes, cleaning his room. This makes you images issues amplified.
  • Reporting to the police / authority about his behavior. This can make you exposed and ashamed.

These are some of the responses we do thinking we’re helping, though at times they work but to a big extent, they don't work.

However, all professionals agree on expressing how you feel emotionally to the person you are trying to help is better than acting out. Reacting to such situations of such substance, abuser will depend on personal wisdom and ………..

Pillar number 4.


Most times, we’re not well equipped to handle substance abusers even if we’re willing to help. The best way is to seek profession help. If you think a psychiatrist can help, visit him/her and explain the nature of the problem.

You can talk to a psychologist or an addiction counselor.

You can use the knowledge of a physician or doctor.

If violence or breaking the law, visit the police or LC1 or relative with authority over the user.

Sometimes employers can be of help to instigate this possibility which the has abandoned.

Probably, most of the above professionals may advise you to take him to a rehabilitation were alcoholistic care is given under one roof.

Pillar number 5.


This is necessary to avoid……… but often it requires diligence for example;

  1. interest of the person who is being helped.
  2. Knowing trigger areas that lead to abuse.
  3. Choosing a follow up…...member professional person to make a follow up.
  4. Learning from previous mistakes.
  5. Involving whole family into therapy procedure.
  6. Finding other resources that can help like a job, going back to school, changing friends.