Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional & have no educated background in chemical dependency. The following is a personal account and should be taken as such.
This is the 1st post in this series
Recently, my close friends and I had to go through a very emotional journey to save one of our own. A friend, we will call Jeffrey for the extent of the conversation that had an alcohol problem. Jeff was an alcoholic and was spiraling out of control.
For me, I was at my wit’s end. I had never dealt extensively with an alcoholic. Which means I had no clue how to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly of alcoholism. Over the course of our friendship, I watched Jeff lose jobs due to his alcohol dependency, intimate relationships, family and even friends.
A topic that is commonly talked about in movies, books, and the media doesn’t mean that it’s understood by everyone. Over the next few weeks, I want to invite you all on the journey with me as I learn how to be a better friend for chemical dependency. During this time, I hope to reflect on the high and low points of our journey. The ah-ha moments, and the embarrassing moments.
Please know, that if you are dependent on alcohol or any other form of a chemical such as narcotics you are not alone and there is always help for you. And if you are the family member, loved one, caregiver, or friend; please know you are not alone either and you don’t have to battle their addiction by yourself.
To sum up chemical dependency it is a primary and/or chronic disease with genetic/psychological/ environmental factors influencing its development in a person. This dependency is a disease and usually is progressive and fatal.
A person can recover from chemical dependency; but requires abstinence from the alcohol/drugs/etc; as well as a commitment to work towards better health physically/mentally/emotionally/ spiritually.
- Gulping drinks
- Not premeditating use
- Using regardless of the time of day (morning, noon, night)
- Behavioral changes
- Personality changes
- Use trumps values/morals
- Use to aid sleep/anxiety/tension
- Blackout, without memory of an event
- Hiding/denying substances
- Weight loss
- Using alone
- Higher tolerance
- Tremors in the morning
- Change in a social group
- Performance deterioration at work
- Loss of interest
- Drastic mood swings
- Sleeping for long periods of time, or very little time
- Intense focus and then switches to refocus on present surroundings
- Continuing to use regardless of consequences
- Legal problems
If you have an alcohol dependency issue, please reach out for help. This disease does not only affect you but your loved ones and even complete strangers who pass by you.
If you are the loved one or caregiver of an alcohol-dependent person, there is help out there for you as well. You are not alone, and never will be.
A special thank you to the staff at Powell Chemical Dependency Center at Lutheran Medical Center in Des Moines, IA for helping all of us on this journey
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