Addicts need the support of their loved ones in order to have their best chance at recovery while attending an addiction treatment center. However, that support can be difficult to provide for people who haven’t experienced addiction and don’t know what it feels like. They think there must be something wrong with the addict to be so dependent on drugs, and that an addict’s cravings represent untrustworthiness. It’s important for these people to understand what an addict goes through, and what addiction feels like.
When someone is addicted, they don’t simply want the drug or alcohol they are addicted to—they feel as if they completely need it. Not using drugs causes intensely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and their brain is so altered that they are physically unable to not desire more drugs.
After all, if they were able to resist the need to use more drugs or alcohol, they wouldn’t be addicts. By definition, addiction means that a person is unable to control their consumption. This need for more drugs or alcohol quickly becomes the focal point of an addict’s life, around which all their thoughts and emotions are centered.
This means that the addict no longer is able to control what they think about or do with their life. They become powerless in the face of the drug that has taken over their life. Often, repeated use of a drug builds up so much tolerance that taking it isn’t even pleasurable. In some cases, it’s even unpleasant, and yet the need to take more remains. When an addict’s body and mind force them to continue a habit they don’t even enjoy, the effect can be incredibly disempowering and discouraging.
They have to come to grips with the difficult fact that they are no longer the primary decision-makers in their own lives—their need to use drugs has become the dominant force in the direction of their life.
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This realization can lead to depression and hopelessness—if an addict feels powerless, they may think that they’ll never be strong enough to resist their addiction and that there’s no chance for recovery. This kind of thinking will only lead them deeper into their addiction, as they give up all hope of things improving. This is why it’s so important for an addict’s loved ones to help them out, as often an addict will not seek drug addiction treatment, thinking they won’t be able to make it work for them. If an addict has the support of their family and knows that they will do what they can to see the addict recover, that can be an essential motivator for becoming sober.
During treatment at a drug or alcohol rehab center, addiction remains a major factor in a person’s life. Intense cravings to relapse can and will occur, and may present a difficult obstacle for a recovering addict.
The addict’s loved ones need to know that these cravings are a part of addiction, and not a sign of weakness or a lack of commitment to sobriety. The difference, though, is that in recovery, drugs do not have the same power as when addiction is in full swing. An addict in recovery has retaken control of their life, and it’s up to them not to give that power back to their addiction.