Without personal exposure to addiction it can be difficult to understand why people continue using drugs that damage their bodies and their lives.
The authors of the book Uppers, Downers, All-Arounders, Darryl S. Inaba and William E. Cohen explain how drug and alcohol addiction can begin:
“Let’s not kid ourselves. People initially do get something from drugs. They don’t say, ‘Well, I want to feel miserable so I think I’ll swallow this.’ They don’t think, I’m going to make myself cough by smoking a joint until my eyes become bloodshot. They don’t plan to get hepatitis or AIDS from a shared needle. They get something out of the drug, something desirable enough to throw caution to the wind.”
Drugs and alcohol provide a user with a pleasurable high, a sense of pain relief, or an escape from reality that feels good in the moment. Eventually, when experimentation and recreational use progress to substance abuse and then to physical dependence and addiction, the pleasure, the pain relief, or the escape are are still the goal, but are not without consequences.
Addiction and Alcoholism
When the body and brain become accustomed to a certain combination of chemicals, the person is no longer able to control substance use. Physical and psychological dependency create an obsession with use, basically at the expense of everything else in that person’s life. Even when a job has been lost, a relationship has been compromised, a medical concern has surfaced, or finances are completely shot, people who are addicted to something cannot stop using.
Further, an addicted person denies that he or she has a problem with drugs and alcohol. In their mind, an alcoholic who crashes a car while intoxicated does not mean they have a drinking problem. Maybe an event like that does provide some perspective, and they make an effort to slow down their alcohol consumption, or they stop drinking altogether, but if they are addicted to alcohol,they have a high likelihood of relapse, even when wanting to quit.
Addiction is powerful and cannot be stopped without formal help.
Cocaine is a stimulant, meaning its effects make its users feel as though they have more energy, increased confidence, higher motivation levels, and an overall positive feeling.
When cocaine addiction reaches the point of loss of control over use, obsession with use, continued use despite adverse consequences, denial of a problem, and relapse after quitting, even an addict begins to wonder how he or she got to that point.
In the words of a 44-year-old recovering cocaine addict:
“Initially, I remember the mood swings, but then the swings became farther and farther apart and the depression got deeper and deeper and deeper and of course eventually it led me to my attempt at suicide. I really did want to die, and that I remember as being way out of proportion to the actual events of my life.”
What Fuels a Cocaine Addiction?
An inability to cope with emotions is a major contributor to cocaine addiction. In many cases, cocaine feels like an answer to painfully low self-esteem. If the use of this drug makes me feel better about who I am, especially in social settings, then I would like to keep using it.
When a drug like cocaine is then essentially used as self-medication, any time a painful emotion surfaces (insecurity, sadness, or uncertainty about his or her worth), a desire for cocaine, for the medicine that takes all those feelings away, develops.
The concept of “rock bottom” in the world of addiction treatment is that a person must reach a very low point to see that changes are necessary. An emotional bottom for a cocaine addict may actually keep him or her using, which is what leads to many untimely cocaine overdose deaths.
Experts in the field believe that other people can create a rock bottom for an addict, or what’s called “raising the bottom.” What this means is, people who care about a cocaine addict can begin taking things away to create consequences that hopefully lead the addict to choose rehab. For example, if a cocaine abusing son or daughter is still living at home, parents can stop providing shelter. If someone is helping an addict financially, cutting off all support can also lead to the choice of rehab.
Often it takes a combination of these consequences to get a cocaine addict to choose treatment because low self-worth and the feeling that nobody cares can be deeply ingrained.
To help yourself, or someone you love, contact Sovereign Health Group of California at (866) 629-0442 now!
Blog Post By: Jared Friedman