The Opposite of Addiction – Why it Might Not be Sobriety
Have you ever wondered what the opposite of addiction really is? Is it sobriety? Many of us would say that yes, this is absolutely the opposite of having an addiction, but what if it’s something else? What if we take the idea of being addicted out of the equation for a second? What if we look at many of the causes of a developing addiction?
Of course, we understand that without the decision to abuse substances or alcohol, we wouldn’t be in a position to become addicted in the first place, but lets for a second, ask ourselves what causes us to make those choices.
Examining the Reasons Why People Choose to Abuse Substances and Alcohol, to Begin With
Okay, so we know that there is some reason why a person really, really likes to get high or drunk. We know that there is something in them that they are trying to cover up and not have to deal with. In fact, we see it all the time. The movies portray the “partier,” who finally opens up to reveal that he has no confidence at all.
Or, the woman who chooses to abuse anti-anxiety medications because she just can’t cope with the pressure that her friends and loved ones place on her. Or, maybe she was sexually abused and simply feels terrified all the time.
There are so many things that can happen to people from day to day. Some people can deal with these things and move on to live healthy lives. Some people recognize a need to seek therapy for the trauma that they deal with and learn how to cope.
Some people, though, turn to the way that substances and alcohol can make them forget all those things that cause them pain. They find that when they are using or drinking, they are someone else and none of the things that usually bother them is a problem in this state.
Not everyone deals with their problems in this way, but for those that do, the draw to continue can be incredibly powerful.
What Happens When an Addiction is Developing?
When an addiction is developing, the affected individual begins to change. Outsiders might notice that simple behaviors become different. This is scary for friends and loved ones, and even the person who uses or drinks might be a little bit frightened by these changes. Over time, with the personality changes come big physical changes, too.
Like a tolerance developing to the DOC. Suddenly, it’s not three beers that get a person blasted anymore, it’s seven. The same goes for any kind of substance that they might be abusing to get high or drunk. Very simply, they are developing a tolerance, and unfortunately, if they keep going, a physical dependence is going to follow very soon.
That’s okay, though, because his DOC is likely becoming his best friend. It’s there to pick him up when he’s feeling down. It helps him to focus, or be calm. He doesn’t have to worry about social anxiety anymore, and he’s actually popular when he’s had some. In fact, everyone wants to hang out with him these days. Right?
Except maybe his nearest and dearest, but that doesn’t matter because he actually feels good for a change, and doesn’t need to be around people who don’t “get” him and “let him be him.”
This is how a full-blown addiction, which is half physical and half emotional, develops. When this happens, the individual has officially fallen in love with his drug of choice, and very simply, since it’s easy to get now, he’s planning to keep it around for a good long while.
Looking At What Started the Substance Abuse in the First Place
The thing is, when we look at what starts people abusing substances in the first place, we begin to see that the opposite of addiction isn’t just sobriety. Think about it, you can still be addicted and be abstaining from using or drinking. Dry drunks do it all the time. They are still alcoholics, they just aren’t currently drinking.
We have to start looking at what drove the individual to begin this pattern of behavior, and often, it’s a sad look. Most of the time, there is something that caused the addict to feel isolated or alone. They might have been bored, or just not engaged in life. Or, they might have been bullied or left to their own devices to cope with life one too many times.
When we want to help people overcome their addictions, one very valuable thing that we can do is help them feel like they are involved and engaged in life. Of course, it’s a life of their choosing these days, because they decide what they want to be involved in, but there are so many things, and an extra nudge or two can go a long way in ensuring that our loved ones take this step in their recovery journey.
For many people, the opposite of addiction is more about living connected, meaningful lives with people that they enjoy and love.
Getting To This Point
Okay, so this is the tricky part. Is it for all of us to create these meaningful lives for our addicted loved ones even when they simply cannot stand us and don’t want to be around us? What if we can’t stand them and their behavior? What can we do to help make this situation more bearable and actually give them a fighting chance without feeling like our lives have been compromised?
Many experts say that maintaining a connection while keeping strong boundaries to help protect you is one of the best things you can do to help your loved one with an addiction. By keeping some kind of relationship, you can be there emotionally for your loved one. You can also feel good knowing that you have a bond that goes beyond what you can do for your loved one and can be there when they need you.
It’s also important that we learn how to let our loved ones have their own lives. Yes, it’s tempting to want to find “bad” or “failure” in all they do. You’re trying to be ready for all their hard work to collapse, but it’s not actually helping an addicted loved one once they begin a recovery journey. Instead, when you’re always questioning how well your friend or family member is sticking to sobriety, you’re actually making them question themselves.
Instead, let your loved one come to you if he needs help or connection, and trust that things will work out. If you’re struggling with this, you’re not alone, so consider some therapy for yourself during your loved one’s recovery, so you can recover, too.
Speaking of Recovery…
The first thing we all need to do when working to overcome an addiction is get the right kind of help. No matter how meaningful we try to make an addicted loved one’s life, chances are that without essential tools and insight into his personality and what drives his addiction, he simply won’t find a reason that’s strong enough to overcome his addiction.
Or, if he does, he might find that he really struggles without addiction treatment to help him make sense of the strangeness of recovery. This is why it’s so important to find a really great addiction treatment program that meets your loved one’s needs and lets him know that the opposite of addiction isn’t always sobriety. It’s a life well lived that is full and rich with connections and experiences.
Why not give us a call today and see how we can help you or your loved one start living a life that is free of addiction and worth every moment? Our insurance specialists will help you figure out financing, and our treatment experts know just the kind of treatment program that will work with your personality and preferences and also accepts your insurance.
There is no reason to wait. We can help you get started. Remember, the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, but you have to be clean and sober to enjoy the richness that a recovering life can offer.