In modern society, addiction has become a very common affliction, affecting all social and age groups. Addiction and ways of dealing with it are widely discussed in mass media, social networks and various meet-ups. Rehabilitation centers and recovery programs are frequently introduced. However, not much is being said about where the addiction itself comes from, and what its psychological background might be. So, I want to try to shed more light on what makes someone more prone to fall into substance abuse.
In the larger part of today’s society, families prefer not to discuss addiction-related issues. Addiction is perceived to be shameful and useless. Because of this, descendants of addicts can be unaware of what kind of genetic inheritance they might have been born with. Recent studies have shown a 50% greater likelihood of addiction due to our genes and inherited behavior patterns. It has been discovered that if a parent was an addict, their children are 8 times more likely to have a substance abuse problem. (NIDA) Moreover, children who grow up with the daily sight of any kind of addiction tend to inherit those behavior patterns and adjust them to their own understanding and use. Unfortunately, many parents unknowingly push their kids into this vicious loop of addiction.
Poor Coping Skills
In many people, substance abuse has developed due to poor coping skills. It may be perceived as the only option to take your mind off your worries and to help cope with life’s mental struggles and storms. Life has never been easy for anyone, but for an addict, it is just not clear how to handle hardships such as loneliness, lack of understanding by family or the death of a close friend or family member. The actual understanding an addict needs to develop is that abusing substances does not take away anything except your health and money. It does not bring relief, only anxiety, disorder, illness and medical bills.
So how can we change the situation?
1. “Don't let your genes be the only legacy you pass on to your children.” (Steven M. Melemis)
Genes don't have to determine the destiny of a child. A parent, who is an addict or used to be an addict, can use his\her children as motivation to choose and stay on the path of sobriety. Modeling this behavior pattern can be a good lesson and example for the children on coping mechanisms.
2. “Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” (Steve Maraboli)
Having a victim mentality doesn’t help us to change our circumstances. If we can let go of the victim idea, it opens a door behind which we can find the strength to positively change our lives. This is a time-consuming process and will require a huge energy input.
3. “Be what you are. This is the first step towards becoming better than you are.” (J. C. Hare & A. W. Hare)
Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. There is no way to avoid them. What is important is that we begin to start understanding and learning from our mistakes. We need to take ownership of our life. Moreover, this should be done without shame or guilt, but rather striving to be better person through lessons learned.
“I personally believe this: We have only today; yesterday's gone and tomorrow is uncertain. That's why they call it the present. And sobriety really is a gift... for those who are willing to receive it.”
― Ace Frehley