Hopelessness is a common attribute that has been erroneously linked to the drug abuse lifestyle. The misconception that recovering from addiction is not always possible, has been fueled in part by a main-stream media that is more apt to propagate only the negative incidents associated with this disease. However, as an increasing number of addicts, through treatment, are experiencing sustainable sobriety, even after years of chronic drug abuse, more people are sharing addiction stories of hope.
As addiction loses some of its stigma, people from all sectors of society are more confident about sharing their struggles with addiction in a public forum. Referring to her experience with addiction recovering addict Nicole said, “I was at the end of my rope, completely hopeless and broken.” Despite these feelings, Nicole reached out for the help that she now credits to showing her how to live again. According to the National Institute on Drug abuse (NIDA) addiction is a psychological, physical, social and behavioral disease. Because this condition affect people on so many levels, many people default to a state of denial rather than take the steps necessary to stop the progression of this disease.
Relapse is also a big factor in the recovery process that often discourage those that have made one or more attempts and failed to halt drug use. The complexities of addiction have therefore made rehabilitation an individualized journey. As such, to be effective, the recovery process must be customized to treat the person rather than only, the symptoms of addiction. As scientists from NIDA also point out, although addiction is a treatable disease, people can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and expect to be cured. When this expectation is not realized, feelings of hopelessness can become so pervasive that it can lead to drastic and often irreversible measures like suicide.
Feeling hopeless however, does not only affect the person in addiction, but their loved ones as well. As Munchie Morgan confessed in her story titled “Finding Hope in The Heartbreak of Addiction” after failed efforts to help her sister Sarah to stop using heroin, she too reached a state where she said… “I turned her back on her. I told her I didn’t know her anymore, that I didn’t think I ever knew her, that she wasn’t the person I thought she was, and I walked away.” Sadly, this response is common when the family and friends of people in addiction feel helpless to rescue their loved ones from the compulsive and obsessive desire and use of drugs.
This often occurs when the individual has experienced a relapse after a period of abstinence. However, the reality when it comes to beating addiction, according to NIDA scientists, is that most patients need long-term and in some cases, two or more courses of treatment before they achieve sustainable sobriety. Treatment also need to be comprehensive in order to:
Families of people in addiction also need to abandon the discouragement syndrome that often accompany finding out that a loved one has a substance abuse problem. For Munchie Morgan whose sister’s addiction led her down this dark path, has found a way to turn this painful loss into a message of hope for others still trapped in the cycles of addiction. In her own words she says,“So now all I can do is share her addiction story and hopefully someone, somewhere will gain some strength from my loss and be able to stand up where she fell and hang on to this life a little longer than she did.” With the advent of new advancements in technology, various policy changes that are more supportive of funding for addiction research and enhancements in treatment programs, the connotation of hopelessness no longer need to apply to addiction. Nevertheless, people in addiction need to recognize the importance of seeking early intervention to minimize or stop the impact of addiction on their health and their lives.
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