Addiction is an immensely complicated topic that envelops every aspect of a person’s life. There are biological, mental, and emotional components that all go into someone developing an addiction. Once someone has been diagnosed with an addiction of any kind, they are forced to rethink how they have been conceiving the world around them through a warped lens. During recovery, a lot of emphasis is put on the biological aspects of recovery, especially when dealing with withdrawal and detox. However, there is always a need to ask someone “why” they would turn to drugs or alcohol in the first place as an outlet.
It’s Never Intentional
Know that asking someone “why” they turned to alcohol or drugs isn’t the same thing as asking them why they became addicted. Developing an addiction is never intentional, and often develops without the person even realizing it is happening. For some people, they won’t realize that there is a problem with their usage until they have already developed some kind of addiction or detrimental relationship with drugs, alcohol, or any other addictive substance. On the other hand, asking someone “why” they have turned to a certain outlet is about addressing the core way in which someone perceives alcohol or drugs, as well as the initial relationship and stressors that may have caused someone to think of them as a better alternative in the first place. Addiction isn’t something that develops in isolation, and there are other factors that play a part in someone using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Asking Why Someone Would Continue to Use
It is very possible that someone is aware that they have an unhealthy relationship with drugs or alcohol before they are confronted about having an addiction. However, that doesn’t mean that someone would necessarily stop using. These situations are complex, and often involve someone experiencing pains from multiple sources in their lives. Not only are they having to confront themselves about their own usage of drugs and alcohol, but they are also weighing these negative effects as addictions develop and trying to make a choice of what pain may be more manageable. Addressing these situations is difficult as it involves not just addressing the usage of alcohol or drugs themselves, but every other facet of someone’s life.
Why ask “Why?”
Someone who is suffering from addiction may feel a great deal of shame or guilt attached to their usage of drugs or alcohol. They may be compelled to hide their usage or live in constant fear that someone may realize their destructive habit. Not asking someone if they are addicted, but rather why they would use alcohol or drugs as stress relief can help show someone that they are more than the addiction itself. It helps open a dialogue about more than the addiction itself and includes an opportunity to address all of the additional stresses that someone may be dealing with. Someone may not want to continue drinking, but also feel that it is the only thing that can keep them going through an intensely difficult relationship or problematic work environment. Opening a conversation about these topics, and about the drinking as a reaction to other stresses, can help someone feel seen beyond their addiction and better help guide them to the strategies and help that they may need.
Addiction can dictate someone’s entire identity by influencing their decisions based on how they can use drugs or drink, or structuring their days and money around obtaining the next drink or next drug. Addiction can gain control of someone’s life in a variety of simple ways that become more complex over time. However, asking someone “why” they would originally turn to these routes in the first place is a way of humanizing the entire experience. People who suffer from addiction may be constantly afraid of being labeled an “addict,” or can be afraid that they are not seen beyond their addiction. Helping someone maintain their identity outside of any addiction can help inform the right recovery paths, and even motivate them to continue searching for things that make them happy outside of addiction. People are always much more than their addiction, and allowing that expression of identity is key in determining the underlying factors that may have led to addiction as well as how to fix them. Creating a plan, a rewards system, and even establishing new and beneficial relationships all rely on the expression of one’s own identity. Asking someone not “if” they are addicted to something, but “why” they may be tempted to use a particular substance allows them to keep their identity intact throughout the recovery process.
Identity lays at the base of many different recovery paths and strategies. Asking someone “why” allows them to explore their own identity outside of addiction, and formulate a plan based on addressing their triggers and usage simultaneously. Most importantly, it creates a way for each person to retain their humanity through a difficult time, and take pride in each step they take, knowing how their progress pertains to them specifically.
Addiction is never intentional, but can still carry many destructive results on someone’s life and the lives of their friends, family, and loved ones. The professional staff at Lighthouse Recovery understand the need for a personalized recovery process, and the importance of an individualized approach in order to address the person beyond the addiction in a holistic manner, rather than just the addiction itself. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, Lighthouse is prepared to create a plan that is curated to your needs, both with addiction and for the coping strategies needed to help deal with life overall. Lighthouse creates an environment where each person is allowed to bring their own unique experiences and identity, and express their situation in a safe environment while addressing the various techniques applicable to them.