Alcohol and substance abuse is a serious thing. It’s scary, unhealthy, dangerous and can break families and friendships apart! Abusing alcohol and drugs is a serious issue and can cause illness and early death. It changes who you are, how you act and your potential in life. Addiction can cause career, relationship and financial breakdown all leading to potential severe mental illness. Let’s all keep in mind that alcohol is a depressant.
Chronic alcohol abuse on top of existing mental illness is so dangerous, not to mention the physical health decay caused as well. Drugs on top of this or alone are also so damaging physically and mentally. Some may be addicted to prescribed drugs and some to illegal substances; Both are extremely dangerous and unhealthy possibly causing long term illness.
Alcohol abuse can take lives
I know from experience and life in general that alcohol claims many lives. Years of alcohol abuse has caused members of my family to develop long term illnesses such as dementia, epilepsy and brain damage. These have then sadly claimed their independence leading to poor quality of life and eventually possibly the cause of passing away.
Excessive alcohol abuse on top of anxiety and depression caused both of my brothers to attempt suicide multiple times. It has messed with their minds so much and still does. It’s a battle that is harder to fight the longer it goes on and we are all trying to pull together to get everyone ok. Both of my siblings and I have been through a lot and alcohol has been a crutch to them whereas I have turned the opposite way and focused on occupying my mind with my work, passions and things that make me happy! I work with mental health too to help people who struggle daily.
Turning to alcohol is extremely common, just as turning to smoking is. We shouldn’t judge anyone until we have walked in their shoes and tried to understand the source of them starting to drink etc. This does not mean we shouldn’t be stern. It is all about balance with alcohol and drug abusers; They need help in the form of a hand to hold, shoulder to cry on and someone who will tell them some home truths to make them realise how much potential they have. One thing which is hard not to do is give up on someone. I have felt like giving up on those who are so deep into abuse because it does feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel and it is heart breaking, but I realise that it is actually the time they need it the most. They need that push and motivation to recover and find hope.
Drug abuse and it's ability to waste a life
I have had family members addicted to both illegal substances and prescription drugs and it has completely taken away any form of quality of life they had from loss in career and educational highs, family relationships, financial stability to chronic lifelong illness which has debilitated them and put towards removing their independence and ability to fulfil things in life they once planned.
Drugs will often change a person. They will experience mental illness and almost go through a personality change, losing the qualities that made them, them. It is a devastating thing to witness and a difficult thing to overcome as the person suffering and the person witnessing. Just like those who abuse alcohol it is very hard to be around that person let alone offer help. It is a cycle that seems unlikely to end and as a family member or friend it seems impossible to offer any support making them want to turn the other way and close the door.
It seems like the easiest way, giving up on them because it hurts too much to keep watching them kill themselves and feeling like you cannot help them, but It is worth trying.
My advice for helping someone who abuses alcohol or drugs
My advice would be never feel guilty for walking away if it is destroying your own mental and physical health. You CANNOT be of help to someone if you aren’t well. You have to know what to prioritise and when to step back and take a break. Seek out professional support or even reliable forums of people who have been through the same situation.
Please remember that alcohol and drug abuse can make someone who was once kind and caring into angry and pessimistic. That person is still in there but their struggles and the abuse may leave scars that no one can see. Although it may seem they don’t want help, it is still good to be there and show them you support them from time to time. Everybody needs somebody – Yes like the song!
Finding professional support to the individual also may be in their best interests however it can be difficult if that person does not wish to get help for their addictions. All you can do is try your best without sinking yourself. Your quality of life still has to be your priority. Helping others is amazing but you must think about your own health too.
One quote I live by, as hard as it may be is “Offer love and then leave it”. Send a supportive message when you feel need be and maybe a phone call from time to time to check in on them. Talk to others who may be in contact with the person struggling and see if they have the same worries. Together you can find the right path and support but try your best to keep your health well too!
Below are a few helplines and websites I have found for you and anyone struggling to go to for guidance, help and information on alcohol and substance abuse. There are many contacts and sites globally that you can access online and through professionals. Please don’t suffer in silence.
Help for those suffering with drug addiction.
Help for those struggling with addiction and those who have a family or friend struggling.
Help for those with or exposed to alcohol abuse.
Information and help on how alcohol and drugs impact mental health
Thank you for reading. There is always a way out and I promise there is help out there. You deserve happiness and health. Please remember that.