Signs That I Have an Addict in My Home
Is a child, husband, wife or loved one using drugs or alcohol in your home? How do you recognize drug use? What options do you have for help if a loved one is using drug or alcohol?
We live in a world that does not like to feel pain. If you are not sure about that statement, next time you are shopping, take a stroll down the pharmacy aisle and take a look. You will see medications like Extra Strength Tylenol, MAXIMUM STRENGTH ASPIRIN and so on. You see, we hate pain so bad, we want it gone NOW! Even more concerning, we actually pay more for the maximum and extra strength stuff. Funny thing is, it all works the same. Sadly we have become conditioned to hate it so bad we avoid it at all and have forgotten what pain is telling us; Houston, we have a problem.
What is Pain?
Pain is the body’s natural way of informing us something is not quite right, that something needs our attention. Take for instance a weekend ski trip. You wake up in the morning, excited to go, it’s dumped another 14 inches of fresh powder and conditions couldn’t be more perfect. On your first run, you notice you’re a little out of sorts and then Bam, you have skied into a section of the slope that has not been adequately groomed, hitting a semi-hidden rock and pop, your leg is broken. In agony, other people informed the Snow Patrol of your situation and within several minutes of the accident they arrive on the scene to assist you.
Now if things have happened during this time of agony, you realize immediately that your leg is broken or, something is definitely wrong because of the pain. The adrenaline kicks in because of the violence in which this accident occurred and your body begins to release endorphins that mimic opiates to a certain degree. We know this best as going into shock. These endorphins don’t last very long and they’re not as potent as most prescriptions but, we produce it naturally. When the snow patrol arrives and offers you a pain relief, typically in an injection, the pain subsides, adrenaline reduces and is illuminated as soon you’re feeling quite warm and cozy despite laying in the snow or being drug down the hill on a medical sled. Loaded into the ambulance and taken to a local hospital, you again receive an injection with the pain neutralizing medication. We all know that your leg is still broken despite your brain telling you that everything seems okay down there because the medication has “begun to lie to you”. The lie is that there is no pain and that everything is good but logically, we know the leg is still broken and any weight that would be placed on it would have dire consequences. The trick comes in keeping pain thresholds yet at the same time being able to alleviate any breakthrough pain so that the healing process will be “less painful”.
Because we are human and want to avoid all pain, we quickly see how strong and powerful this medication can be in eliminating broken leg pain so if it works for that, it has to work for a headache after a long day right? And if it works for a headache after a long day, it has to work for the sadness felt after not receiving that promotion at work, for not being emotionally available for your children, or for feelings of being worthless, unloved and shame-based.
A major problem with this concept is that with introducing medications at the slightest registration of pain is taking, the brain doesn’t realize that the leg is broken because it’s not registering, so naturally, the healing slows down. The bone will heal but at a slower pace. Emotional pain will also continue to heal but at a significantly lower rate.
So naturally, the same concept applies to a broken heart, one that has been abandoned, neglected and drug through the mud. Whether this be from a relationship, from a parental figure or from a complete stranger, when we feel pain even on an emotional level our desire is to eliminate it as soon as possible whether through drinking, opiate-based painkillers or any other drug of choice, we want the pain to stop now. The drug of choice produces the same outcome, lying to us that all is well and that we should be able to move forward. Unfortunately, this is not the case, emotional pain builds upon itself ever increasing its base and foundation and reinforcing it with shame, guilt, and lies. The same pursuit of numbing or avoiding the pain is used yet the outcomes are drastically different. Emotional pain does not heal through the introduction of opiate-based medication, alcohol or any other foreign substance. You can only heal when dealing with, understanding more and applying a different belief system.
So then, what to look for? First, if a loved one or yourself is struggling, the best place to start is reaching out for help. Professional counseling and therapy help establish understanding. Focus and reintroducing oneself to the emotional turbulence that created the pain. Through counseling, both group and individual connections are made and realizations come into view. Developing healthy sober support systems, interacting in social networking and establishing specific resources to take advantage increases the likelihood of eliminating the emotional pain replacing it with many more things of greater value.
If you or a loved one is currently struggling with addiction specifically to an opiate-based medication or substitute, these are the attributes of an opiate addiction that you need to be aware of.
Signs of Addiction Include Some of the Following:
Loss of Control: Drinking or drugging more than a person wants to, for longer than they intended, or despite telling themselves that they wouldn’t do it this time.
Neglecting Other Activities: Spending less time on activities that used to be important (hanging out with family and friends, exercising, pursuing hobbies or other interests) because of the use of alcohol or drugs; drop in attendance and performance at work or school.
Risk Taking: More likely to take serious risks in order to obtain one’s drug of choice.
Relationship Issues: People struggling with addiction are known to act out against those closest to them, particularly if someone is attempting to address their substance problems; complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
Secrecy: Going out of one’s way to hide the number of drugs or alcohol consumed or one’s activities when drinking or drugging; unexplained injuries or accidents.
Changing Appearance: Serious changes or deterioration in hygiene or physical appearance – lack of showering, slovenly appearance, unclean clothes.
Family History: A family history of addiction can dramatically increase one’s predisposition to substance abuse.
Tolerance: Over time, a person’s body adapts to a substance to the point that they need more and more of it in order to have the same reaction.
Withdrawal: As the effect of the alcohol or drugs wear off the person may experience symptoms such as anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, depression, irritability, fatigue or loss of appetite and headaches.
Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: Even though it is causing problems (on the job, in relationships, for one’s health), a person continues drinking and drugging.
Substance use and abuse are serious issues and should not be ignored or minimized. If left untreated, substance abuse will increase Ito a higher level of dependence. It is of great importance for you or a loved one to understand and recognize the signs and symptoms of substance abuse early. If you are concerned or worried about personal drug or alcohol use, or that of a friend or family member, here are some of the warning signs to look for:
- Temporary blackouts or memory loss.
- Recurrent arguments or fights with family members
or friends as well as irritability, depression, or mood swings.
- Continuing use of alcohol to relax, to cheer up, to sleep,
to deal with problems, or to feel “normal.”
- A headache, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, or other
unpleasant symptoms when one stops drinking.
- Flushed skin and broken capillaries on the face;
a husky voice; trembling hands; bloody or black/tarry
stools or vomiting blood; chronic diarrhea.
- Using alone, in the mornings, or in secret.
- Mumbling, slurring words, or incoherent attempts
at a conversation.
- Possessing a sleepy or droopy effect, difficulty maintaining balance,
blank vision or staring off into the distance.
- Chronic or consistent pain conversations such as
body aches and pains without any causality.
- Dry mouth, constipation and shallow breathing.
Help can be as simple as a phone call away with professionals who understand the principles of recovery, relationship and ultimately healing from addiction. Please feel free to contact Mountain Peak Recovery (385) 220-5609 for a consultation and the additional information on ways to assist in erasing addiction and replacing it with attributes of understanding, love, compassion, and truth.