What is the Mind of An Addict Like?
This is a personal story from contributor B.H. She has personally experienced her son’s addiction, treatment and recovery. She frequently shares stories from her life on My Addiction Info.
The mind is a very powerful part of us all. The mind controls many of our feelings and emotions. This is evident in our emotions, feelings, and our whole inner-being.
How lucky we are as humans to have this miraculous complexity in our bodies, along with so many others.
Our minds can play a positive part in our well-being as well as a negative aspect. This is true for many people that suffer from addiction.
An Addict’s Mind
With an addict, the brain and the mind (which is a vital function of the brain) controls everything about the negative reward receptors that the addict has so much difficulty stopping. The mind tells the addict that they need the harmful substance to actually survive.
The pleasure in which the substance brings to the brain of the addict directly affects the mind. Some people are able to use drugs and alcohol recreationally, or when they “feel like it”, and others begin to use substances recreationally, and, over time, realize that they cannot stop without intervention.
This was, and still is, the case with my son.
Addiction is so complicated. Many studies show that addiction has genetic influences, which leads to why others can use harmful substances when they want to, and why others get hooked and their brain wants more.
My son used recreationally in the beginning with friends in high school and then in college. He realized that he “needed” more in order to actually live his life. Drugs and alcohol quickly became his new normal, and there was not any other way to live.
Luckily, he came to me and told me he wanted to stop and no longer live his life using drugs. But…he needed help. That is where a good drug rehabilitation facility came in.
Love the Addict
You may have heard “Love the addict; hate the addiction.” This is because the addict is still the one you have always loved. If you are a mother, like me, of a young adult with an addiction, you will never stop loving them. But, the thing is, you will probably hate the addiction which means you will do whatever it takes to help them.
These are the fine lines between enabling, codependency, and cutting them off completely. Addiction is so very cunning and baffling, and this is why it does whatever it takes to destroy families.
Any parent or spouse who has a family member suffering from this debilitating disease is emotionally broken or very close to being emotionally broken.
No Matter What You Say or Do….
Your addict will not respond. It doesn’t matter what you say. You can tell your loved one over and over again how much you love them and how much you care for their well-being, but it doesn’t matter. You can give them money, buy them gifts, or do anything in your power to make them stop but it will not work unless they are willing to do it for themselves.
This is why it is so important to focus on the individual, do what you can to give them love and support and let go of what you cannot control.
I will never, ever forget the time my son came home that Wednesday night, in the middle of a college semester, to tell me he needed help. I thank God every single day that he did just that.
Many people addicted to drugs or alcohol do not do that, and their families suffer even more than I did; I cannot even imagine the pain. It has taken many counseling sessions and addiction meetings to get to this point, and the one action I took that can help many people understand the addict is to attend a class on addiction and how it does impact the brain, mind, and body.
In time, healing can happen, but remember it does take a lot of time…and seeking that Higher Power, whatever it may be.