Addiction is a disease that affects the lives of so many people, the numbers are staggering. Even more alarming is the fact that many addicts are in denial, which means that the number of people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in our country could be far greater than we actually know.The addict of drugs or alcohol is generally in a state of denial and believes that he or she can stop at any time. This is not true. Once an addict has begun the cycle of denial, they have entered the realm of addiction. Although they know it is wrong and they know the effects that drugs and alcohol can have on them both mentally and physically, they put these negative effects and consequences out of their mind and continue to use. This is the quagmire of addiction. How, then, does addiction work? Let’s take a brief look at what some of the determining factors are.FROM A SCIENTIST’S POINT OF VIEWCompulsion is the main aspect that propels an addict through their addiction. Addiction manifests itself in different ways, and can sprout up seemingly out of nowhere. Science has been studying addiction for many years now, attempting to locate the addiction centers to see exactly how they work. The trouble with this is that addiction is a very individualized behavior, slightly different with every individual it affects.Psychological addiction is when an addict believes that he or she needs the substance they abuse to be able to function. Whether it is a drink to calm their nerves or a line of cocaine to give them a pick-me-up, the psychological addict honestly believes that they are fine, but that they require these substances to feel balanced. Although not as serious as a physical addiction, psychological addiction is very strong and debilitating for addicts nonetheless.Physical addiction is when the addict’s body requires certain amounts of a drug to be able to function. This is quite common with users of crack cocaine, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and even alcohol. The addict has used these substances for so long and so frequently that there body is unable to function properly without certain levels of drugs and/or alcohol in their system. Without the drugs or alcohol, the body begins to experience withdrawal. Withdrawal is a painful process in which the body begins to shut down and violently crave the drugs that it needs in order to function.GENETICALLY SPEAKINGAccording to some scientists, a person’s genes can determine whether or not they have a propensity for addiction. There are even some in the scientific community who have gone so far as to claim that certain ethnic backgrounds are more at-risk for addiction than others. Whether this is true or not, statistically speaking, familial traits do seem to play a role in the addictive behaviors of individuals. This could also be because those who have sought treatment in the past recognize it at earlier stages than those who have not had to deal with addiction in their families.ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORSEnvironment has a lot to do with how individuals behave. Many addicts grew up around other addicts, whether in the immediate family or with those that they spent a lot of time with during their development. Neighborhoods where drugs are prevalent naturally have more addicts than “clean” neighborhoods, although no one is immune to the problem of addiction.FINAL THOUGHTSThe fact of the matter is that addiction cannot be traced back to one factor. There are usually several precipitating factors that ultimately help to spawn an addict. A combination of genetic or family history, combined with an environment in which the potential addict is exposed frequently to drug and alcohol abuse compounds the likelihood of addiction in an individual. The important thing to remember is that addiction is a disease. No one chooses to become an addict; there are many factors involved. Seeking help and beginning a rehab program of recovery is the best way to fight back.
This is not a disease that cuddling, warm blankets and pity will help! Addicts do, most often respond to kindness and understanding, when it is properly given or very often, administered by a professional care-giver, or another addict, hopefully in Recovery!Stop giving in to your heart, at least the one that says openly, “I feel so sorry for you!” This is an invitation for disappointment and even worse, enabling. Most likely, you can’t help but feel sorry at times. But, every time you do anything that makes it easier, even temporarily, for an addict to carry on with their disease, you help the severity of the problem increase. Saying “no” is a good thing. Addicts try to avoid people who say “no”. They’re obsessed! They are acting “compulsively” or being true to the nature of addiction! There is a strong possibility that they are experiencing “craving”! Right now, you’re probably just a “resource”! Yeah, I know, “They might not even come around if I do that.” Well, are you going to keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result? There is no middle ground, here, you’re either a part of the solution or you’re part of the problem, period!No matter what; Don’t give them money!!!This is rule number one. It’s rule number two. It’s the rule of all rules… If you’re thinking they need to eat something, feed them, right now. Don’t give them a few bucks for food. Don’t send them away with a bunch of food from your cupboards. Don’t take them shopping. Let them feel the effects of addiction.Why we have to do things this way…Doing these kind of things has effects that last and will come into their minds, later. Later, when you’re not around they’ll think, “Man, she wouldn’t even give me any food. Mom didn’t feed me! She must be getting’ really fed up with my Junk!” When they’re at your house, do they follow the rules or standards that are commonly accepted in your home? I doubt it! Do you sometimes feel better just because, “At least I know where they’re at and I know that they are safe?” What a false sense of security is this? The truth is, you’re being a kind of, sanctuary. They are living in a world that is, yes, dangerous, cold, and even cruel. If they are provided a “safe” place to hide from that, even temporarily, it provides a way to regroup and go back out and “handle” their insane world. The sooner that life in addiction becomes unbearable, the better the chances are that they’ll consider the possibility that they may need help. Even if they know they need help, actually doing something can be almost impossible because of the craving and the defense mechanisms that they have learned, to be able to continue to practice the addiction. Addiction is like a dark being and