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Jun 162013

What if the offender in your family has a drug and/or alcohol problem? Do you believe that is the primary  cause of the offensive behavior? That if they would just stop using they would magically become loving and kind?

It is a fact that some people have a genetic tendency to become addicted to substances that distort their ability to make good decisions, and when they are addicted, they will put that substance above everything including their family or loved ones.

Though medicine recognizes the genetic tendency for addictions, and actually rates it as a “disease,” does that mean that the person is helpless in the face of the addiction, or that we should let them skate on the consequences for the things they do either while on drugs/alcohol, or things they do to obtain their substance of choice?

If a person is drunk and chooses to drive, it is against the law and the person will be arrested. If they drink and drive and someone dies, they will be charged with a crime, maybe manslaughter. So the law itself does not recognize “being drunk or high“ as an excuse for what the person has done as a result of their addiction.

I recently read a blog post written by the actor Michael Douglas’ son, Cameron Douglas, who is in prison for dealing drugs and recently got a longer sentence for using drugs behind bars. In my opinion  it is obvious that Cameron doesn’t learn from his mistakes or have any desire to quit drugs, only to whine about the “unjust sentence” he received and to lay the blame off on the laws he broke and his “disease.” He says he “made mistakes” yet they were not “mistakes” but choices. He says he is aware of his faults, but his little speech about responsibility for what he did sounds hollow to me, and sounds like he is blame placing, not accepting responsibility.

Read the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cameron-douglas/words-behind-walls_b_3421617.html?utm_hp_ref=crime

While a person may have the genetic tendency to become more easily addicted to alcohol or drugs than someone else, giving in to that substance abuse is under the control of the person who chooses to give in and use even after they have seen that they will or could be arrested.

Cameron’s claim that those “half a million people” like him are unjustly incarcerated because of these hateful drug laws because addiction is a disease, is, in my opinion a complete cop out and an attempt to put the blame for his behavior on someone or something else, not on himself, because remember? He has a disease and he is helpless against it.

Cameron has had the best “rehabilitation” that his daddy’s money could buy, so if rehabilitation is so successful, why is he still using and using and using? If we wipe all the drug laws off the books and every drug abuser or alcoholic was placed in rehabilitation by force, I’m sorry to say that I think the success rate would be rather dismal. There are AA meetings in about every town in the US for those who want to seek them for learning the skills to stay sober, and NA meetings as well. Again, for those who WANT to quit drinking or drugging. It has been my experience that forced rehab is not very successful and the graduates are usually back on their substance of choice in a short time.

The old saying of “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” I think applies here “You can force a person into rehabilitation but you can not make him rehabilitate unless he WANTS to.”

Many people live in a home where there is a drug/alcohol abuser and tolerate this behavior for decades if not for their entire lives. That kind of a home life is not good for the children raised in the home and they eventually  troubled as a result of the bad behavior on the one part and the enabling on the part of the sober parent. The children learn poor coping skills and are themselves emotionally or physically abused, or both.

We as parents of, spouses of, and friends of,  substance abusers need to take a stand and learn to set boundaries. We do not have to be treated poorly or abused by these individuals, they must be told “If you want a relationship with me, then the ‘substance’ must go,” and be willing to stand by that boundary, for ourselves, and for the offender as well, and especially for any children. If the offender values the relationship they have with you, then they will make a real effort to stop and stay stopped. There are plenty of resources available for those who want to change.

You can lead a horse to water, but if he doesn’t want to drink, you can’t make him no matter how much you  want him to. He can choose to stand there and starve to death if he so chooses, but you are not the one who decides if he is going to drink, you can only decide just what you are willing to tolerate.


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  4 Responses to “Offenders who are substance abusers When to draw the line

  1. I found an interesting article today in PsychiatricTimes about addictions, treatments that may help addicts of all kinds, but the article also underscores the fact the “relapse is the rule.”

    It is generally understood that among patients with addiction disorders, relapse is the rule rather than the exception. Drug dependence appears to be related to dysregulation of the reward system and withdrawal-related activation of the stress system. Stress hormones (eg, corticosterone, prolactin) increase in response to withdrawal from psychoactive drugs, increasing the aversive quality of the experience.

    See more at: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/addiction-research-and-treatment/page/0/2?GUID=586BF05F-2366-46C5-BD82-5741B4A45D89&rememberme=1&ts=18062013#sthash.wAExmkTj.dpuf

    in deciding whether or not to continue a relationship with an offender post release, drug or behavior addictions such as gambling should be thoroughly considered. The truth is that there is always a good chance for relapse, no matter how long they have been sober or drug free. I smoked for most of my adult life, nicotine is my drug of choice, and I quit cold turkey in 2009 and I am just as much a nicotine addict today I was then, but I made up my mind, I would back to a pack a day in no time. But I know the damage smoking does to me, and as a health care professional I still continued to though my family begged me to quit I continued. So I have some idea of what it is like to give up your drug of choice

  2. Joyce,,,,,,Lundy Bancroft speaks about abusers who are addicts in “Why Does He Do That”.
    He said that most often when the substance problem is removed, they get worse. It’s been a while since I read the book so I’m not sure I’ve got that worded right but, you get the general picture.
    Primary…..in a relationship, my relationshit, that had to be addressed first and foremost and he did absolutely NOTHING on his own to address it except give it lip service.
    I really hope you can watch the video I spoke of on the other thread(?). I know you will enjoy it. If you need the link, email me and I will find it for you!

  3. What the heck…..here it is!

    The guy is a little annoying but it’s interesting.

  4. Dotty, unfortunately I am unable to view videos as I have limited gigs on my internet server. I know that addictions can be beaten if the person truly wants to, and you are right some abusers are worse when they sober i[/ AA calls them “dry drunks” and essentially what they are are psychopaths who were also drunks so when they get sober the lack of conscience and empathy and the desire for control is still there. I’ve known a few of these characters and they are to be avoided.

    I also smoked when I was preg with my sons, but neither of them smoke which I think is odd. A lot of new research is coming out showing that mothers who smoke have more children who are violent than those who didn’t smoke. Ditto with drugs and drinking.

    Congratulations on your sobriety. Keep working on that because your life will be better sober. Even though my drug of choice is nicotine, I do know that I still crave smoking.

    It isn’t easy I know, but it can be done….one day at a time.

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