By Tyler Morrisey
Many people have struggled with addiction and recovery. Addiction is a disease where a drug or substance rewires the brain to make it think that it needs that substance to function. Millions of people struggle with addiction, mostly all of them need help to stop. Once you are sober, that time is called recovery, which is when it becomes a daily struggle with all addicts to not relapse.
According to Dave Hart, “Most people respect former addicts that are in recovery. Some are skeptical because of the stigma surrounding them for their previous weakness. You will never find a political figure that talks about past drug use, as it will probably make people lose trust in them. But rehab doesn’t help everybody. If the underlying reasons for the addiction are not properly treated, then it doesn’t help. You have to buy into the program, and want to change. Some people who get forced into rehab or mandatory court ordered rehab are usually more likely to relapse and for it to be less effective than people who go in voluntary.”
Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA for short, is definitely an effective program for some folks, but some people have a problem with the higher power.
When asked if his response would be different to someone who told him that had been released from rehab for a drug addiction compared to a sports related injury, Hart said, “My perception would be different.” Drug addicts have other issues and difficulties that go along with them after they complete rehab and it is a daily struggle within oneself. Sports injuries, on the other hand, usually heal with time.
With addicts it’s hard bot to go back to their old ways. My concern would differ greatly. According to the riversource.org, which is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Arizona, “Relapse is the number one obstacle that recovering addicts face, and while the statistics aren’t exactly clear, it’s estimated that more than half of people experience relapse.” For some, returning to drugs or alcohol happens immediately. The person may not be ready to live a sober life and may require more treatment. For others, relapse can occur years later, perhaps after a life-altering event that sends them into a depression, such as divorce, death or the loss of a job. The reason why relapse is so common is because it’s a complex process that involves the mental, physical, emotional and behavioral components of a person. For instance: if the recovering addict does not fully heal from the issues they were suffering from before, their chances of relapsing are high. The issues that once led to drug addiction will most likely lead to addiction again.
Additionally, the chemical composition of the brain leads addicts to drugs and alcohol as a way to deal with problems. Many people have a hard time looking past the behavior of an addict. They may see this person as being a criminal, especially if he or she was arrested or spent time in jail. This prejudice makes it difficult for recovering addicts to rebuild their lives. Living in a small town can make things worse. It can be hard to find a job, build relationships or be given new opportunities. Many are labeled addicts, and it can be nearly impossible to live with this stigma. The same is true for family relationships.
Many addicts burn bridges when they lie, steal and create pain and suffering for the ones they love. It can be difficult to return to normalcy and have the same trust with the family. These relationships need to be rebuilt and nurtured, and this can be difficult for a recovering addict who is focusing more attention on themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this, and they may walk away from the person. Of course, it’s difficult to expect people to automatically shift their opinion. Relationships take time, but in the meantime, the looks, whispers and opinions of others can have a weighing effect on a person. Some people believe that once an addict, always an addict, and their doubt for true recovery will discourage the person from a life of sobriety. We must remember that addicts have been weakened by their experiences. If we treat them like addicts, they will fall into that role again. We must encourage them to do what we know is possible: “return to sobriety.”