What is Addiction and Dependence on Drugs and/or Alcohol?
One of the first things to look for is how many times a person wants or needs a drink. Frequency of drinking is a huge contributing factor. Perhaps they are slipping away to “sneak” a drink. They drink alone. They have a small bottle in their desk drawer, or they go into the restroom to have a drink.
Another sign is their inability to control how much they drink. For the alcoholic, one drink is too many and all of Lake Michigan isn’t enough.
As drinking becomes a more important activity in their life, a person loses interest in other things, in friendships, or will even create an elaborate ritual for their drinking.
Maybe it’s routine for them to hit the bar right after work, or they make a cocktail before dinner, then they continue drinking during the meal and after. If you say anything, they get angry. If they don’t have access to alcohol when they want a drink, or when their drinking ritual is set to begin, they become angry.
Forgetfulness another sign of Understanding Dependence on Alcohol
Another sign is the person forgetting conversations, or not remembering tasks at work. You’ve probably heard of someone “blacking out” after drinking. That’s another indicator.
They guzzle drinks, like an athlete taking Gatoraide on a hot day. While others in the group might order a regular mixed drink, they order a double. They drink to get drunk, because drunk is what feels “normal” to them. They want to feel good.
DUI a major cause of traffic deaths
We mentioned DUI before. I live in Wisconsin and DUI is huge here. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that nearly half of all traffic deaths in the U.S. are linked to alcohol. You can see that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are not just personal problems; they are serious public health problems. Because alcohol abusers and alcoholics deny they have a problem, their problem becomes everyone’s as soon as they get into the car and turn the key. In Wisconsin, tens of thousands are convicted of a DUI every year.
In addition to DUI, so many other problems arise for the drinker. Understanding Dependence on Alcohol gets in the way of marriages, work situations, social situations. It causes financial troubles and, of course, legal troubles. Alcohol takes over and there is no room for reason, no room for relationships and no room for any action other than what the alcoholic brain wants. It’s a cruel, unyielding destroyer of lives.
Must Drink MORE, Must Get More Drugs!
Addicts develop a tremendous tolerance to the effects of alcohol. Because of that, in order to experience the same effect they had before, they need to drink more.
They have no control over how much they drink, because they “need” more to feel good. Regardless of what the drinking/drug is doing to them physically, they continue to drink and use.
Regardless of any personal and social consequences, they drink and/or use drugs. They have to use the drug. In order to help them realize that they have choices, you first need to remove the access to alcohol/drugs.
Take away access to alcohol/drugs and the alcoholic/addict may experience nausea, vomiting, sweating, the “shakes,” and convulsions.
An alcohol/drug abuser, who does not have the physical dependency on alcohol, may or may not suffer these types of withdrawal symptoms. They do not experience the same kind of craving for alcohol and the compulsion to drink.
I am on Step 3 and don’t know what to do?
For many, this is a hard process. Let’s try to break this down into smaller parts to get some ideas. The first part of this statement is key to understanding how the step works—“made a decision…”
In the first step we admit that our lives are out of control, we have a problem. In the second step, we accept that we need help. Even though we have a problem and need help, we still have the right to say no to receive that help.
Think of it this way. I need something and I am going to allow you to help me get it. I am inviting you in and appealing to you to take over and guide me through my problem.
You and I have a relationship, and like any relationship there is give and take. But nothing happens unless I allow you in. Even though I am powerless, even though I am the one that needs the help, I can exercise a measure of autonomy and prevent you from helping me.
Another thing to consider is if I turn my will over to God, as I understand him, and allow God to help me, for that relationship to work, should I not know something about God? God? What God? Who is this God?
Who Are You Putting Your Trust In?
Who and what are you putting your trust in? Many put their trust in a man or themselves. OJ based is whole being on a running back for the Buffalo Bills. Simpson ran for 2000 yards one season, but he eventually aged and had to retire. You know the rest.
It’s one thing to follow and example, but it’s quite another to turn yourself over to someone who suffers the same kind of human frailty you do.
If we need to have surgery, it is not uncommon for us to examine the surgeon’s professional credentials, get referrals, or seek multiple opinions. Yet when it comes to God, we prefer to decide who God is and what he should do. What is your understanding of God. Here’s a little exercise that might help. Take a piece of paper and on the left hand side jot down a list of points that you believe about God.
After you have done that, look at them again and to the right of each one write down why you believe what you believe. So you have your belief on one side and your reason on the other. Look at the reasons and question how you came to believe that reason. Challenge yourself.
For example, I write down “God is love.” That’s a common claim. Ok, what data supports my claim? In the New Testament, I John 4:8 and 4:16 each contain the statement. There is Biblical evidence that God is love. Now the question becomes, do I believe the Bible?
Let’s stop here for a moment. Remember, when you allow someone to come into your life, you are allowing a relationship to form. Some one tells you, “I love you.”
It’s nice to hear those words, but is there anything to support the claim?
How do I know?
I know by talking to that person and I know by observing that person.
Is the statement consistent with the nature and character of the other person?
Is there evidence to support it?
God Meets You Where You Are At
This might be helpful. Allow God to meet you where you are. Those are acceptable ground rules to God, as He demonstrates His willingness to accept us just as we are, which is recorded in countless passages of Scripture.
After all, when you meet another person are you not doing the same thing? You say, “Tell me about yourself.” They ask you the same thing. Maybe you don’t know God, or don’t understand God, or maybe you’re afraid of God. You might just say, “I’ll give you a chance.” As you go along, you discover for yourself who God is.
Allowing the relationship to take shape is important, as opposed to having somebody ram facts down your throat and expect you follow some list of rules and regulations. God didn’t force Himself on you, and He’s willing to go at your pace. Jesus said, “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” See, you’re building a relationship and within that relationship there is respect and trust laid down as the cornerstones. As you begin to experience God in a relationship, everything you have heard, everything you thought, will take on a new form, a new dimension. It becomes real to you.
No longer are you thinking of God as some far away, transcendent being, but as a close, personal friend. You will discover a loving, caring and compassionate God, who will not withhold anything from you, but rather give you everything He has. This God loves you and demonstrated that love by sending His one and only son to earth to pay the penalty for every wrong thought, word or deed we ever committed.
After you’ve realized that your life is out of control, and that you need help from a power greater than yourself, if you are willing to turn your will over to God, as you understand Him, you are ready to move to the next step: Step Four.
For more answers to Addiction Dependency go to 12-Step
Summary of Addiction Dependency:
Addiction and dependency always go together, you can't be addicted to a substance without also being dependent on it.
Dependence occurs over time as a person begins to use more and more of a drug to get the same effect. A common example of this is when a person starts using alcohol they often get drunck easily. As they consume more alcohol it takes a lot more drinks before they're drunk. The technical term for this is drug dependence.
Addiction usually requires a withdrawal process to allow the brain to begin to undue the damage cause by the chemical.
Addiction can be helped considerably be a 12 step program and AA/NA meetings. If a person works the steps they can often end their dependence on the drug.
Treatment can also be helpful to end the dependence on a drug, treatment can involve many things incloding individual and group therapy, as well as CBT and other psycological methods.
Addiction often happens before the person with the problems realizes it. Because the addict is in denial they always believe they can stop anytime they want to, but sadly they're usually wrong.
Addiction can often be overcome if the addict makes a spiritual connection or re-connection with God as they understand him.