Addiction in Perilous Times

I’ve seen so many posts on various sites lately that identify either a person or a scenario as “crackhead”.  For those of you that don’t know that term was coined by the [war on drugs].  A post implied that the use of the term popularized during the “crack-era” War on Drugs is offensive which it is indeed.  You see there are various reasons a person gets hooked on crack – but that particular drug is not the issue.  The issue is why a person turned to any drug – usually it is to cope with a traumatic event. 

Traumatic event or PTSD can manifest itself in the following ways:

  • Intrusive thoughts, emotions, or images: These may include vivid nightmares and/or flashbacks in which you feel as if the event is occurring all over again.
  • Avoidance and/or numbing: For instance, you may avoid people or things that remind you of your trauma, feel emotionally detached from the people around you, or block out parts of your traumatic experience.
  • Hyperarousal: Hyperarousal means being on red alert all the time, being jumpy or easily startled, having panic attacks, being very irritable, and/or being unable to sleep.

It’s in the quiet moments that the pain is felt the most…

            Where is he…

            Where is she…

            Where is the money coming from…

            How did I get here…

            Why did he/she do this to me…

            Guilt consumes all thoughts…

The days seem darkest when hope is no longer available…

So, what are some ways that individuals can learn to cope with their emotions in a healthier way? The following steps can be taken to help overcome an addiction:

    Join a support group. There are many different peer-led support groups available that can be very helpful when trying to overcome any kind of addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, or Gamblers Anonymous, for example, are all groups where people can relate to others who are dealing with the same types of issues. Individuals hold each other accountable and are often inspired by others’ success stories.

    Explore issues that the addiction may be covering up. Often, people resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms because they are struggling with painful emotions and/or traumatic situations that have not been integrated. Seeking out a qualified therapist can be helpful in working through past trauma and learning healthier ways to cope.

    Keep track of your triggers. By noting the times you feel tempted to indulge in an addiction, you can begin to bring more awareness to the situation. For example, do you start drinking after work every time your boss criticizes you? Do you binge on fast food whenever your self-esteem is at a low point?

    Look for the purpose your addiction may be serving. Many people struggling with addictions have difficulties with relationships. The addiction becomes their relationship of choice, and the individual may spend much of his or her time thinking about ways to indulge in it, rather than examining underlying issues related to connecting with others.

    Learn to experience emotions rather than avoid them. Addictions are often an easy way to escape from feeling painful emotions, but this is only a temporary solution and ends up making the problem much worse. Try to spend five to 10 minutes a day just sitting with your eyes closed and focusing on the sensations in your body. Painful emotions tend to be held in the body and are typically experienced as a tightness or constriction. Practice mindfully sitting with the sensations, honoring and welcoming them, rather than trying to push them away. Remember to breathe in and out deeply when doing this exercise.

    Journal about your feelings. Journaling is a helpful tool to get uncomfortable emotions off your chest. Whenever you feel triggered to indulge in your addiction, try to write about the thoughts and feelings that you are experiencing instead. This technique can also be useful right before going to bed, especially if you tend to toss and turn and ruminate over stressful issues.

Do you or someone you know someone struggling with drugs the following are some helpful tools:

  1. Narcotics Anonymous
  2. Alcoholics Anonymous
  3. Faith Based Recovery
  4. Overeaters Anonymous

Author: MsConcerned

“Upon descending our threaded words on the web by a steep and hazardous precipice of readers requires constant review.”

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