How Has Addiction Affected You?
In the United States, current alcohol use disorders alone are diagnosable in about 7% of the general adult population (Secretary of Health and Human Service, 2000) with about 2% meeting diagnostic criteria for an illicit drug use disorder. If 1 out of every 12 people in the general population has an alcohol and/or drug problem, how many family members and others are being affected? Addiction doesn’t just affect the person with the behavior. Often problems have reached a level of severity that is referred to as “rock bottom” before accepting or asking for help.
My question today is, how has addiction affected you?
The most frustrating experience for the people who love someone going through the disease of addiction is the refusal of acceptance in the person with the identified disease or diagnosis. The most frustrating thing for treatment professionals in this profession is the refusal of acceptance of family members, spouses, significant others and friends to understand the role that they play in the manifestation of the disease in person they love and care for.
Addiction is a two way street with lots of confusing signs, over crowded with drivers that do not always communicate at an optimal level. Navigating this disease is sometimes like getting on a road-loop in a city and being unable to get in the exit lane off, while not being sure what exit to take. Why a road that goes around in circles? Most of the time there is a recursive pattern of interaction present in addiction. A pattern that will repeat itself over and over in the way that specific experiences continue to repeat, over and over again.
Guess what happens after drug use? That’s right, Interaction A all over again. Now this chart is simplified for reasons I am not going to get into in a blog. For some the interaction above occurs multiple times in a day, for others a few times a week and for others, quarterly or yearly. Most often this pattern can be attached to what treatment professionals describe as a “trigger” or a “cue”.
Family members don’t realize that they may be projecting these cognitive indicators for their person to ‘React’, defined as Use Drugs or/and Drink Alcohol.
It isn’t anyone’s fault so don’t start getting defensive here. This is just how we began to communicate. No one knew where it was going to lead. If we had, we certainly would have asked for help long before we arrived here. (To be specific ‘here’ often times is a pawn shop trying to get our stuff back.) The great news is that this can be changed!
What we need to do is retrain the system to have different interactions. How do we do that? Traditionally addiction has primarily been treated in a 12-step program. Twelve Step programs are great. They have resources, we know they work for many people, there is support and there is a rich history like that of no other sub-culture in history. But, it doesn’t always work for everyone.
I am a both and kind of girl. With all of the resources that we have available today, why would we just settle? Research as published by the National Quality Forum (2005) suggests that there are two components to increasing effectiveness in treatment. Longevity of treatment and families engaging improve end result outcomes.
© 2015 Amanda Power