A Guide to Understanding Drug Addiction

Understanding Drug Addiction

Drug addiction may be one of the most confusing and frustrating diseases. It is hard to imagine why anyone would continue to use drugs and alcohol as their entire life is falling apart.  Understanding drug addiction is not simple because it often defies logic. Watching someone face consequences like the loss of family, arrest, financial ruin, and more while continuing to use drugs is heartbreaking. The key to it all is to know that the one who is active in their addiction is not in their right mind. Fortunately, this begins to change as they get sober, and then it’s time to rebuild.  That’s why The Last House is here; we’re here to help those coming back from addiction create a sober life. 

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol use despite any adverse consequences.  Drug and alcohol use typically begins with experimentation or first use. While we often think of this in terms of illicit drugs, the drugs may be legal. A person may be prescribed opioids for long-term pain or may begin using alcohol. The user may stop there or may move on to regular use. The danger begins when the use continues, becomes riskier, and leads to dependence. If you find yourself drinking while drunk or high, you’re engaging in more dangerous use. If you find you cannot stop or taper down without experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you have crossed over to physical dependence on the substances you have been using. Not everyone who uses or experiments with drugs and alcohol will become addicted. Researchers do not entirely understand why, and this is why understanding addiction is so complicated. 

What Is the Best Way to Treat Addiction?

Treating your addiction depends on multiple factors. The drugs you have been using, how you have ingested them, and your use history will significantly impact treatment decisions. Treatment is about more than the drugs, though, because the drugs are typically used to cope when poor coping skills exist. Maybe you turned to drugs as a way to self-medicate your anxiety disorder or because you couldn’t cope with past trauma. Perhaps you found drugs as a way to self-medicate your depression or because you grew up in a family where someone normalized drug use. All of these circumstances will be taken into account as you seek treatment for your addiction.  Researchers continue to explore the effectiveness of different treatments and find that twelve-step mutual aid recovery groups and recovery housing are both very effective. 

Can Addiction Ever Be Cured?

While it can never truly be cured, addiction can be managed quite well. The United States Surgeon General reports that approximately fifty percent of adults who once suffered from substance use disorder are considered in stable remission. This represents about twenty-five million people, once active in their addictions, who have now been sober for more than a year. That’s good news for those early in sobriety; recovery is possible. However, recovery is a lifelong endeavor.  Addiction, like many other diseases, requires ongoing care and attention for remission to continue. 

Reach Out to the Last House Today for More Information About Drug Addiction

The Last House Sober Living is a network of sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their own sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  If you’re wondering where to start to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help. 

How to Stop Enabling a Drug Addict

Stop Enabling a Drug Addict

Loving a drug addict is hard. We want to help and support the people that we love. But when does loving a drug addict turn into enabling a drug addict? It can be a fine line and defining the boundaries can feel impossible. A loved one consumed by an addiction may seem like a completely different person. Your instinct may be to save them by any means necessary, but that may not always have the results you’re wanting. A person wrapped up in their addiction is not thinking clearly and their decision making may not be logical. At The Last House, we can help you understand what steps to take when you are ready to stop enabling your loved one. 

What Does It Mean to Enable a Drug Addict?

Enabling a drug addict involves engaging in activities that support their continuing drug or alcohol abuse. While it can be something as simple as providing financial support or housing to someone addicted to drugs and alcohol, it can be much more. Other forms of enabling are more subtle and are focused on helping the addict face the consequences of their addiction.  Enabling can take the form of justifying your loved one’s behavior, minimizing the impact of their substance use, or denying that there is a problem. Maybe you’re helping to protect their image with their coworkers or family friends or taking care of any resulting problems. Perhaps you have tried controlling your loved one’s addiction or lecturing them about it.  No matter what your enabling looks like, it likely involves your not expressing how you are being impacted by their use. And holding in those feelings can lead to you taking on more responsibilities for them and ultimately feeling superior to the addict in your life. Addiction couples with enabling changes the whole dynamic of any relationship. 

How Do I Stop Enabling My Loved One?

Helping a loved one face their own addiction can be difficult and heartbreaking. You’ve likely seen the television shows and movies that depict “tough love”.  It’s called tough love because it can be hard to set boundaries even when they are set with the hope of helping an addict face their addiction. The first step is to accept that there is a problem and to identify your role in the problem. If you can identify your enabling actions, you can stop enabling and allow your loved one to face the consequences of their substance use. For example, maybe you have taken over all of the chores inside and outside of the house because your partner has been intoxicated, high, or hungover too often. Instead of carrying the load alone, start asking them to share the responsibilities. Likewise, stop covering for your loved one with other members of your family, friends, and their coworkers. While you may feel like you’re putting them in danger of failing, you’ll want to remember that it’s not your job to save them. You’re trying to change the trajectory of their disease by allowing them to face the consequences you’ve been protecting them from. Instead of enabling them to keep using, now you’re enabling them to face the truth of their using. 

Sober Living at The Last House

The Last House Sober Living is a network of structured sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping learn how to have fun in sobriety. If you’re wondering where to start creating your sober life, The Last House is here to help!