Watching a loved one battle with addiction is painful, and often baffling. Seeing someone continue to drink and/or use in the face of losing everything worth living for creates confusion and frustration, especially among those who have never experienced addiction personally. If you are struggling with the fear of losing someone you love to addiction, you’re not alone. While the addict may think they are only hurting themselves, the reality is that their addiction impacts everyone who cares about them.
Pain from seeing you’re loved one in active addiction may lead you to wonder if you could have stopped it somehow, or if you can fix it now. Maybe you don’t understand how it could have gotten to this point, and you’re wondering if it will ever get better. Feelings like these are normal. Therapy coupled with support from others who have gone through similar experiences often provides the insight necessary to navigate these emotions healthily. Seeking out your support system and educating yourself on the disease of addiction is the best way to understand and help your addicted loved one.
The Beginning Stages of Addiction
Accepting the fact that someone you love is stuck in a rut with addiction is no easy feat. Taking a closer look at addiction to better understand how it happened in the first place can offer some clarity and peace of mind. First and foremost, addiction begins by using a mind-altering substance. Some people start drinking during their teenage years and their substance use progresses from there. Others begin ingesting substances as a way to self-medicate their mental health symptoms. There are even individuals who don’t develop substance use disorders until later in life, as a result of an injury, grief or loss, or a major life change. The bottom line is that, regardless of the reason, the moment people begin consuming substances, they are at risk of developing a substance dependency.
Developing a Substance Dependency
Substance dependence occurs when substance use becomes abuse. Typically, this shift is seen when social use crosses the line into daily use. Consumption increases drastically, leading the individual to require more of the substance to achieve the same desired effect. Soon, the body begins to crave the substance, as it has grown accustomed to receiving it consistently. Suddenly, physical dependence develops, causing the individual to withdraw in the absence of substances. At this point, cravings become increasingly difficult to fight due to the knowledge that the substance will eliminate withdrawal symptoms, and the vicious cycle continues.
Recovery From Addiction
Once a person has become fully addicted, quitting can feel impossible. Substances take over the mind, body, and spirit. Often, those suffering from addiction share the experience of feeling like a slave to the drug and/or alcohol. It’s as if they’ve been robbed of the freedom to choose to quit. Having reached this point, it’s unlikely that an addict or alcoholic will be able to stop using on their own. Luckily, there are treatment centers with tailored programs to help support these individuals on their recovery journey.
At Avalon Malibu, we offer our clients support in recovering from mental health and substance use disorders. Our unique approach offers individualized treatment specific to your needs. It’s never too late to make a change. A happier and healthier life can be yours with one single step. Call us today for a consultation at 844-857-5992.