3 Things You Ought to Know About Addiction
Substance abuse is a baffling subject and the myths on addiction are endless
How Do You Know Its Addiction?
I know it has been a moment, but here we are. And, it feels great to touch on Addiction, again. It is a broad subject, and there is the urge to dive right in. So before we dig in more profound, first things first.
Debbie has missed work two days in a row.
Right now, she hates herself.
Because it is the fourth time in two months that she made herself a promise: no more drinking, no more to shooting heroin. But she fails, miserably.
She does everything she knows to do to avoid temptation.
Debbie even changed her route going back home from work.
Try as she might, nothing works
Poor Debbie, the frustration is rife, and doom hangs close mere inches away.
More so, Debbie remembers the warning letters from HR, three in all, smack gab mid-career, a quantity surveyor.
Wrath builds up within her and fear encompasses around, Debbie is drowning in the sea of guilt, shame, and despair. It is not a pretty picture.
Dear friends, Debbie is not alone; many of us (addicts) are lost in this web of deception: we can stop drinking and substance abuse on a whim. Nothing is further from the truth. Like in this case, Debbie, at some point lost control and these habits are in control.
Folks, the truth Debbie is powerless. And, in this circumstance, it is no longer a matter of choice, it remains but a vicious whirlwind.
Now take a close look at Debbie because she is part of our, “Understanding Addiction." And to stick to the right path, we first need to know what addiction IS NOT.
So let us look at the some of the myths that surround addiction:
1. Addiction is a matter of choice
Many people argue that the addict makes a decision to use. Again the answer is Yes and No. At the get-go, yes, it is a choice, but after continued use, this changes to dependency (Doweiko, 2014; Kuerbis, Sacco, Blazer, & Moore, 2018). Again, dependency/addiction is not privy to the young. It may come as a surprise, but even the “baby boomers” generation has its rank (tsk).
Did I digress? No, the information is a vital part of the whole. I can't stress enough that addiction is vast, so sometimes we need to “tap here,” and “touch there” to get a clear picture.
Anyway, back to Debbie, the bad news is that Debbie’s situation, which is, low social support and stress fuels dependency.
Can you see the external factors move into play?
Instances of these factors include poverty and homelessness (Stimmel, 2002). They too have a role in addiction, but that’s for another day.
You are probably thinking, Debbie, is not poor nor homeless, she has a job. True, she does and a well-paying one at that. But, addiction is no respecter of persons: rich or poor, young or old; rural or urban, doesn’t matter, professor or vegetable vendor.
Having said that, we need to root out another myth:
2. Once an addict always an addict
Naturally, the above “belief” prompts the question, is there hope for Debbie? Yes, there is. Foremost, Debbie needs to understand her makeup, she is “allergic” to alcohol so to speak. Therefore, Debbie’s lot in life is that the negative consequences of drinking alcohol are cast in stone. She should entirely refrain from it. And, that is the cut and dried answer, no compromise no consolations, bare fact.
Another thing is Debbie needs to get her body to the required status, (natural or proper state as some say). In essence, the body needs to return to a place of normal function independent of chemicals (heroin and booze). Folks this is attainable though it takes effort, commitment, and time.
Are you ready to eliminate another “sacred cow”?
3. Addicts can regulate the use of their substance of choice
I’m afraid that is impossible. Will Debbie ever drink safely? Or shoot cocaine for fun? No way, it will kill her. Don’t be fooled “safe” drinking does not apply to the addict. And it never will. Neither will a social “shot” of heroin, it doesn’t work.
Are you skeptical?
Let me put this way: Debbie should never drink alcohol or use cocaine or heroin etc. for the rest of her life. In short, she is an addict. No pan indeed, but it’s just way it is. Remember we live in a fallen world and we can’t explain away why people are allergic to peanuts or margarine or bee stings among other disorders. It is a reaction to a stimulant, right?
So let us not judge too harshly the alcoholic: we react negatively to alcohol. And, the drug addict is prone to unhealthy chemical dependency.
On a light note, I bet each one of us has an innate hiccup here and there. It may not be as detrimental as the addictive “gene” or highly impulsive disorder, but it is there alright, and harmful as well (ouch).
Please, don’t slight the above claims, these come from those who have walked this path, experimenting in the crooks and crannies as well as the mountains and valley.
As for my fellow friend in recovery or struggling with substance abuse remember you are not alone in this walk.
Further, here is a trustworthy saying “Just for Today,” Paul sums it very well:
”There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV
And, good ol’ Peter resonates with Paul: He reckons, " But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus ... after yea have suffered a while, makes you perfect, establishes, strengthen, settle you," 1 Peter 5:10 KJV
What glorious promises, hold on to such. Whatever is happening around you or to you is not unique to you, it has occurred or is happening to someone on this planet.
Friend, please stick to your part that is keep off that “stuff,” and you will be amazed at God’s faithfulness.
Here is more good news, there is a proven approach, treatment and help for those struggling with substance abuse. Indeed Debbie can live out the rest of her days as a healthy, productive, and content individual.
Okay folks, please keep it here as we unravel the “mystery”– Addiction.