Problems arising from addiction can include:
The definition of addiction is an unhealthy relationship with a substance or process which results in negative consequences. Addiction is a powerful force that drives you to continue the behavior despite the negative consequences.
Alcohol and Drug dependency is a disease, (American Medical Association) it is chronic and progressive. Just like other diseases, without intervening in its course it gets worse.
Following incomprehensible personal deterioration and unnecessary torment, so many good people have humbly admitted: "I came to recognize that alone, I was powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable" (Alcoholics Anonymous, 1976).
Many addicts and alcoholics struggle with shame. This is due in part to the unfair stigma of our culture. Having an addiction should be no less shameful that a broken leg and it doesn't make you a bad person-just a sick person needing to get well. Other causes of shame include childhood experiences and the result of behavior caused by addiction.
Dependence on any addiction is characterized by lack of control and an inability to cut down. What may have started as "I'll just have one...", or "just tonight" becomes, once again, a painful spiral into a spree with its accompanying feelings of remorse, self-loathing and despair. If you are addicted you are probably experiencing fear, sadness, isolation, guilt, embarrassment, humiliation, hurt and confusion. Don't despair- there is hope for recovery.
All individuals have unique sensitivities to the effects of substances or addictive processes on their body, mind, emotions, and social functioning. If your using has progressed to a place where you have lost control of it, you can't use safely.
The use of defenses becomes common in an effort to maintain the behavior. You may minimize the situation saying: "I only had two", blame others: "If it wasn't for them..." and deny reality: "It really isn't a problem". This type of thinking is what leads to using and must be addressed in order to recover.
It has been proven again and again that some people must abstain from their drug or behavior of choice (and alcohol is a drug) in order to recover. There are instances where moderation is possible and this is best approached with the help of a qualified counsellor.
Recovery is possible but it rarely happens for people without help. Help is available through detox, counselling, residential treatment, and support recovery housing. Twelve Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and Co-dependents anonymous have helped millions of people all over the world recover and they may help you. I recommend going to several meetings and giving the program a fair chance. Remember: our minds are like parachutes, they work better when they are open! Telephone numbers for these programs can be found in your local telephone directory.
Relapse prevention is an important part of recovery. It may be that you have been to detox for supervised withdrawal from the alcohol and or other drugs, and then to residential treatment. You have learned about your addiction and the process of recovery. When you leave treatment, it is important to have follow-up therapeutic support for when you meet those inevitable bumps on the road and you want to turn to using again to cope. Twelve Step programs can be immensely helpful in maintaining your recovery by joining a fellowship of others and working a spiritual program of recovery in order to stay stopped.
When you stop using you will probably find (especially early in recovery) that you find it difficult to manage stress, your emotions may be overwhelming and you are having difficulty sleeping--these are called PAWS--Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms, and they can last up to two years. You may get easily overwhelmed and can fall prey to using again for lack of coping skills and the familiar comfort that your addiction brings.
Relapsing is commonly part of the process of getting well. Don't get down on yourself if it happens to you. With help, you can learn from the experience, and prevent yourself from making the same mistake again.
Recovery means learning to live life without the alcohol, drugs or other addictive substances or processes. If you have been resorting to using for many years this is a considerable challenge, but it can be done, there is hope and you are not alone. Call now for a free consultation from an experienced addictions specialist.
Counselling for Family of the Alcoholic/Addict
Addiction is a disease that affects not only the addicted person, but his/her family as well. Many children grow up in homes where one or both parents are addicted. Children of alcoholics are often also physically, sexually, and emotionally abused. Even if no overt abuse happened, children of alcoholics suffer damage.
Although children try to keep the disease a secret, others may sense there is something wrong. They may be failing at school, withdrawing from classmates, showing delinquent behavior (stealing or violence), having frequent physical complaints (headaches or stomachaches), abusing alcohol or other drugs, are suffering from depression and have suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Getting help early may prevent more serious problems developing for your child. Teenagers can see where the Al-Ateen groups meet in your area if you are affected by addiction in your family.
Adults who were raised in dysfunctional families (Adult Children Of Alcoholics and Otherwise Dysfunctional Homes, ACOA's) often report difficulties forming and maintaining intimate relationships, maintaining positive self-esteem, and trusting others; they fear a loss of control, deny their feelings and reality (Vannicellie, 1989). ACOA's also report feelings of guilt and depression.
They are more likely than non-ACOA's to marry into families in which alcoholism is prevalent. Help is available through the ACOA program in your area or call 604.733.7428 for a free consultation with an experienced addictions specialist.
Is Someone's Addiction Suffocating You?
Do you feel that you are always holding your breath? Do you wonder whether your spouse, parent, or friend will be mean, violent, subdued, depressed or withdrawn? Someone totally different from who he or she is when not drinking or using?
It is very painful to watch someone you care about struggling with addiction. The helplessness we feel in dealing with them often leads us to drastic measures to attempt to change their behaviors. These approaches don't work, but we find ourselves using them anyway.
They include things like:
Despite your best efforts they will not change. Here you need to remind yourself of the Three C's of Addiction: you didn't cause it, you can't cure it, and you can't control it. They need to have professional help to change.
What you need to realize if someone's addiction is suffocating you is that the person you first must help is yourself because that's the only person you really can change.
Al-anon is a program of recovery for family and friends of alcoholics. In a 1999 survey of Canada and the US, 88% of Al-Anon members said the alcoholic's drinking affected their ability to function daily at work or home, and 67% said the alcoholic's drinking affected their overall health status.
Al-Anon members also rated the benefits of their recovery to their program on a 3 point scale: improved mental health/well being - 2.9, increased ability to function daily at home and work - 2.9, and better overall health status - 2.8.
Nar-Anon is another helpful program for loved ones who are addicted to cocaine, crystal meth, marijuana and other drugs.
Co-Dependent's Anonymous is for those who affected by another's disease of addiction.
Besides working your own program of recovery, counselling can help by:
So even if your loved ones don't stop drinking or using you can improve your health and well-being. Call now for a free consultation with an addictions specialist: (604)733-7428 (telephone counseling is available).