Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction Is a Chronic Relapsing Illness

Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction Is a Chronic Relapsing Illness

It’s hard to find a disease that is more heartbreaking and frustrating than addiction. You may spend years trying to convince yourself or a loved one to stop using drugs and alcohol. Then, one day, you decide to try, and you get some sober days under your belt only to find yourself relapsing. You might see relapse as a failure, but sometimes relapse is a part of recovery. Your brain doesn’t know how to cope without drugs and alcohol, so it’s going to take some practice to do so. Drug or alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing illness because it’s a disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit. At The Last House, we understand how frustrating addiction can be and why relapse can seem like a failure. However, we also know that there are valuable lessons to be learned from a relapse. 

What Is Addiction?

Most people will not see their first drink or their first drug as the gateway to a life filled with addiction. Not everyone who uses will find themselves addicted. Addiction occurs when there is a perfect storm between biological, social, and psychological factors. Many won’t realize that they’ve crossed over into addiction until it is too late. Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive and hard to control, despite harmful consequences. Repeatedly using drugs and alcohol changes the brain, with continued use resulting in more changes. The more you use drugs and alcohol, the more you will need to use them to achieve the same effect. Before you even know what happened, all of your decisions are about getting more drugs to use more drugs. You may start each day intending not to use, but drug or alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing illness. Knowing this can help you to approach your recovery differently. 

Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction Is a Chronic Relapsing Illness

Using drugs or alcohol changes you, and it takes time for you to undo the damage that has been done to your body and your mind.  Detoxing your body takes far less time than rewiring the pathways in your brain. If you’ve been turning to drugs and alcohol for the last ten years, your brain will still see drugs and alcohol as the “go-to” for a long time. Drug or alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing illness because, for years, you have been telling your brain that drugs and alcohol are the answer – regardless of the question. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is a collection of symptoms that you may experience for months or even years after you stop using. Symptoms include feeling edgy, having difficulty sleeping, being tired, experiencing memory issues, and having urges to use. Understanding these symptoms can help you be better prepared to face cravings and avoid a relapse. 

How To Maintain Long-Term Recovery From a Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Maintaining long-term sobriety requires vigilance. In the same way that an individual diagnosed with diabetes must manage their healthy daily, so must a person who faces addiction. Staying sober requires daily effort. If you discover that someone you love has been using drugs or alcohol, you’ll find a world of options available to get them on the road to recover. 

The Last House is here to help keep them on that road. We are 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 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 helping your loved one create a sober life, The Last House is here to help. Contact us today. 

Resources for Adult Children of Addicted Parents

Resources for Adult Children of Addicted Parents

Just like other chronic diseases, addiction is a disease that affects the entire family. Addiction changes the addict and, as a result, impacts how they interact with their family. The entire household is changed by addiction. The effects of having an addicted parent can be felt long after childhood and long after the parent gets sober. Our parents set the tone for the relationships we form throughout the rest of our lives. Dysfunction in these relationships can create dysfunction in our later relationships. 

Adult children of addicted parents may find that they struggle more in their relationships than those who grew up without addiction in their homes. At The Last House, we understand the devastating effects of addiction on the family and we know how those effects can linger. We know the value of working through these effects and are happy to help you explore the available resources. 

What Does It Mean To Be Adult Children of Addicted Parents?

Whether your parent has found their way to recovery or not, you may still be feeling the effects of their addiction. Adult children of addicted parents grow up with at least some level of dysfunction and it affects how they interact with the rest of the world. Many who are adult children of addicted parents find themselves struggling with addiction and others will find themselves in relationships with addicts.

The children of addicts often engage in many unhealthy behaviors in relationships. They often are unable to set healthy boundaries with others, put the needs of others before their own, and engage in people-pleasing.  Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families (ACA) is a twelve-step program that offers children of addicts a place to heal from growing up with an addict and the associated dysfunction. ACA describes itself as “a safe, nonjudgmental environment that allows us to grieve our childhoods and conduct an honest inventory of ourselves and our family—so we may (i) identify and heal core trauma, (ii) experience freedom from shame and abandonment, and (iii) become our own loving parents”.  Through participation in peer support groups such as ACA and working with a therapist, many adult children of addicted parents can heal. 

Examples of How Addiction Affects Family Members

As children, we learn about attachment, nurturing, and socialization from our families. If one or both of our parents struggle with addiction, the way that we interact with other individuals will be impacted. Growing up with an addicted parent can lead to unmet developmental needs. The chaos of an addicted parent often leads to the disruption of attachment, roles, routines, communication, finances, and socialization. Because addiction requires so many secrets and lies, it can be hard for a child to understand what is and is not real. Additionally, many adult children of addicted parents report having to grow up much faster to take on the responsibilities that their parent was not fulfilling or to deal with the abuse that occurred. The effects of being the child of an addicted parent are long-lasting and often require a great deal of therapeutic work to overcome. 

Why You Should Live In a Sober Living House

Located throughout West Los Angeles, The Last House is a network of structured sober living homes. We believe in enabling our clients to have a meaningful life. The Last House will provide you with the tools to participate in your recovery.  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. As active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community, our staff understands what it takes to stay sober and can support you in your journey. So, if you’re wondering how to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help.