Our relationships depend on our ability to have love, empathy, understanding and compassion for those we are closest to. When a person is addicted, the abused chemical deadens these abilities leaving the person uncaring and alone. Instead a chemically dependent person is left with their ‘drinking buddies’. As long as a person meets these ‘friends’ addictive needs they’ll hang around. Again, even in choice of friendships, every aspect of the mind becomes subservient to the maintainance of the addiction. When the person can no longer meet their friend’s addictive needs the person finds themself alone...again.
Hitting Our Bottom, Finding Help
When the glue that living a life wholistically provides falters, it can leave everything, physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially bankrupt. This is captured by the phrase ‘a person needs to hit their bottom.’
Another major issue is that the person involved has little to no insight into how much this is affecting his or her life. As stated above, the highest centers of the mind that provide for accurate self-evaluation have been hijacked by the abused chemical. They convince themselves and may try to convince the world that they are okay. Evaluators may be fooled for a time, but the family knows. Evaluators try to include them in the assessments in a way that they will be safe and effective for everyone involved.
A drug and alcohol screening test is available at the National Institute of Mental Health website. Also, see the National Council on Seniors Drug and Alcohol Rehab.
When an Addiction is Only a Part of the Problem
Another frequent issue is yet another mental/emotional problem. This leads to the question, which came first? Is the person unknowingly (and unsuccessfully) self-medicating from a Bipolar or Anxiety Disorder or is this just the behavior of someone who is chemically dependent? Clinicians search for clues in a person’s family history, personal history and in times of previous sustained sobriety. Many times it is just too difficult to discern and we must wait for another period of sobriety before such an evaluation can piece this apart. Some people are offered medications if the severity of the second illness is high and prevents a positive response to a treatment program. This all needs to be carefully assessed with each person involved, their family and their treatment team. There are dual diagnostic specialists, inpatient units and intensive outpatient programs that can be helpful in these assessments.
Where to find Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment
One of the best centers I have found is the Betty Ford Treatment Center in California. You may want to visit their website.
One of the most effective drug and alcohol addiction treatments is offered through Alcoholics Anonymous, Alanon and Alateen. Having the fellowship of members who are experiencing similar challenges is priceless. It also shows a person that they are not alone in their struggles. People of any age, race, income status or duration of addition have received help from these organizations. The backbone of their treatment is the compassion and commitment they have for each other. There methods are spelled out in ‘The Big Book” and the ‘Twelve Step Program’. Consider visiting their website at http://www.aa.org.
Another group, Celebrate Recovery, is a Faith based approach has many of the same treatment aspects of AA and is inclusive of people with many different types of emotional issues. People have reported to me that this is a very affirming and effective approach as well. If interested consider visiting their website at http://www.celebraterecovery.com.