October 16, 2006

Drug Addiction and the Teeter-Totter Ride

If you are the loved one of a drug addict, you will experience times in which the addict seems to do better. But this phase of the addicts see-saw ride usually only lasts for a short time.

From time to time he or she may appear to have turned over a “new leaf”. Some addicts go through this in an honest attempt to get clean. Some addicts will turn over this new leaf temporarily in order to get you to back off, stop nagging them, or so that you will stay in a bad relationship. The addict may also show this better side of himself in order to appease you so that you will keep handing out money for drugs, shelter, or to supply him with what he needs to survive. Don’t make the mistake of thinking he would never do this to you. To think this way is to be na├»ve. I like to think that many of the addicts go through this abrupt new leaf because they are honestly trying to get clean and clean up their act. But this is not always the case.

Why does it hardly ever last? Why does this "new leaf" always turn?

The reason the addict tends to go back to the drugs is because they are still chasing the high, they are still being bitten by the bug of addiction. They are trying to gain the intensity they had the first time they were turned on to the drug. Each and every time they do drugs, they believe they will achieve this. But they end up only having to do more and more drugs to gain the euphoria they had the time previous. Their lives are totally dedicated to obtaining the drug and using it. Addicts have a tough time facing the truth and cannot live in reality. They are masters at deception because that is the chief tool they use in order live the life they do. Their survival depends on this ability to manipulate. Getting their family to feel pity and sorrow for them is only one of the manipulative tools they use and keep at their disposal. I don’t like having to be so blunt in my writings about this because I still have loved ones who are addicted. I want you to know that I still have hope for them. One good way I have to get my emotions out and to help others who are like me is to write about the times that are difficult. I don’t want to come off as being overly pessimistic. There are many addicts who get clean and stay clean. But it is a hard task. And if you are the spouse or other loved one of the addict, it is not an easy mission for you to keep yourself in the addicts world.

The effects are overwhelming:

The loved ones of addicts find this back and forth lifestyle distresses them to no end. It causes them to be angry, resentful and sad. And who could blame you? You live with a person who is hitting the dope more than ever, then that person turns over this “new leaf”. You are so thankful for this change in them. You can hardly believe it, but don’t want to jinx it so you keep your mouth shut and try to be positive and happy about it. The gloriousness of this lasts around two or three weeks at best and the next thing you know, one day your addict doesn’t come home from work and won't contact you.

You hope that he hasn’t been arrested or in a wreck. After this fear passes, you might even feel guilty that you nagged him last week over some insignificant issue. After a few more long hours pass, this guilt is replaced by the anger you feel over the entire situation. You pause only for a moment to give way to the panic you hold inside. What if he has used again?

You eventually do find out that he has used again. You probably won’t find this out because he confesses. You may find some stuff on him or smell it on him. Then you must face the denials, raging, and fighting. At some point during all of this being rehashed you may even feel like giving up. You think to yourself once again, "What’s the use"? You cannot control him or spend the rest of your life baby-sitting him and you certainly don’t trust him to tell you the truth and to get clean.

So what do you do? You stay in the same situation you have become accustomed to. Many times it’s because you have a fear of being without him and on your own. It also crosses your mind that he needs you in his life and you pity him. And so the cycle continues again. This teeter-totter ride will never stop until you decide to get off it. And when you do, it will not be painless. It will be sorrowful, unusual and very terrifying. But what do you face if you don’t? The same old ride.

There is always an end to it

You still have hope for the addict. This is the prime reason you haven’t left him yet. But sometimes, your staying is not beneficial for him. Sometimes, our love and support for the addict is too much and it gets in the way of their wellness. How does this happen? We enable their behavior and never recognize that our actions are getting in the way of them getting themselves cleaned up.

The teeter-totter life the addict leads is one that will draw us in and depress us. There is no doubt that the addict is depressed, but those of us who live with them or see them on a regular basis will easily find ourselves visiting the depths of depression as well. You cannot help another if you have nothing to give. If you stay with your addict, just know that until they hit their own personal bottom and suffer extreme loss due to the dangerous and selfish life they lead, you will be staying on that see-saw, riding right along with them.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Addicts really can get better, but it usually takes love from family members and, often, the support of dedicated professionals to kick the habit for good. If you or someone you know is in a battle with drug addiction, addicted.com is a wonderful resource that will help make the battle a success.