The negative physical side-effects of prolonged substance abuse are well documented. As a harsh reminder, abusers can create permanent organ damage, suffer from memory loss, put stress on the heart, lose hair and teeth and experience breathing problems. All of that comes from chasing a high.
You might feel as though you can weather those physical side-effects, but what about the harm that your addiction causes to others in your life?
On many levels, getting high can be a self-focused act. It is all about instant gratification. Perhaps it is time to stop and consider the impact your addiction has on the people who genuinely care about you.
Although your habit might have started out as some “weekend fun,” it’s a safe bet it is going to start showing up around work. You’ll probably be calling in sick or coming to work later a lot more often.
Once you make it into work, you’re going to have a hard time focusing or will be extremely fatigued.
Depending on the job, that could put your co-workers in harm’s way. At the very least, they will be forced to pick up the slack for your lack of productivity. That means they’re working longer and being kept from their families just to cover for you.
You may have developed a new circle of friends to get high with. Guess what? They’re not your friends. The minute the drugs are gone, they will be, too. Your real friends will be worried about you. They’ll try to find out why you keep avoiding them.
Eventually, you’ll start making up excuses they’ll recognize as lies. You might even begin stealing from them to support your habit. Now you’ve broken the trust of those few people who always had your back.
At some point, they might just give up because it is simply too painful to watch you destroy your life.
You might be able to hide from your work and friends but it will be extremely difficult to hide from the people who probably know you best: your own family. Your addiction is going to cause a lot of strife with your parents and siblings. They’ll watch as you slowly destroy all the good things in your life, and they’ll be helpless to stop the destruction.
You’re going to cause a lot of anguish and embarrassment for your family. They could even be forced into financial hardship as they are forced to bail you out of jail or pay for ongoing treatment. After all, you’ll probably lose your job to addiction, too, and that means your family will have to support you to keep you from living on the street.
Yes, it can quickly get that bad.
Your Significant Other
You’ll also be breaking the trust of the person you hold dearest. Whether it is a spouse, a life partner or just someone you’ve shared your heart with, they won’t be able to stand the pain you’re putting yourself through.
You will force them to make the hardest decision in their life: whether to stay with you or give up on trying to help. Do you really want to put that special someone through all that?
The worst-case scenario with your drug addiction is its life-altering impact on your children. If a pregnant woman, you are putting your unborn child at extreme risk every time you expose them to drugs or alcohol.
What kind of risk? Visit any neo-natal ward in a hospital to see the premature babies affected by their mother’s decision to keep using harmful substances.
Children of any age will also be devastated by your continual substance abuse. Perhaps they’ll be forced to learn how to take care of themselves because you’re always hung over or too high to make dinner.
They certainly won’t be able to invite any friends over. You’ll also force them to cover for you. As they get older and are offered drugs by a peer group, how likely is it that they’ll start using?1 Consider their role model. Is this really the kind of legacy you want for your children?
If the preceding post felt like a “punch to the gut,” then it might be what you need to hear. Before you start going down the path of substance abuse, consider all those around you.
It’s not too late to turn away from that path and get the help you need. All those folks mentioned above? They can’t wait to help you with your recovery. Give them and yourself a chance.
|↑1||Know Your Child’s Risk Level for Developing a Substance Abuse Problem, Partnership For Drug-Free Kids|