When it comes to addiction, there are many opinions that people possess about what causes it and how someone can recover. While there are people on opposite ends of the spectrum, the truth usually lies somewhere in between.
Many drug addicts’ families get so tired of their loved one’s addiction. Some of these people have heard hundreds of times how the addict is sorry and wants to get better. If the family stands beside them as they enter treatment for an addiction, it hurts even more for that person to relapse. It may seem to the family and others who are hurt by a loved one’s addiction that the person is not trying hard enough.
Other people see drug and alcohol addiction as being a nuisance. They feel that we shouldn’t offer addicts help and support because the addicts made the choice to do drugs. Or they may be tired of trying unsuccessfully to help, and have no hope that an addict can ever recover.
Excusing the Issue
On the other hand, there are people who are sympathetic to addicts and believe addiction is a disease. On the extreme end of this, people think that an addiction occurs through no fault of the drug abuser. Rather, they say, the person was pressured into trying drugs, or they had a hard childhood which caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol. Some even point to studies that show an addict’s brain is physically different from other people’s brains, suggesting that they are not at fault, or are genetically predisposed to addiction. This way of thinking makes the addict an innocent victim, struggling with a disease that they never had control over.
In reality, drug addiction falls somewhere in the middle. While an addiction is a powerful force that grips someone’s life so they can’t break free, addiction has to start somewhere. A person makes a choice to experiment with drugs or alcohol for the first time, and this kind of substance abuse is done willingly. After some time, the abuse becomes dependence, and with certain substances the person is physically dependent on the substance, and would suffer life-threatening withdrawal if they would stop.
While people get into an addiction for reasons that are possible to avoid with the right coping strategies, treating an addiction can be very difficult. Relapse or failed treatment can occur when someone isn’t mentally motivated to quit.
Stigmas associated with addiction are unhealthy. Having a purely negative view of drug addicts keeps the issue hidden and prevents people from seeking help. Being too understanding and coddling of an addiction provides the addict with excuses to continue in it.
A healthy approach would be one that recognizes that a drug addict made mistakes and caused loved ones much pain. But we also need to be ready to offer encouragement and treatment to those who really want to get sober.