The words are thrown around by the media, by your friends and by almost everyone in some form. Joe is addicted to ice cream. Mary is addicted to exercise. But what about when it comes to substance addiction? If you have never been addicted to a drug or alcohol can you understand what it feels like? Fret not, come take a trip down addiction lane and find out what you should know about addiction support as an outsider.
Let’s start at the beginning. What motivates someone to pursue their addiction, despite the costs, monetary, social and relationship-wise? Remember, this article is about understanding addiction from an outsider’s perspective and isn’t here to stigmatise or represent any individual or a group.
So sit back for a second and imagine. Imagine that you had this niggle. This niggle that made you feel like you were not comfortable with being you as you are now. Maybe it’s because you think you failed at everything you attempted or because you were restless and not satisfied with your level of success you achieved. It could be because in your mind you had thoughts and feelings which made you feel apart, even different perhaps from others. Maybe these feelings were not good and they made you feel like you were not as good as someone else or a group of others. Or perhaps you were actually told that you were no good and that you were worthless and really only existed to as a means to an end for other people’s needs. Despite having positive feelings from those who loved you, it didn’t matter – you either denied them addiction support – or it was not satisfying to you.
The first step
Now with all those feelings of despair inside imagine you have an experience. You sip on a drink or you take a drug and all of a sudden you feel wonderful. No more sadness, no more hurt. Just happiness. You are feeling successful and good and worth something. It feels good and right to be alive. Something has come into your life to make you feel okay. It may not be cheap, and it could be dangerous to get hold of that thing that makes you feel good but it is worth the risk, the pain, the dangers and the cost just to feel that same way you did before. If there is any chance of feeling alive and happy again, you will go for it.
Walking through the forest alone
No one understands you, not the ones who aren’t on this trip with you anyway. How can they possibly see how beautiful the forest is, the happy place you are in. There are people who know what you are feeling, and you want to hang out with them because they get you. These are the people who also feel like you do when you are high. Your addictions have the same pursuit.
What you should know about addiction from an outsider’s perspective is that the person who feels this way is wholly and completely seeking a different reality from the one they are in, and regardless of the reason or cause, it is a journey they are on and the destination is not one that has a happy outcome, irrespective of the vehicle they are using.
A price to pay
Now, back to the journey, you are on as an addict. With every journey, there is a price to pay. Whether it is a physical one, like losing or putting on weight or suffering from health issues or a monetary cost or worse, relationship or love cost, there is a price. None of that matters to you though, because it never made you happy back then before you found your drug, your escape and your reason to live. Or so you think. And the more people point and stare, criticizing you and judging you and your habit, the more you want to seek comfort and safety in the safe cradle that is your addiction. The longer the lectures about your life, the more you think and convince yourself that they don’t know what they are talking about and only you know the truth. Look, you wish they were telling the truth but underneath this protective blanket of addiction you see that normal life was never for you.
But you actually want a regular life.
You want that normal life. You want the satisfaction that you see others getting from a job, a career, a family however in order to get any of those you need self-belief and unfortunately, self-belief has always dodged you and slipped from your hands.
You want the cure but the quicksand has you.
Generally, people with an addiction leave a double life. On the one side, you try and hold the secret under a jacket, keeping the information and true identity of your abuse hidden from most people, even when it is quite obvious to those near you. You look in the mirror and even then find it difficult to admit to the man staring right back at you that being an addict is a real problem. Why? Because when you are high, no matter for how long or little, during that time you feel like everything is going to be okay. You want that magical elixir called a cure for your addiction but you don’t want to deal with everything the addiction has left in its wake.
The fork in the road, what you should know about addiction support as an outsider.
The cure is there, on a different path to the one you are on now. It is possible for every single addict. It means however that you stop walking that route that you are on and veer off. This means confronting the addiction head-on before it was an addiction. That’s right, you need to find out what the cause was and face the problems that caused the addiction in the first place. Then you need to start taking responsibility for your behaviour and actions and realise what it has done to others, particularly those close to you. It means starting to appreciate the smaller things in life and breaking down the hard challenges into manageable pieces.
In summary, what you should know about addiction support is that there is a whole world that is thinly disguised by addiction. This article showed you that it is a journey, albeit a false one, which requires diligence and the will to be better, to do better and to fight for yourself. Not an easy task, but next time you hear the word ADDICTION being thrown around you will realise just how heavy that word actually is.
For help for yourself or a loved one in the throes of addiction, reach out and contact us now.