Recovering From Drugs and Alcohol Abuse
What does Drugs and Alcoholism recovery look like? You may imagine yourself on a recovery path that is smooth, wide and straight.
Or your path may be winding and narrow, with rocks and overgrowth blocking your progress. Maybe your recovery isn’t a path at all, but a seemingly endless cycle of using and not using, a cyclical pattern of good periods of time followed by bad.
We ask this question because recovery looks like the individual person, and no two people are alike. One person, through sheer will power and determination may be able to break the bonds of Drugs and Alcohol addiction, while another needs a multitude of services and nothing seems to work.
Medical people might explain that contrast in terms of an alteration of brain chemistry by the drug, possibly connected directly to some clinical diagnosis of depression.
Others may deny completely that recovery has any medical component at all, that the recovering addict is one who has overcome the demons inside with no help from any therapist, counselor or physician.
If you accept, even for a moment, that Drugs and Alcohol recovery can be explained in terms of a cycle, most of this section will make sense to you. While there are those who reject the idea of people being “helpless”over addiction, experience seems to show that most people ARE helpless and that’s what makes recovery so tough!
The Cycle of Drugs and Alcohol Addiction
I. Triggering Event
There are so many contributing factors to Drugs and Alcohol Addiction, but we will not go into that discussion here. For the purpose of this illustration, we will break down the triggering event into two categories.
First, one might drink for recreation, to get “high.” This party approach to alcohol may be thrill seeking, or have an element of peer pressure attached to it.
The second category is “to numb the pain.” The person uses alcohol to get rid of a feeling, not to create one. Something hurts and the user is trying to numb that hurt. They may just want to feel better, because something is missing from their life, or they may want to escape a reality because it’s too much to face.
In either case, whether to have a good time or to numb the pain, the cycle begins. They’re not thinking about alcohol detox because they’re not convinced they have a problem, yet.
II. Something is wrong
Many people can drink beer and liquor and never become an alcoholic. They may realize that their drinking is getting in the way, or they just do not enjoy or need to drink anymore. They quit and it’s over.
However, that is not true for many people, who arrive at the point where they realize there’s a problem, but they keep drinking. Perhaps they’re experiencing problems at work, or in personal relationships. Because they are drinking, they may get into legal problems, such as a DWI/DUI and they realize that change is necessary. They begin to consider ending their Alcohol Abuse. They know they have to do something.
When the management of their drinking begins to slip away, people will say“I’m going to cut back.” They know something is amiss, but they do not want to go through the fuss of treatment, unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Maybe they’ve cut back in the past, or quit altogether, but started using again. They are going to try harder. People don’t want to be told what to do, or how to do something, they want to do it their way. It’s not just people struggling with Drugs or Alcohol, it’s anybody. American culture reveres the individualist who proudly proclaims, “I did it my way.”
But most people can’t.
The finger pointers will say it’s because of a lack of will power, or a weakness of character. They say those who drink to excess are evil people. However, if one were to examine the other side of the issue and look at the addiction in terms of an alteration of brain chemistry, rendering some individuals powerless because of a chronic brain illness, then effort alone is not enough.
Moreover, we are human beings and human beings sometimes fail. Nobody bats 1.000 in baseball, and even a player who is considered a great hitter is going to fail seven times out of ten. The world sees a .300 hitter and calls him a star, but he failed in his seven other attempts. If you are batting .300 in your fight against Drugs or Alcohol, you’re failing.
Think of it in terms of trying to cut back or quit. Smokers can tell you their stories and we’ve all heard them. They’re good at quitting. But It isn’t that easy and neither is Drugs and Alcohol recovery. If it were, there would be no smokers or addicts. Right?
When someone decides to quit, they formulate a plan to follow and they try hard to execute that plan. If they stick to the plan, they are succeeding. However, if you have a setback, don’t despair, you have come the next stage of the addiction cycle.
Nobody likes to admit failure. It’s an ugly word in the Western culture. We like to think of ourselves as self-made people. We pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and become famous, or financially independent. We did the work and we deserve the reward. Failure is not permitted and those who fail are weak and undeserving.
In America, only those who win are given the credit. After all, the loser of the big game doesn’t get the parade. People apply winning and losing to Drugs Alcohol recovery, as if it were some kind of sporting or business competition. If you failed, you’re a loser.
What if failure was built into the human condition as a necessary indicator of a need for something or someone outside of one’s own self? It’s alright to admit you need help. In fact, it’s a necessary step in your recovery.
We’re not meant to be alone, and even though there are those who can break free of Drugs or Alcohol on their own, the truth is most of us can’t.
A failure can be caused by a variety of reasons. Perhaps in a moment of weakness a person took a drink or they experienced a traumatic event that was just too much to handle, or any one a thousand reasons prompted them to use again. They are back where they started and they need help.
They can get the help they deserve by calling the number below. They will get a “No Pressure” Free Consultation that will explain all the options.
(most insurance accepted – Medicare and Medicaid NOT Accepted)
Addition is a chronic illness
Drugs and Alcohol Addiction is a chronic illness, and like diabetes or heart illness, it needs to be managed. There are management tools to help keep a balance and to prevent the grip of addiction from preventing success.
The cycle needs to be broken, not just stopped.
Whatever the triggering mechanism that causes someone to use, it needs to be addressed. We believe that the root causes of Drugs and Alcohol must to be examined to prevent the cycle from progressing. When you find the cause and address the issue, you can formulate a plan and manage the problem.
People can and do break the cycle. If you can break the cycle on your own, great, but if you can’t there are caring, compassionate professional people to work with you and help you to succeed to break the addiction recovery cycle!
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