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Through the eyes of an addict - making life most difficult

“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviours.” – American Society of Addiction Medicine Board, April 19, 2011.

Knowing what someone who suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction goes through on a daily basis is impossible for an outsider or non-user to comprehend. There are tremendous highs to the disease and copious amounts of unimaginable lows.

For an illegal-substance user everyday activities of life become adversities and the simplest joys are often removed or eliminated. It becomes a struggle to get through each day and cope with the battles that are thrown at them.

Finding comfort and relief in alcohol and drugs, users tend to withdraw from their loved ones and often this is due to the want to remove any possibility of being hindered from indulging in their choice of release, drugs and/or alcohol.  Being addicted to drugs or being an alcoholic is one of the darkest paths a person can walk down.

It not only affects family life, relationships, friendships, work and health but it plays a great deal on a person’s emotional stability and regularity. Substance abusers embark on emotional crusades on a daily basis; they are faced with an inner, civil war which harvests in their thoughts.

Feelings of guilt and anger, disappointment and disbelief consume their thoughts; this is where the withdrawal from known love and support occurs.

Regularly alcoholics and substance abusers are faced with pressures from various sources, pressures that someone who does not suffer from the disease would easily be able to ignore or manage.

Addiction is a universally misinterpreted and misunderstood disease which is often viewed as a phase which can just be dealt with through alcohol/drug rehabilitation treatment, however behind the addict or alcoholic there is an incredible amount of pain, dissatisfaction and fears of relentless or inevitable relapse.

Stopping is not just stopping for an addict. Stopping necessitates a change of lifestyle, removing themselves from their friendship circles, altering or implementing routine and whilst dealing with these difficulties there is still a constant and intense crave for their substance of choice.

Throughout life we are faced with choices and sometimes incorrect or misguided life-decisions are made. It takes support, understanding and patience from loved ones, together with determination and faith in them in order for an individual to overcome the battle against alcohol and drug addiction.

Stepaway is a drug addiction treatment centre in the Eastern Cape.

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