Addiction can be thought of as a curse that pulls the life from within us, something that tears the emotions from our hearts and something that is so hard to let go that we can ruin our lives completely. That being said, addiction is not something that is the fault of anyone, and that is a deep misunderstanding.
What do we mean by it’s “not someone's fault”?
When a baby is born, is it not born with the innate desire to want alcohol, to want a drug or crave a substance that is not healthy for it. It craves love, food and nurturing. An addiction is something that is caused during our paths of living. Whether that be right away from a baby being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which causes the baby to have withdrawal symptoms right away, or to a young adult who was born into a loving family that is exposed to marijuana and alcohol at a young age.
We cannot say for sure what causes that addiction, as there are many reasons a person can become addicted. However, what happens to a person when they become addicted is that the chemicals in their brains act as if that specific used substance is something like food, shelter or safety, it believes that this substance is what is going to keep them alive. Ultimately causing the person to become addicted beyond their capable will. '
What is it like for someone to be addicted?
Imagine waking up, day after day, promising yourself that you are not going to do something, but the inability to control that takes over, constantly. It is knowing fully that what you are doing is not healthy for you, but you do it anyway. There is a little voice in your head that says “you can start tomorrow, just one more day”. Unfortunately for some people, this is their last day, due to overdosing.
So often for the addict, because so many suffer in silence, their days are filled with misery and anguish, longing for self love and self worth. Questioning their existence and using the substance to remedy these feelings, ultimately causing an ebb and flow of anxiety, meaninglessness and the loss of the love for life within oneself, completely losing sight of all meaning for life, day in and day out.
How can we help the addicts in our lives?
If you have a loved one that is living with addiction, there are many things that we can do for them, but we need to understand the variety of addicts. People can be extremely addicted, where they need medical help from professionals and hospitals and some try to heed their addiction on their own, using personal will power, self help books and support groups.
If your loved one is in need of a medical professional, speaking with their family doctor, or having a family intervention may help. The most important thing we can do for these people is making sure that we get them the help they need, before the substance takes their life.
For individuals who may be struggling with addiction, who may not think they are an addict, or perhaps they have mentioned they might have a problem here are a few things you can do to help:
Listen to them: Oftentimes what these people need is an ear to talk to, and a shoulder to cry on. They have been living with something that has tried to take control of their life for so long, they are likely exhausted and ready to move forward.
Support them with sobriety: If a loved one that you live with wants to give up a substance like alcohol, the best thing to do to support them is to go sober with them. That does not mean you have to be sober forever, but at least at home or around them while they tackle this new journey.
Offer to go to support groups with them: Your loved one likely feels afraid, or might not feel up for trying something new alone, especially during this new sober journey. Going to support groups with them will ensure they feel the comfort and support of the person they need the most.
Staying sober during social outings: This might be hard for both of you, because social drinks are always fun (if you’re not the addict) but staying sober with your loved ones will help them stay sober, and there are many new fun Mock-Tails out there now!
Congratulate them on their daily success: So often, it’s hard to see progress, but going sober is not a long term gig that you strive for. It’s a daily battle that addicts have to live with, that gets easier in time. Make sure that you give your loved ones a high -five, or congratulations on another day of sobriety. It might seem silly, but it will mean the world to them.
Sobriety is a journey, just as addiction is a journey in its own, but as the addict becomes sober, and the more days they have sober, the more love, compassion and empathy they can find for themselves and for others. One of the most effective ways to re-ignite this deep understanding and compassion for oneself is through the combination of coaching and therapy. In a therapeutic environment an addict can discuss their deepest and darkest emotions and feelings in a safe space, where coaching provides an individual a distinct path for a new sober life, filled with love and happiness. Thus, finding their true authentic selves and meaning for life, once again.