Drug addiction and substance abuse is a nasty phenomenon.
It’s one of those things that seems so far-fetched. You hear stories of people doing crazy things just to get one more fix, and think to yourself “There’s no way I’d ever let that happen to me.” As if some people are just destined to be addicts, and you’re not one of them.
It doesn’t work that way. Anyone can become addicted to chemicals that mess with your brain and convince you that everything is fine. That you don’t have a problem. That you can snap out of it yourself whenever you want to.
It’s often in that sentiment – thinking you have control of the drug, when it’s really the other way around – that users fail to recognize how far gone they really are. When a drug user says he can quit any time he wants to – but that now isn’t the time – he’s deluding himself.
If you or someone you know starts doing any of the following when it comes to drugs, alcohol, or other substances, seek help immediately. Things will get better, but only if you work toward improving your life.
Neglecting Family and Friends
For the most part, substance abuse begins with an initial use of a drug in a safe environment, surrounded by friends. You might even tell yourself “just this once” or “I might as well, since everyone else is.” It sounds cliche, but those cliches exist for a reason.
At any rate, you might soon find yourself shutting out other loved ones who don’t partake in the use of your substance of choice. You might rationalize it by referring to them as “buzzkills,” and opt to hang out with others who are more accepting of your drug usage – regardless of whether these people actually care about you or not.
It might not be so serious that you miss your mother’s birthday or anything – which only furthers the illusion that you have control over your substance abuse. Though you may keep in touch with the other people in your life outside of your drug “circle,” it will likely be in a superficial manner, and will soon deteriorate.
Unfortunately, you may one day realize the only people around you are others in the same sinking ship as yourself.
Life is hard. There’s no getting around that. Even those of us without substance abuse issues have a hard time facing their responsibilities once in a while.
But we do it, because we know our efforts will pay off in the long run. We understand that a little pain now will result in ultimate pleasure tomorrow.
Taking drugs is easy. It requires little to no effort, and results in maximum pleasure immediately. Users will often delude themselves into thinking that, with drugs, life is easy.
It may be easy, but it’s certainly not fulfilling.
It’s easy to call out of work because you’re too hungover, or because you’re still buzzing from the night before, or because you want to waste the day watching sitcom reruns from the comfort of your couch.
But what kind of life is that?
No human being has to work. But you’ll never know the true value of your efforts unless you put your all into everything you do.
This is all but impossible while under the influence of drugs.
Think back to when you were a kid.
You probably had a ton of hobbies. Whether you played guitar, created comic books, ran cross-country, or loved to fish, you had the freedom to do almost whatever you wanted at almost any given time of day.
As you grew older, many of these hobbies likely faded away as you became more and more busy with life. Hopefully, though, you held on to your most favorite activities, and still have time to partake in them today.
Bring drugs into the mix, however, and you likely don’t have time for any of your more wholesome hobbies. Whether you’re driving to your source, partaking in your drug of choice, or recovering from usage, you dedicate a whole lot of time to getting your fix.
Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to truly become an expert at anything. If you spend your life in a chemically-induced haze, you’ll never have time to get good at anything else.
All this discussion, and we haven’t even talked about how unsafe it is to use drugs in the first place.
Whether you’re driving drunk, sharing needles, or using too much of a specific substance, doing drugs is inherently dangerous. Every single time you decide to use drugs, you’re trading your health and safety for a superficial feeling of pleasure that will go away as quickly as it came on.
Along with the detrimental effects drugs have on your health, they’re also illegal. Whether or not you agree with the current laws of the land, the mere possession of certain drugs can land you in jail for a long time. Furthermore, being under the influence of – or in need of – drugs can cause you to partake in other reckless activities which may cause you trouble with the law, as well.
If you haven’t yet been in these situations, it may only be a matter of time. Best to quit while you’re ahead.
Using More and More Regularly
Obviously, using a drug more and more often is a sign that you need help.
But when I say “regularly” here, I mean that, at some point, drugs will simply become “what you do.” You use them before work. You use them before falling asleep. You use them when out with friends. You use them when grocery shopping. You use them just to get through the day.
Ironically, it’s often when you’ve become able to function “normally” while under the influence when you’re at your absolute lowest point, and should seek help as soon as possible.
Featured photo credit: 6 / AnAstralnaut / Flickr via farm9.staticflickr.com