it does not want to give them up. Most addicts endure unbelievable discomfort, conditions, and emotional sickness for a very long time before they can give in to the need for change in their lives. So… Don’t give them a place to stay.So far, we don’t give them money, and…We don’t give them a place to stay…What’s next? We do not get into confrontations with them.No, absolutely no, confrontation!Do not get into confrontations with people. This is a pretty damned good idea for everyday life regarding everyone, isn’t it? You probably already conform to this with any other “sick” person. Well, guess what, you’re dealing with a sick person. This definitely is not the only reason, and it’s really not the most important reason. The most important reason is you. It’s you, because confrontation with an addict by someone close to them is very seldom productive and results mostly in getting you upset more than it does them. This is about you, not them. Admit it! Doesn’t almost every confrontation that you have with someone close to you result in an aftermath? You made a fool of yourself. You hurt them. It was all a waste of breath. Now, you’re upset, shaking, mad, hurt, guilty, and sad and God only knows what pain you can bring upon yourself! If you have to turn around and walk away the instant you realize what you’re doing, then that’s what you have to learn to do. It’s better if you can put a little of your feelings out there, though. Like maybe you could say, “I’m not going to let you do this. You are not going to ruin my day/life no matter how much you’d like to!” Whatever it is, it must be controlled. You have to learn to always be the one who stays in control. You must do this for your own peace of mind, and to begin calming the chaos. Addiction brings chaos into lives. It’s one of the things that make you feel so helpless and hopeless. It doesn’t have to be that way. When you display self-discipline you begin role modeling.This is a powerful “tool” in the kit for addiction.The addicted mind uses any loss of control that you display as a jumping off point for rampant “ego defense”. Sigmund Freud identified these “ego defensemechanisms” in the beginnings of psychiatry. Some examples are denying, rationalizing, justifying, blaming, minimizing, bargaining and so on. They are normal psychological functions blown out of proportion. The addict uses these to be comfortable with the things they do that they know are wrong, but must do to keep using drugs. You already know that you do things wrong when strong emotions take over. Usually the main thing with confrontation is ANGER. Anger produces even more problems for you because it usually elevates your blood pressure, increases you heart rate, and even can upset your stomach. I guarantee you these symptoms will be worse on you than the addict because they are going right back to the quest to appease that “craving”. In no time at all they’ll forget about you and what was said and go on about the business of taking care of their drug habit. They do not mean to be callous or mean or anything like that, they just do what addiction causes addicts to do. Don’t take it to heart. When the drugs go away, this is going to be one of their biggest problems, when it all sets in, about how they have done people… about how they have done the very people who they are going to need to battle the disease of addiction. The guilt and shame from this kind of thing is tough on recovering addicts, but it is also one of the strongest motivator for change. Everything in God’s world happens for a reason. You just can’t always see it!Liking it too much.No money, no shelter, no confrontation. This is already a big order, especially when you really care about someone and it feels so mean to do this. It’s not mean if you’re not doing it to be mean, and only you really know why you do what you do. You can’t let what other people think stop you here. This is the correct way to handle this with the future in mind. You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. Be careful, because it will bring so much relief to you that you just might start I in no way want you to think that I am advocating the development of cruelty in your personality. I don’t want anyone to be mean. That’s not the idea. It may feel that way at first, and it’s OK, even good to question your motives and your feelings. Mean is not good. It never is. Once you establish parameters known as boundaries, for you and for the addict, positive interaction will begin to happen, or at least can begin to happen. It’s kind of like cutting out the BS!Learning things for the sake of both you and them…Almost anyone that is not an addict has a healthier mind than an addict. I guess that’s quite a statement but I believe it’s true.Why? Are you sure?Addicts become so possessed by the overwhelming obsession and compulsion to obtain the drug to appease the craving, that their behavior becomes almost subconsciously automatic. The “common” behavior displayed by addicts is some proof of this. Behavior has been observed over large numbers of addicts over long periods of time, now. We know that like any other disease, symptoms are predictable. So, as an educated professional in treatment of addiction to alcohol and other drugs, I hope that it will suffice with what you have previously read here, to say that addiction is a very debilitating disease. What it does to those who suffer from it is absolutely heartbreaking. And, yes I have had to develop a very rational manner of looking at the addict. Rational, I say, but neither cold nor cruel. Just be very objective. This is the only thing that can save you and your addict. Try to see the reality of what is going on. The brain has been changed and it results in producing, a different person from before taking drugs, and moving into the state of, addiction.The “Victims” of addiction often become very much in the same position as the addict that they are associated with. By this, I mean that both need help with their lives. The negative effects of addiction are as infectious as any virus. You cannot have addiction in your life without it taking a toll. But, with a little effort and the willingness to learn, these negative effects can be minimized. This EBook is a step in the right direction, and can help you very much, but human companionship has no substitute. It is not our nature, though society sometimes tries to convince us that this is not true, to be able to face life alone. I repeat, “It is not our nature to be able to face life alone!” There is nothing wrong with getting help. If you can do that, it’s one more way of role modeling for an addict, that they need not be alone in this fight for self preservation.