I have wanted to write a short series on this topic since my first post on here, but it was not until today that I felt freed up inside to begin. Its unlike most of my writing because I cannot think of another subject that has affected my family and I any more than addiction. I don’t know of anything that has caused more torment, pain, and hurt in the lives of those that I deeply love.
I call this part ” My Own Take” because it really is my own take, based on first hand experience in the real world of substance abuse. I know that some things that I will express may be different than what some have read and been taught and I hope you will go into this with an open mind and open heart as well. This is by far the most risky post I have put out, but I know how many people are suffering silently and feel there is a huge unmet need for people to share information.
Addiction is just a choice-Addiction is just a choice-Addiction is just a choice
I get the most irritated when I hear someone say that addicts just need to make a choice. This never comes from an addict by the way, but usually from the armchair addict who is quick to judge and slow to understand. The dull in mind, the apathetic.I have had friends who have had cancer or other diseases and I wonder what there reactions would be if I popped in one day and told them to ” snap out of it” – to quit being selfish? I don’t think it would go over too well with them or their families yet it is acceptable to say this to addicts in many circles.
Let me be clear about what I consider a addict. I refer to those who struggle with a substance, with regulating it, and do not respond to behavioral techniques or traditional treatment. I am not talking about the party animals out there who like to get high. I mean those of us who have sat on the floor of a bathroom throwing up, wishing we could throw up, freezing cold, then hot, sick as can be and all the while pouring what little bit of alcohol we can down our throats only to throw it back up again. That’s addiction. I mean those of us who were on the 12th drink when the others were having there 3rd. The ones who get in legal trouble for substances ( DUI) etc and simply return to the same lifestyle even after all the pain it has caused.
If any if the armchair warriors want to really know what addiction is like they should spend some time learning about those who are addicts. I spent 30 days in rehab with a lawyer, a business owner and a rock star in Miami when I was about 30. They didn’t look like addicts, they had cash, they had nice houses, boats and all. However, they were miserable. They wanted to die just like me. Addiction can be explained chemically, yet nobody gives it that much credibility as a disease. Its ironic since millions of addicts are out there waiting, hoping and praying for some relief to addiction. As a matter of fact the success rate of treatment is so very low, that it amazes me how people do not believe it to be any more than a choice, a switch that you need to flip to make it all better. What a joke that is.
Tough Love Tough Love Tough Love Tough Love Tough Love
Tough love and addiction go together like oil and water. however you will still find the rehabs that offer good ole strict discipline as their primary method of treatment. It reminds me of some of the parents I have worked with who have Autistic children, and dont understand why they wont respond to spanking. Autism 101 is clear that many children with the disorder cannot tolerate basic touch, but spanking actually makes things worse. Same is true when you have an addict who is suffering severely from shame, guilt, who is busted and disgusted with himself and then you issue some good old fashion tough love. Its a deal breaker from the start.
I will give you a very simple example of how the shame game will not and does not work. You have all heard of AA I am sure. I was a victim myself of AA for a few months back in the day. They brag an astounding 5% success rate. For those no good at math that means about 9 out of every ten people that attend AA fail and relapse. What is interesting, and why I bring up this point is that they base much of their program and meetings on shaming yourself into guilt, then “guilting” your way into sorrow, and finally admitting to yourself that you are forever an alcoholic and you will end up in jail, institutions or dead if you dont quit. The reason there is a problem here is because no matter how we dress it up, the end result is still that the addict needs to quit and they cannot.
If you have followed me for any time (thanks!) then you may have read one of my posts on the power of words and the confessions of our mouth. I believe that what we say has much to do with what we do, and how we act. Therefore our thoughts should be kept in check so our words will be in line with what we would like to happen. Using the example of AA, this school of thought could cause great conflict for the addict looking for a way out of addiction. If each time I attend an AA meeting , I stand up and confess to the group that my name is Tim, and I am an alcoholic I might be starting a battle I don’t want. I want to say that I know there is still that 5% that do have success at AA so I am not saying it has no value. Millions say it does wonders for them.
In my way of thinking there are only a few option to beat addiction. Willpower, although often discussed has a very low success rate but still it is an option. Treatment with meds and therapy is an option also. Programs like AA and NA are there. The one solution that has helped me in the past is my faith. I believe, as a Christian that God does and will heal people of many afflictions and addictions. This list is not exhaustive, just a few options. Personally I put my faith to work first and use the others as ancillary services to whatever healing i have received from God.
Well, I will end this first post in my series on addiction, and please understand this is just an introduction so if you diidnt see what you were looking for, I will more than likely get to it. If you would like a certain topic addressed that relates to this subject, please leave a comment. Your comments and feedback are the only way I know what you like and want to read. This is a very personal topic that affects people from all races, professions, and age. If you work in a field that is not sensitive to these types of issues and need help but are afraid to step out, I can help. Use my personal email to let me in on your story and we will see what we can do with 100% privacy.
Thanks for reading, and see you soon!