After watching countless friends struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, I am here to tell you about my observations and their experiences. I’m hoping to shed some light on this nasty disease and perhaps help some families have a better understanding of the recovery process.
You can’t fix someone else. This is true for personality traits, values, characteristics, behaviors and much of anything else. Drug and alcohol addiction is no different. No matter how much love, time and money you have to spend on addiction treatment, it won’t help unless the addict is ready, willing and able to commit to their recovery. To complicate matters, you have to understand that addiction is a disease, like any other disease. Unfortunately, their is no cure for drug and alcohol addiction, which makes it even more frustrating for those well meaning family members and friends.
Jeffrey is one of my dearest friends. He grew up in a an affluent Arizona suburb, loving parents still together, a great job and an amazing wife. So when he turned to heroin, we were all surprised, to say the least. It’s one thing to hear about it in the news, but it’s quite another when it hits close to home! His parents sent him to drug detox but afterwards, it didn’t take him too long to start drinking heavily and then turn to heroin again. They sent him to an exclusive drug rehab where he stayed for 28 days. It was like rinse and repeat, and Jeffrey was back to heroin and alcohol again. I tried to talk with Jeffrey, but their was no reasoning with him and felt horrible that I just couldn’t reach him.
One day, Jeffrey called and asked if we could meet. He told me his wife just informed him she was pregnant and he didn’t know what to do. He admitted he was afraid of being a father and messing up his kid like he was. We talked and talked and Jeffrey cried and poured his heart out. Turns out Jeffrey was really depressed underneath it all and the heroin and alcohol were his ways of coping. After experiencing a similar situation with my friend Joey when I learned all about dual diagnosis (when there is a co-occurring disorder of mental illness and addiction), I realized that Jeffrey had to get help for his depression in order to break the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction.
Jeffrey ended up going to the same drug rehab as Joey, where he got a full evaluation and comprehensive treatment plan. This time he was addressing the root cause of his depression as well as addiction. After 90 days of inpatient treatment, Jeffrey continued with an outpatient treatment program. He admitted to me that he knows he has a lot of work to still do and although he’s nervous about becoming a parent, he feels excited about getting another chance to get it right.
This story had a happy ending but unfortunately, too many friends did not. It’s hard to not take it personally when it’s happening to your loved one and it seems like they are choosing drugs over you. Try to remember that addiction is a disease and recovery is a life long process. Scottsdale Recovery Center is all too familiar with these and many other stories. Our staff have been there, can relate and are here to help you and your loved one on the road to recovery. Just reach out to us 24/7 at 602.346.9142.
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