Addiction is a disease that isn’t bound by any kind of social, racial, or economic barriers. It can affect any person at any point in life. One’s age is another non-factor when it comes to the diagnosis of the disease. However, while addiction can affect anybody, one’s age does dictate how one may approach their unique situation throughout the recovery process. Many professionals, parents, or other adults may feel like they are in control of their use, but dangerous relationships with addictive substances can result from a number of different sources, some of which are unique to the later stages in one’s life.
Addressing the Stigma of Age
With age comes a kind of expected experience and control. Those holding professional positions are expected to continue to moderate their emotional wellbeing and healthy coping strategies while simultaneously being tasked with financial burdens, a social life complicated by one’s work schedule, and the body and mind’s simple need to rest.
However, while such expectations may be placed on an individual, that doesn’t make navigating these things any easier. It can often lead an individual to push down feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression rather than process these feelings based on these stigmas placed upon them. The need for healthy outlets is essential at any age, especially as the sources of one’s stresses become more complex and of greater financial and social consequence.
The Unique Struggles of Age
Age presents new hurdles to overcome that can affect one’s relationship with addictive substances. For some, drugs may not have become a part of one’s life until later on as aches, pains, or other health complications became more prevalent, and prescriptions were introduced, then misused. Others may find different routes that lead to substance use, such as empty nest syndrome, retirement, and the stresses of a professional career.
The Stress of an Empty Nest
Being a parent is a rewarding experience, but when one’s children successfully move out and begin their own lives and journeys, it can introduce a unique kind of loneliness and grief. While one’s days may have been filled with caring and entertaining one’s children, their absence can leave a void in one’s daily routines, bringing feelings of loneliness, boredom, sadness, and depression. Filling this time with drugs or alcohol can be a common practice to bolster one’s mood, and feelings of isolation can leave an individual’s use unchecked.
Filling Boredom in Retirement
Retirement can present many different issues. While finally excusing oneself from the workforce and focusing on one’s own hobbies and interests is an enticing prospect, the change in schedule and free time can be a jarring experience. What once was a regimented day between one’s professional life and obligations is now open. Filling this time with drinking or drugs to pass the time can be a common, yet dangerous, practice to fill this newfound time and boredom.
The Stresses of Professional Life
The workplace is a place of intense stress for many, especially in the case of high-risk or high-profile positions such as business executives, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and any other first responders or individuals who spend their professional life under public scrutiny. These professions can be populated with strict time-frames, high-stress scenarios, and high levels of consequence riding on an individual’s decisions, leading to a great deal of mental and emotional fatigue from the workplace and introducing a new, complicated, and potent force of stress that isn’t prevalent during one’s earlier years in life.
Approaching Recovery at Any Age
Just as addiction isn’t limited to any particular age group, neither is recovery. However, different recovery communities can be more or less prevalent in one’s unique situation. While overcoming the stigmas associated with one’s age can be a struggle, finding a recovery community of peers in similar situations can help an individual begin to accept and bridge themselves to an effective recovery community.
Programs focused on the trials of first responders, business professionals, parents, and more are all available, each of which is in place to deconstruct this stigma while providing pertinent and understanding support. Having peers at a similar stage in life can help each individual feel better heard and understood in their struggles. Sharing these stresses alongside other parents, professionals, first responders, or other peers can provide powerful feelings of acceptance while developing specialized coping strategies throughout one’s unique recovery journey.
Vigilance regarding one’s substance use is essential at any age, with one’s age and experience constantly introducing new stressors or hardships. However, recovery is always available to help each individual take their step towards a healthy and sober future.
Age is a unique factor when it comes to substance abuse and recovery, and we at Chateau Recovery understand the unique perspective it can provide for those in recovery. If your or a loved one is struggling with addiction or substance use at any age, we are prepared to personalize a program for you today. Located in Midway, Utah, we offer an array of therapeutic options available to help you begin your journey to sobriety, with individual and group therapy, yoga, meditation, nutritional guidance, case management, and more. We also cater these programs to those 30 and over, ensuring that individuals are surrounded by their peers with similar experiences and goals to create an accepting and focused recovery community. For more information on how we can begin to personalize your time with us or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about the options available to you, call us today at (435) 222-5225.