Do you have an issue with understanding a loved one who struggles with substance or alcohol abuse disorders? I want to challenge you to do this next activity. It will help you look deep down in yourself to see if you are actively struggling with an addiction of your own. The definition of addiction according to Wikipedia is, “a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences”. If you break that down, it means anything you feel you have to do over all other things.
Get out a pen and answer these next questions from the heart, this is for you and you alone. Do you have any addictions in your life? For example, an eating disorder, a shopaholic, sexual addiction, social media addiction, computer or gaming addiction, gambling, extreme workout, hoarding, OCD, smoking or any other thing you may be addicted to. How easy would it be for you to just let that go? Would you be able to drop it right now, and never do it again? Can you get through it with no professional help? Would you be able to conquer it with no support system backing you up? If you were able to stop your addiction, do you think you could “stay clean”? How long till you fall back into your old ways without help and encouragement? Really look back at what you wrote, and take a good look at your own addiction. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not easy to admit that you struggle with your own addiction. Imagine how hard it would be to hear someone call you out on your addiction. Those addictions can do just as much harm as a substance or alcohol use disorder.
My hope is that through this simple activity you can have a bit more empathy and understanding of some of the things others may be struggling with. Allow those who have substance and alcohol use disorders to have a bit more grace and mercy to work through their recovery. Encourage them and be an active part of their healing process. Respect the process they have to go through to overcome their disorders. Show them the love and respect that you would want if you were in their shoes.