An Insiders look and viewpoint
This article is not an accurate scientific study. It is written based on the views of five close family members and friends of alcoholics and drug addicts. It is their viewpoint and understanding of the addictive habits and life of their friend and loved one.
The People Closest To An Addict
When it comes to addiction, there are many aspects to consider and a lot of confusing issues that are challenging and sometimes hard to understand.
Not only is the addict damaging their body, mind, and spirit, but they also inadvertently damage the people closest to them. These family members and friends are emotionally hurting as well.
It has been shown time and time again that in the case of many addicts, the ones who hurt the most are the loved ones of the addict, including family members, friends, lovers, and even employers.
Addiction affects everyone surrounding the addict in a deep and meaningful way. This relationship with an addict is not only very challenging, but also extremely draining, and hard to manage.
Sadly, one of the hardest groups of people to get hit by addiction is the children of addicts. In many cases, the children of addicts develop disorders due to their parent’s addictive tendencies.
Children often develop learning disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety/panic disorders, which directly stem from being around and watching their caretaker’s addictive behavior.
That is the problem with addiction; rarely does it only affect the addict.
For family members, friends, and loved ones, the best way to handle being near an addict is to try and have love and compassion but not become an enabler.
The idea is for people closest to the addict to not become the emotional punching bag or the sounding board for constant criticism and negativity.
There is no doubt that being in love with or close to an addict, is very difficult and not for the faint of heart.
The idea is for the loved ones of addicts to be there both physically and emotionally, but also being able to take care of themselves and put their needs first as well.
All too often, there are cases of family members of addicts who get caught up in the crossfire. Through either trying to help the addict or be there for them, they can often do much more harm than good.
In some cases, loved ones also become addicted, or they unintentionally help the addict become even more addicted.
The goal for anyone associated with an addict is to be strong, ethical, and compassionate, but to create clear-cut boundaries. You must define what is acceptable and what is not.
The road to helping and being there for an addict is a rocky one, but one that can be made acceptable. It takes discipline, and the right precautions must be in place.
Why Can’t An Addict Stop!
I hear many people saying this exact phrase all of the time. Why can’t an addict just stop their addiction? Seems easy enough, doesn’t it.
Many addicts are adults. As adults, the question remains, why can’t they just stop? Well, the answer is much more convoluted than it may seem at first. The reason an addict can’t just stop is either they don’t want to, or they have such a lack of will in their psyche, that they just cannot bear to stop.
We must also consider the terrible physical or biological dependence that drives the addiction. Even with a strong psyche and will to overcome, the physical dependence makes it hard to break.
For people who are not addicts, being an addict is similar to thinking about something all of the time, no matter what.
That means, when an addict wakes up, they usually think of their addiction. When they are getting ready to go to sleep, they usually think of their addiction, and whatever they are doing, they are usually thinking of their addiction.
This addiction consumes their brain, as well as their heart and soul. All they want is whatever they are addicted to, and they cannot handle going without it.
It’s like asking someone who is not addicted to exist without air, addicts just cannot bear to go through life without their addiction, and this is why they cannot simply stop.
For many people who are not addicted, they do not understand addicts and what drives them. They don’t understand how someone can willingly damage their lives and themselves in the process of their addiction.
And, the truth is that most addicts don’t know why they keep on participating in damaging behaviors either. Either these addicts feel horrible inside, or they are trying to forget a painful memory, but they just cannot seem to stop.
Even if an addict stops their addiction, the underlying reason for their addiction is still evident. For instance, it is common knowledge that many people who get gastric bypass surgery to lose excess weight, actually gain all the weight back that they lost in the first place. And, the reason for this is because their underlying cause of the food addiction never healed.
For an addict to stop, it is not so much will as much as it is love and understanding. An addict needs to love and appreciate themselves to stop their addiction.
If they cannot find that love for themselves, the underlying reasons for their addiction will always be present. In some cases, addicts have found help for their addictions through replacing their damaging addiction, such as drinking alcohol to excess, with a more positive addiction, such as meditation, yoga, or working out.
Replacing one addiction with another addiction is usually easier for addicts to do than healing the parts of their psyche that are hurt and damaged, and it is one way that an addict can stop a damaging addiction.
So, if you wonder why an addict can’t simply stop, take a moment and reflect on what addiction means, and how an addict could be healed.
What Is A Definition of An Addiction in The Eyes of the People Closest to the Addict?
When it comes to addiction, many people have this preconceived notion that addiction is something extremely horrible, detrimental, and usually involves alcohol or illegal drugs.
This opinion is true to some extent, but not the entire story. The reality is that addiction can be anything that someone continues to do over and over and over again. It can be something that negatively impacts their lives and something that they seemingly cannot stop, or don’t want to stop, for whatever reason.
What this all means is that addiction can be anything. It can be eating to excess, shopping to excess, spending too much money, spending too much time on the computer, looking at porn too often, being too invested in social media, cheating on one’s spouse more over and over again, etc.
The list of types of addiction can go on and on and on. The problem with addiction is that unless the individual in question sees what they are doing as a problem and the people around them see it as a problem, they don’t have a very good chance of being helped.
