If you or a family member is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction it is important to know that there is hope. Hope lies in the ability to do the next right thing. In most cases there is an inability to know what the next right things is. The disease of addiction hits the suffering addict and their families hard, like a ton of bricks. When your only focus is to use drugs or alcohol, when you need just one more fix to feel sane, clarity is hard to come by. This continued cycle is perpetuated by repeating the behaviors needed to survive the everyday battles of addiction, and in an essence, doing the next wrong thing.
With each struggle, an addict is essentially digging themselves deeper into a hole of despair, until eventually, they “hit a bottom”. Think about for a second what an addict may say to themselves if they could logically articulate their current lifestyle. I continue to exhibit extremely risky behaviors just so I can feel right, or maybe get high. My obsession over this substance is so powerful that it causes me to do things never imagined. I continue to push my body to its limits just so I can experience that initial euphoria. I continue to make poor decisions that affect myself and my family. I lie, cheat, steal, subject myself to physical harm. I put myself in positions that can consequence in legal ramifications. I do these things because I just don’t care anymore and my only function, my only purpose, is to use drugs.
So yes, having the ability or clarity to do the next right thing, can not only be hard, but impossible. So the addict continues to be stuck in the pattern of doing the next wrong thing. The disease of addiction is a disease of rationalization and justification which is so controlling, that it’s very nature, is to enable chaos. It is rare with an addicted person where the fog can be cleared and they can make this realization themselves. Many times, it will take the next wrong thing to present the opportunity or the choice to do the next right thing. Maybe it’s an arrest, maybe it’s burning that last bridge, blacking out and being abused, or maybe an accidental overdose leading to the emergency room. As sad as this sounds, we can only hope these things happen if the addict loses the ability to see it themselves.
Unfortunately, in the patterns of doing the next wrong thing, a way of life can be established that supports the constant struggle. Survival skills can be obtained, resources can be gained and utilized, negative opportunities can arise in which the addict can thrive, just by gaining the experiences of the lifestyle. Confronting an addict early in their disease can be a vital key. This power can exist when the family decides to put their foot down, or raise the addict’s bottom. Yes, addiction treatment starts with raising the bottom! Cutting their loved one off completely. Forcing them to live on the street, stop giving them food or helping them financially, or even arranging an intervention. Maybe the family can take legal action, file a Marchman Act, and or even reporting a crime their love one committed to the authorities.
These are all consequences of the addict continuing to do the next wrong thing. These are consequence of the toll it can take on their family. The only hope is that these consequences can produce a glimmer of light through what appears to be an endless darkness. Produce a tool or an opportunity for the suffering to do the next right thing. And this is where the hope lies.
When that ability, clarity, and opportunity presents itself to do the next right thing wonderful things can happen or at the very least seeds get planted. One stay in treatment may not defeat this disease, in fact some return to treatment multiple times. We all know the saying, Rome was not built in a day. The addiction was not built in one day, the pain was not built in one day, and the consequences not built in one day. It took time for the patterns of this disorder to resonate, sink its teeth into the suffering addict, and a continued seduction into darkness. Just as it took time to build the addict, it will take time for the addict to learn to live a life of recovery, needing to take this new, difficult, and scary road without the thing that helped comfort them the most, their drug of choice.
The recovering addict will start to reap some of those benefits immediately. But the challenge remains where obsession of the mind still resonates. Once the drugs clear the system and the body and brain begin to heal, Post-Acute Withdrawals Symptoms can occur; cravings, chills, sweats, dreams about using, can continue to plague the recovering addict for some time. People, places, and things can trigger feelings of wanting to go back out and use a drug again, even if it’s just for “one last time”. Or maybe there is a reservation about actually being an addict. Many addicts early in recovery feel they can use recreationally again. Sometimes it’s a justification to use another substance that was not their drug of choice, just to take the edge off when dealing with a stressful feelings or situation. Battling all of this has proven time and time again to be an incredible challenge for the recovering addict.
But again, there is hope, and in the ability to make the next right decision, the recovering addict will learn about things that can help overcome these obstacles. Medications can not only improve mood and feelings, they can also help with physical symptoms. Therapy will address the issues which led clients to drugs in the first place and also give them tool to help prevent relapses. 12-step fellowship, home group meeting, and obtaining a sponsor all go a long way in helping the recovering addict maintain long-term sobriety by helping them to take a good, hard, honest look at their lives, and making the changes necessary not only to be, but to thrive.
With each stay in recovery, the opportunity to do the next right thing presents itself many times over. This road to recovery will take time as the recovering addict may experience some failures. It is important for families and addicts to understand this. This is not to mean we should continue to enable an addict because it part of the process. Each, relapse comes with their own set of consequences. However, it is meant to better understand that the road of recovery is not easy one, but one full of hope, challenges, self-discovery, all predicated on the ability to do the next right thing. If you are a family are struggling with addiction, the next right thing, which can lead to the next right thing, and fulfilling life of recovery can be a simple phone call away.
Addiction Treatment Network provides interventions, evaluations, and case management for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. We can help guide you or your loved ones towards a path of recovery, offer information on filing the Marchman Act, and help get you into an appropriate detox or rehab treatment center in South Florida. Call us at 1-800-601-0759 or www.AddictionTreatmentNetwork.com