Addiction-A Heartless Lover

The Cycle of Addiction

According to Wikipedia, addiction is defined as physical or psychological dependence on psychoactive substances which cross the blood-brain barrier once ingested, temporarily altering the chemical milieu of the brain.

Anyone who has dealt with addiction or has experienced it through an addicted loved one couldn’t care less about its formal definition. It is a life wrecker, a home wrecker, a relationship wrecker and a very seductive, but heartless lover. An addictive substance promises comfort and escape without judgment, and indeed delivers, until it drops the user into the abyss of despair and addiction that is promised to follow.

From first memory, someone in my life has dealt with substance abuse. It was not something I understood as a small child, but bad things happened around it, and as I grew older, so did my understanding of its control. Unfortunately, the person whom addiction has consumed is only one of the people who suffer from its grip. Those living with (or should I say, trying to live with) the addict, by default, sacrifices their own life’s normalcy. It is impossible for children to understand that their parent or caregiver really does love them, when the adult chooses alcohol or drugs over them on a regular basis. They also cannot discern that they are not at fault for this disastrous turn in their lives. Low self esteem and a lack of self worth are usually the best case scenario endings for these young victims. Life for everyone involved inevitably unravels when addiction enters the picture and the pain and dysfunction it brings can last a lifetime.

My own life has been affected by alcohol addiction and drug addiction. Two people I loved chose it over me or at least that is how it felt. Intellectually, I now know my interpretation was not accurate, and I understand that any person suffering from these addictions is deeply lost and in pain beyond what I can know. Over the years I have chosen to understand it more deeply and try to do my part in helping its victims whenever they appear in my life. Recently, I learned of a non-profit called “The Healing Place.” It uses the Alcoholic Anonymous model and serves the homeless with addiction issues…which is about 75% nationally. Once a person has been admitted, his/her therapy mostly comes from peers who have completed previous steps. It works well because these addicts receive help from others who have been in their shoes-homeless and hopeless. The average sobriety rate for programs using this model is over 70% after the first year of treatment (amazingly successful), and these people are at rock bottom. If they can beat addiction, anyone with the will and right treatment can also do it. Substance abuse is rampant and many times it leads to addiction, for the power of the substance is far more powerful than the willpower of the person using it. As you can see by the diagram above, addiction is a vicious cycle, filled with self loathing, anger and guilt. BUT, there is help, and assisting the addict to step away from the denial and seek help may save his/her life. We are fortunate in America to have wonderful support groups to help people in need, but that first step in asking for help is very hard as it involves accountability.

If any of you reading this hub has a person with addiction issues in your life, please educate yourself on the topic and help that person make the first step. Many times, it is beyond the addict’s ability to seek out the help on their own. They have chosen to step into the abyss for whatever reason and if not helped, they will destroy not only their lives, but the lives of anyone who dares to love them. I wish our family had the information and understanding of addiction that is available today. Back then, it was a dirty little secret that everyone knew, but never discussed. My loved one lived in his self induced hell for many years because he was lost, and we did not know how to help him find his way.

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Comments 22 comments

SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Only someone who has been there could have written this hub. Good job Picklesandrufus. I hope now the people you love and care about are doing better, and I hope you are doing well too.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

thanks SubRon 7. Wish I could say they were better, but they passed.On the other hand, at least they are no longer in pain. Appreciate your comments.


Michelle Yarbrough 4 years ago

Great article..... OK... Do I need to get some help because I am addicted to Dark Chocolate covered almonds....??? I always share and never turn mean and ugly to Wade.... Seriously.... My Dad suffered in silence and I pray he is at peace now on the other side where there is no addiction.. only love and forgiveness.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

Michelle,

wow, wouldn't the world be great if chocolate covered almonds was our most dangerous addiction!! Thanks for reading. Like you, I pray for peace for my deceased loved ones too.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Brilliant and one for me to vote up up and away.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

Thanks Eddy! Really appreciate you stopping by.


claptona profile image

claptona 4 years ago from Earth

Hi Picklesandrufus,

Personally, have been there and done it. Sober now for 22 years.

Tricky stuff, addiction. Hard to determine if one is capable of recovery or not.

The "higher power" that they talk about in the rooms, me thinks, is the key. Maybe that's why the percentage of success has always been so low.

It's not something that will ever go away.

I just keep my side of the street clean, and help when and where I can.

Good Hub and good read!

Cheers,

John


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

wow, John, Congratulations! I am so glad you got your life back!!Thanks for stopping by.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Bravo! Unfortunately addiction by its very nature does not foster understanding from most people. I applaud you in trying to make a difference and in keeping this subject out in the open so that discourse can happen and from that discourse understanding.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

thank you billybuc. Addiction is really hard on everyone it affects, but it is a fight worth fighting,for the addict wins his/her life back. Thank you for stopping by.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

This is an excellent hub about addiction. Voted up, interesting and informative.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

thank you very much Martie! Appreciate you stopping by.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 4 years ago

I have seen family members hurt their families because of their addiction to alcohol and the children suffer.Sometimes we are in no position to help but you gave me a greater understanding to the problem.Very informative hub.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

thank you Dream On. It is a bad problem for all involved. Thanks for stopping by!


Eliza57 profile image

Eliza57 4 years ago

Very interested, informative, and useful Hub! Only someone who has benn around this situation could write like this. Sorry for lost Sheila. Wish things could have been different for your family member. Seems they must really want help/think they need help before reaching out to someone - sometime to late. The first 6 years of my life I put up with an alcoholic father that eventually took his own life. Knowing, when he did commit suicide, that my brother and me would find him and tell our mom - he was a sick, sick man. Seen too many addictions for my liking. Take care and thanks for sharing!


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

Wow Ann, I never knew what happened to your father, just knew you had a great step father. Like you , I have seen too many addictions. Thanks so much for your comment.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 4 years ago

Many months later and I go back to reread your hub.YOu have covered so many issues and points as an outsider I can see a big picture.The truth is my loved ones don't wnat help and live the life they want.No matter who gets hurt in the process.I found by helping I only got over my head in issues I knew little about.So I leave it to the experts and the professionals.Life goes by so quickly I had to stay clear or I would end up being drawn into the sad feelings and depression others I love face.I soon realized this is not my life and I can get too envolved and I will be the only one who suffers in the end.The love ones don't see it and unfortunately refuse to change.I now can view from a distance and even though I crossed the boundaries and our relationship will never be the same.I did what I felt was neccessary and now I can move on.I send my love for all your struggles and tradegies you have seen..God Bless.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

Dream On, sometimes you have no option but to let the person in your life live the life of their choosing. If they are lucky, one day they will hit rock bottom and reach out for help...maybe to you, who knows. Forgiveness is essential for you to let go of the anger and move one with your life. I had to learn the hard way. Thanks so much for your comment.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 3 years ago

I find it neccessary to reread and relearn some of the things I thought I knew and maybe forgot.I feel for all those who smoke .They harm themsleves so much and when they stop it is usually too late.I am so sad because so many good people in life lossed because of addictions.Thanx for the great advice.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 3 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

Dream On

Yes, I agree and am so grateful I don't have addictions. I know a lady, who even though she has COPD and barely gets around, will remove her oxygen to smoke a cigarette....wow. Thanks for stopping by.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Repeating old patterns can ruin other loved ones or the other partner. If you have improved since good for you, and everyone else sometimes life has many challenges and facing up to any can be a problem if you don't know how to handle the limits.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 3 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va Author

Hi DDE, My loved one who had addiction problems never got better and passed away. I can olny believe he rests in peace now....finally. Thanks for your comment!

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