And, that is why so many people are struggling with addictions these days. Most don’t know that what they are experiencing is addicting and damaging.
Hoarders are addicted to hoarding, adventure seekers addicted to the thrill, and many people are addicted to love.
This all points to the fact that addiction can be anything and we as humans must always be checking ourselves, our behaviors, and our patterns, for damaging addictions that are taking place.
The worst part of addiction is that most of the time, an individual is so used to their addiction they don’t want to get help, even once they realize that what they are doing is damaging and extremely addicting.
Avoiding reality is why hoarders have a hard time getting help, as do people that are addicted to overeating or overspending. The bottom line with addiction is that one needs to be honest about their behaviors and their patterns to find release from the cage that addiction imposes.
And, once clarity and honesty come through for an individual, and they truly understand that what they are experiencing is a damaging addiction, then there is hope that they will finally be able to see their way out of their problematic addiction.
The Underlying Cause Of Addiction
When people usually think of addiction, they think of a drug addict or an alcoholic that just cannot stop participating in damaging behaviors.
However, the problem with addiction is that it is not only the current act of participating in damaging behaviors, but also it concerns what causes an individual to start participating in these behaviors in the first place.
When it comes to addiction, in most cases, the reasons come from lack. This lack can be anything, from a lack of self-worth to a lack of self-esteem, to a lack of self-confidence, and more.
Lack is truly the underlying cause of many addictions, and it can be the reason addicts have such a hard time stopping and fixing their damaging behaviors.
The problem with lack is that it is learned and experienced, usually from a very early age. When most addicts speak of their childhood, there is almost always lack involved, from lack of love to lack of money, to lack of security, lack is present in so many addicts’ early lives.
And, this is why addiction is so hard to fix. When an individual experiences lack, especially at a very young age, this becomes ingrained so deep, that it is hard to break free.
That means, to help an addict, the lack needs to be recognized and actively addressed. The problem is that not only is it hard to fix lack, but sometimes, addicts either block out their lack or don’t want to revisit their lack at all.
And, if an addict does not want to admit their lack, it is difficult to help them, let alone, believe they can help themselves.
The best way for an addict to get better is to heal their underlying causes of addiction. That means, heal the lack that they have deep down inside themselves.
To heal, addicts must learn to love themselves and see themselves and their lives, as valuable. They must see that what they are doing is damaging to their heart and soul and that they truly deserve better than the current way they are treating themselves.
Sadly, since all addicts have a lack in their psyche somewhere, they often come off as selfish to the ones that they supposedly love and cherish, such as family members and friends.
We often wonder how someone that does not love themselves loves anyone else. It’s an endless cycle that many addicts face.
Many addicts either don’t know how to love others or don’t care to, but they need love more than anything else in the world.
Once an addict finds this great love for themselves, they will be able to not only stop their addiction but learn to love others purely and honestly as well.
When most people think of addicts, they usually think of someone that is disheveled, lazy, and just cannot control themselves. They might think of someone who is out of work, either sitting at home doing nothing or staying out all night and spending a lot of money.
But, what if this common view of addiction is not the truth? What if I told you that there are “functioning” addicts who hold down great jobs, spend time with their family and friends, and lead seemingly positive and fruitful lives, but who are intensely afflicted with addiction?
Well, this is the reality. There are many functioning addicts out there, and this face of addiction is not always the one that we expect.
When it comes to functioning addicts, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding it. It’s a disturbing fact that many functioning addicts like to keep their addictions secret, sometimes for years at a time.
It is a fact that many times, the closest friends and family members of functioning addicts don’t even know what is going on with the addict since they are hiding in the dark.
There have also been cases where, for instance, someone is hooked on heroin for over 20 years, and their family and friends had no clue that they even used heroin, let alone, that they had this problem.
We see this as another side to addiction, the side that we don’t always see plastered in the media, or on our television screens. It is the fact that many people who are functioning members of society are unfortunately addicts or alcoholics.
The problem with functioning addicts is that since they keep their addiction secret, no one knows about their addiction. These functioning addicts can spiral out of control, get sick, or even die, and no one would know why, until after the fact.
Sadly, a lot of functioning addicts do get sick or worse over time, and their family members and friends are usually confused as to why suddenly, this healthy person, just got extremely sick, seemingly out of the blue.
That is the life of a functioning addict; shrouded in mystery.
If you are curious to know if one of your loved ones is a functioning addict, begin to pay attention and look for evidence or signs, such as drug paraphernalia or residue, lots of empty bottles, or changes in behavior or mood changes.
There are different clear-cut signals for different addictions, but mood changes are commonplace for functioning addicts, as are secretive behavior and mystery.
We as individuals need to be open to the idea that anyone, anytime, can become prey to addiction, and we need to do all that we can to be there for our loved ones if that indeed, does take place.
Always remember to stay vigilant and aware, and the more you understand what a functioning addict is, the easier it will be for you to spot a loved one as a functioning addict.
This article is an inside view of addiction as presented by family and loved ones of addicts and alcoholics.
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A short but impactful and informative video on the subject of family and how persons close to an addict think of that addiction, understand it, and how they deal with it.