It is possible to become addicted to nearly everything. Street drugs, over-the-counter and prescribed medication , alcohol, sports, shopping, anger, people and even sex just for starters. Anything that can be misused and abused in one’s life can become an addiction. It can quickly occur in the life of the person involved.
A surgery leads to a lot of pain that doctors ease with medication. No one starts out thinking, “I’m going to make myself addicted to these pain killers”. Your pain is real. The relief from the pain medication is real. Then you discover the extra dose, or two pills instead of one eases the pain even quicker.
Today most doctors are more aware of the patient who is abusing their medication. Doctor shopping is harder to accomplish. Still, it’s possible to find yourself addicted to prescribed medication quickly.
There are lots of “tells”. Prescriptions run out before the due refill date. Doctors don’t want to prescribe more to you. Your thoughts center on when you can take your next dose or if two pills give you the relief you used to get. Do you need three?
Thought patterns change and shift. You no longer think about spending time with family, your job, your church, being financially responsible, instead you are consumed with the object or person you’ve become addicted to. You need it or them more than anything else. Test yourself, In a conversation with someone focus on how many times you say the word “I”.
- “I’m in so much pain.”
- “I just can’t wait until the six hours pass.”
- “I can’t believe it, someone is stealing my medication.”
- “I am going to have the manager change my locks. Someone is getting in here and messing with my pain pills.”
- “I feel”, “I want”, “I need”.
Addiction is no respecter of social class, wealth or lack of, education levels, life circumstances, gender, marital or parental status, age or anything else. When it breeds in you it consumes you, your mind, your heart and your money. Those left in your life, witnessing this, are confronted with a situation most of the time they have no idea of how to handle.
In our family recently we tried to confront the person gently but firmly. The person has a difficult personality that combined with her addiction proves her deafness isn’t only with her ears. Until she allows us to speak candidly with her doctors we are limited in the conversation we can have with them. Reality is it’s going to be a hard road for us all.
The harshest truth is that you can send them to rehab, you can alert doctors, guilt the addicted to see what they’re doing to their children or grandchildren but until they themselves want free of the addiction it’s useless. This health crisis the world is experiencing due to COVID-19 isn’t helpful. In person, face-to-face contact is so limited. The computer screen, in my opinion, only adds a layer of denial for the addicted. The numbers already show an increase in depression and anxiety, and no additional mental health issues are helpful to an addict.
This is the first straight-up addiction problem our family as a whole has faced together. Thankfully, we’re recognizing it early and are in agreement to continue to pursue all avenues open to us to help our loved one. We all have to help one another not to get to that place of no longer caring about what happens to the addicted because of the pain wrought in our lives long before this became an issue. We will pursue help for ourselves to help this family member.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4: 6-7, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.
Though we’re new to this link of the journey through life we are far from alone. We’re also depending on God to help us through this.