What does winning the fight mean to you? The word “win” is a past participle verb which describes a completed victory. “Winning” is a present participle verb. That means it is currently happening. When one is “winning” the drive would be to keep fighting until the fight is “won”. But is the “fight” ever completely over?
For those involved in addiction, whether it be the addict themselves or the loved ones, the answer is no. Thankfully, it can get easier. What does the fight look like? There are different stages of addiction and that will determine “what” the family and addict is fighting.
Addiction starts with the first use and quickly progresses into continued use. The fight begins. Around this time the family will usually experience denial. This could be rejecting that drug use or drinking is occurring or recognizing the use but minimizing the problem. In essence, looking the other way. As the disease continues, the addict experiences increased tolerance of the drug or drugs. The fight to use becomes more difficult. The family may try eliminating the problem by rationalizing, making deals, or pleading with the addict. The family’s regular function will begin to diminish at this point. Different members will likely try to reorganize the structure of their home life without the addict. This could include a spouse working a second job or the oldest sibling becoming the mother figure. The addict then forms dependence of the drug of choice. This is where it can get very difficult to continue drug use but the fight to use grows stronger. The addict may experience legal trouble, loss of job, trouble in school, or loss of family as the members go through their own efforts to escape the turmoil. The last stage is deep addiction. By this point the family has likely reorganized to regain functionality without realizing adapting actually reinforces the addiction.
Once the addict and family has gone through the cycle of addiction, admitting there is a problem could come next which is the first step to recovery. The fight turns into a battle to heal wounds and stay sober. Each member involved is encouraged to seek help during the recovery period. The addict must always fight to stay healthy including mind, body and soul or relapse could occur. The National Institute of Drug Use states that 40-60% of all drug addicts will relapse and the rate is closer to 80% with heroin users. The fight to stay sober never ends but it does change. What does your fight look like? If you or a loved one is suffering from the disease of addiction your fight is not over, so do not give up hope!
Lori Youngblood is a recovering drug addict. Her mission is to help others gain knowledge about the disease of addiction.