Addiction is such an ugly word. People are either afraid of the word or use it too loosely. I remember growing up and being afraid of crack addicts or laughing at the comedy skits depicting addicts in a comical manner. But now I’m all grown up and treating people with addiction(s).
I didn’t want to work with addicts. I didn’t want to bother with forcing anyone to seek treatment for something I once thought that they wanted to do. Boy did God made me reconsider. My first license is in clinical addiction. For a whole year I worked with individuals with substance use, codependency, gambling, and sex addiction. That first year was a wonderful experience. It opened my eyes and heart to addiction. I discovered the beautiful truth about addiction.
I became more aware of addiction and how it was more than just drinking alcohol or shooting up drugs. I began to understand that people didn’t wake up thinking “I want to do drugs”. People didn’t remain on drugs out of a choice. People who wanted to stop didn’t know how. I began to understand that taking drugs, drinking alcohol, having an obsession with shopping , sex, or gambling, setting fires or any impulsive behavior that was producing a pleasurable release to the brain was addiction.
Addiction affects all people know matter the race, gender, social economic status, age, culture etc. Although addiction tends to only get profiled the ugly truth I want to provide three beautifult truths.
- One can recover from addiction. Individuals can stop taking drugs and alcohol, refrain from unhealthy sexual behaviors (another blog), manage their shopping habits, stop gambling, eat mindfully, develop healthy relationships, etc. Recovery is a life long process. It is not something that happens over night nor should supporters have the false notion that the urges will go away. (a possible training I may do).
- One doesn’t want to remain on their substance/process/behavior of choice. Often times when there is an addiction it is a way to suppress a distress. Addiction is what I like to call self medicating to handle stress, anxiety, depression, family challenges, personal challenges, etc. It is a way to escape into another reality or to produce pleasure chemicals in our brain to alert us that we feel better now. When individuals find another way of coping that is healthier and meaningful recovery is easier. The addiction begans to let go of the control it has on the individual. Think of addiction as the puppet master.
- Addict and family together can equal successful recovery. Addiction is a family problem. Ahhhhhh. I bet you’re saying but I’m not the addict. Well if you look deep within yourself there maybe some type of behavior that is addictive or a family history or some codependency (but that’s another blog/training). What I mean by addiction being a family problem is that if affects everyone connected to the addict. Therefore it is a family problem. Good news. As a family you can help with the success of recovery by being a part of recovery. Attend therapy sessions for yourself while getting the addict love one some help (residential, outpatient treatment, group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, support groups, sponsor). Be supportive the best way that you can. If you don’t know how it is important that you seek local support to learn how.
I can go on and on and on forever about the topic of addiction. 🙂
Check out the resources below. If you or someone you love is affected by addiction please seek help. I am a licensed clincial addictional specialist-associate and I am here to help. You can contact me at 910-434-5325 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tahiyya Martin xo