Commonly asked questions
1. What is your definition of an addict?
An addict is someone who can choose when they start using, but not when they stop using. (something other than themselves dictates when they stop, for example, they run out of money, pass out, get arrested.)
2. After an addict realizes their problem & seeks help, is it possible to be normal again and not crave their specific addiction?
It is possible to have a normal life but once they cross the imaginary line from dependence to addiction, they can never go back to using the chemical socially again. The cravings will eventually slow down to only once in a great while but never leave them totally.
3. What is the most important thing to focus on during the stages of recovery?
Be “teachable” & honest. And to change people, places and things.
4. Is there an average amount of time you need in order to recover?
Each person is different, but the rule of thumb in the AA big book is not to make any major life decisions for a minimum of 1-2 years.
5. What are the different types of addictions? What sorts of things can a person be addicted to?
Alcohol, drugs, working, spending money, gambling, rage, anger, sex, pornography, etc. (not necessarily in this order).
6. What is your definition of codependency?
It’s the illusion that you can make yourself happy by trying to control people and events outside yourself. A sense of control or the lack of it is central to everything you do and think. Simply by being in a relationship with someone who has an addiction issue, family members are automatically Co-Dependents.
7. How can addiction change a person’s behavior?
It’s like falling in love. When you’re in love with someone you do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Example: you may stop hanging around your friends as much, talk ing on the phone more than you usually do. With addiction we make choices based on getting high, for example we might not have enough money to buy our dope so we use the rent money or we rent our car to the crack dealer who trashes it, at the very least.
8. Before seeking help with an addiction problem, what first must a person realize?
They must realize they are powerless over their addiction. They must ADMIT they have a problem that they need help for.
9. What determines if a person is codependent or not?
A co-dependent is bound and tormented by the way things were in the dysfunctional family of origin. Example: father was an alcoholic, so his daughter becomes a compulsive volunteer.
10. Would you say that, generally, codependency and addiction go hand in hand?
Yes, actually the addict needs someone to take care of them and the co-dependent needs someone to take care of. Also, the second major characteristic of addiction is codependency. Once an addict gets into recovery, then all of his codependency traits rise to the top and then those must be dealt with also.
11. Would you say addiction is a mental desire/habit or more along the lines of a disease?
When you say disease, I take it to mean ‘is addiction a physical thing?’ In that context I believe it is more mental. Example: alcohol is out of your system in 72 hours, cocaine in any form the same, pills have half-lives so it takes longer to leave your system; same with methamphetamines. Once the stimulant is gone, then it is the “stinkin thinkin” that keeps the addict going back.
12. When someone struggles with addiction, what do they usually require?
Some may require detoxification, but all will need to be sick and tired of being sick and tired, and then will need to get in a program that will help them learn to rely on a higher power rather than themselves, and to learn how to make better choices.
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