Addiction comes in all forms: Tobacco, drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, sex and work to name a few. People can even become addicted to seeking approval and acceptance or to anything that will give them an adrenaline rush. And I am sure you know someone who is even addicted to drama and chaos in his or her life!
People become addicted to the things mentioned above as a way to escape or to fill a void in their life. As an example, unresolved grief is one of the painful experiences that people will try to escape from by possibly self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. It becomes a way to cope and/or numb the pain.
Addictions are debilitating and do not only impact the addict. His or her family and friends are affected as well. Society as a whole is affected. The misconception is that if the person would just get help and give up whatever it is that they are addicted to then life would get back to normal. It doesn’t work that way.
The person has a long road ahead of them when working through their addictions and revealing what’s beneath the surface. They may experience a lot of shame and guilt about what has been happening and they struggle with the loss of who they were and could have been. They experience the loss of shattered dreams and goals for the future. They pay a hefty price for their craving.
Family and friends also pay a hefty price. They also experience the loss of who the person was and who they could be. They may also be affected financially and socially because of the addict’s choices. They experience the loss of trust for they have heard many times that the addict will not do it again. And they experience a loss of their dreams and goals for the family as a whole.
Addictions are far too complex a topic to discuss in this blog, but it’s an important and crushing problem in our world today. Fortunately, we do talk about addictions today and people are more willing to get help once they are ready…it’s no longer ‘taboo.’
The main point of today’s blog is to make people aware that the layers of loss experienced by the family and the addict are profound. While it may be easy to judge how it could be handled, it is impossible to understand what it is like unless you walk in their shoes.