Let’s begin by giving you some framework on how to best think about addiction.
Imagine a close friend or family member is diagnosed with heart disease. Then, despite the fact that heart disease is a chronic condition with no cure, your loved one goes to great lengths to adjust their lifestyle to improve their health.
They quit smoking, begin working out, eating healthy, taking prescribed medication, attending cardiac rehab, and setting goals.
After some time passes, they experience a setback and require surgery. Would you feel angry at them for the progression of their heart disease? Or would you cheer them on as they recover? Would you be proud of them for their continued hard work or frustrated with their inability to be cured of an incurable disease?
In this hypothetical scenario of heart disease, of course you would be supportive, encouraging, and caring.
But what if your friend or family member was suffering from addiction? Would you respond the same?
The Realities Of Addiction
Addiction is a disease for which we have no cure. Recovery is not a finish line to be crossed… It is an ongoing journey with stages of progress and periods of struggle.
Unfortunately, this can be difficult to understand for those supporting their loved ones in their struggle with addiction.
Contrary to popular belief, recovery from addiction is not a matter of willpower. For those who suffer from substance use disorders, it takes more than good intentions to stop using drugs and alcohol because addiction changes the brain.
The use of drugs and alcohol impairs choice and willpower, meaning an addict’s dependency is often beyond their control. This is why recovery often requires professional treatment and the support, understanding, and encouragement of loved ones.
Each day, a person seeking help for substance or alcohol abuse can find a 12-step meeting in the morning and evenings here at the Portage Recovery Association. We are a clubhouse of men and women who utilize a 12-step model to treat their afflictions. Contact us for additional information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A Month of Awareness: National Recovery Month Suicide Prevention Month » Alo House Malibu.” Alo House Malibu. September 17, 2018. Accessed June 11, 2019. https://alorecovery.com/a-month-of-awareness-national-recovery-month-suicide-prevention-month/ Perfect illustration of viewing addiction and heart disease differently when both issues are health problems.