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Becoming addicted

From drugs to alcohol and gambling, the question is often the same on the lips of those struggling: How did it happen? How did I get here? What’s next after rock bottom?

Addiction is a disease. It has thousands of adults in the UK in its grip and with every passing day more fall into the vicious patterns that lead them towards dependency. It leads thousands to decisions and behaviours that they regret. Although every life and situation is unique, there are common threads and decisions that enable addictive behaviours, self-destruction and the reinforcement of dependency.

Today we look at those common decisions – and what to do to pull yourself out the hole you may have found yourself in.

If you need someone to talk to right now, call us. It’s 0208 191 9174 or you can book a call back by clicking here: talk via email instead.

Neglect your self-care and routine.

Self-care is any deliberate activity that you do to take care of your mental, physical and emotional health. Self-care is important because it helps your mind and body function in the best ways possible. By maintaining the health of your mind and body through practising self-care it also increases the length and quality of your life. Part of this is the maintenance of healthy routines.

Problematic drug and alcohol use changes you physically, mentally and emotionally and interferes with one’s ability to practice self-care. When drugs and alcohol start to take hold, you start to let things slip. One of the first things that can go is getting out of bed regularly first thing in the morning. This is particularly prevalent at this time when many people have been affected by COVID and have been put on furlough or lost their jobs, the incentive to get up and be productive lessens. As a by-product, often good nutrition and exercise go out the window too.

Drugs and alcohol are then often the crutch to helping you cope with feeling helpless, hopeless, and low in self-worth and what starts out as casual use soon turns into regular use and dependency. Of course, by this time the drugs and alcohol are now affecting your sleep patterns and the way you think of yourself and others so what was a crutch has now become a hindrance. If you have noticed a change in your healthy routines or self-care and an increase in your alcohol or drug use then this is a warning sign that you are on a slippery slope.

Constrict and diminish your social life.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: addiction thrives in isolation. This is a disease that will encourage you to isolate and to choose consumption over every important and good thing in your life. Addiction sees those it afflicts cut off friends, loved ones and healthy activities in the name of drugs and alcohol

Part of the reason is shame, which is one of the most powerful forces addiction draws on. As self-destruction occurs, the individual still knows on some level that what they’re doing is wrong and has real stigmas attached to it. They drink, they do drugs and they hide what they’ve done. Invited to a night out later, but you’re already drunk or used throughout the day? Make an excuse. Meant to see family but blew your money on drugs or booze? You just can’t make it this time, sorry!

Before you know it, you’re entirely alone with nothing but your addiction or spending time with others who have also replaced their healthy social networks with a drug or alcohol focus.

To avoid falling into this dark trap, you simply need to appreciate that healthy connection kills addiction. From something as modest as greeting a supermarket as you buy food through to spending time with your family, going on outings with your mates or seeing a therapist each week, human interaction is one of the most profoundly beneficial and important things you can receive and seek if you’re struggling with drugs and alcohol.

If you need someone to talk to right now, call us. It’s 0208 191 9174 or you can book a call back by clicking here we can talk via email instead.

Ignore you and your family’s past.

Addiction and substance dependency doesn’t affect people equally. A variety of factors influence how someone becomes addicted to a substance or addictive behaviour – and many of those factors lie in your childhood and with your parents or parenting experience.

Most adults who become addicted to drugs and alcohol have experienced some form of significant childhood abuse or trauma. Seeking to find a coping mechanism to process and manage the pain of their experiences, those adults turn to substances. Some may have inherited genetic traits or learned behaviours from their parents (particularly if your parents had issues with drugs or alcohol), leading them to be more inclined towards drug and alcohol use or more likely to develop substance abuse issues because of depression.

Finally, ignoring your past can lead you to future addiction. If you have struggled with a substance before, or an activity like video gaming or gambling, you are more likely to fall into a new, different addiction. Cross addiction is a real phenomenon, and it’s incredibly important to be mindful of its dangers if you have had any kind of addiction or dependency before in your life.

We’re right here. Talk to us.

It’s our sincere hope that you found this helpful. If you’re struggling, we want to help. Today.

Call us on 0208 191 91740208 If you can’t do that, email us instead. We’ll chat at no obligation – and we’ll help. It’s what we do.

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