This blog is for friends and families of those dealing with someone in addiction, in order to maybe better help you understand.
Understand that the drugs or alcohol is a symptom of the true issue … like pain being a symptom of a piece of glass in your leg. If you stop the pain ~ stop the symptom ~ it doesn't deal with the fact that a piece of glass in still in the leg.
Addiction is the same way, but on a much grander and more complicated way. Let me try to explain.
First ~ the drugs (meaning both drugs or alcohol) cause a dependence. It is emotional, physical, chemical, and habitual. Therefore "just say no" would be like someone telling you to "just stop loving your child" … probably not going to 'just' happen.
Second ~ there is the real driving reason that they continued to do drugs to begin with (the piece of glass). This can be one thing, many, a combination there of and is almost always in combination with co-occurring disorders: depression, anxiety, and the like.
Third ~ the age that they started 'using' at, is the age they still are! This is VERY important to understand as it impacts their judgement, understanding, motivation and the like. A 12 year old doesn't understand the responsibility of an adult or parent; they don't understand long term consequences or goals; they are much more concerned with the 'now' vs what 'could' happen if they do "x, y and z"; they have a tendency to lie or stretch the truth; they have not learned life coping skills; and the list could go on and on.
Fourth ~ their environment is just as important to change as their own mind, but that's not always easy. It's would be like asking you to leave everyone you know and love, and move to a place where you know no one … and just start over. People keep using "just" like it should be no big deal. Trust me folks, everything about trying to change in addiction is a big deal. You must understand this was their life! For most people, their world revolved around drugs … period! Eating even becomes an afterthought! This is why the push to change people/places/things that you hear about in AA/NA.
Fifth ~ YOU must change! Yes, you the helper/caregiver/family member needs to change as well! YOU need to go to meetings so you know what you should or shouldn't do. YOU need to research addiction so you understand what you are battling. The irony is … the very people yelling "just say no" and "why don't they just quit" won't do the work they need to do either. The same excuses … I don't have time, I didn't do this, I have a life, and the like. So understand that you won't change ONE thing about you, but you want them to "just" change their WHOLE life … hypocrisy much?
I hope this sheds some light on what addiction really is. Change starts with understanding!
Who am I?
I have been called "Sirthinkalot" and "The mender of souls." I am an addiction specialist and a full-time psychology student on the way to Dr. Davis in clinical psychology. I am currently crusading for the expedited paradigm shift in addiction recovery!