Addiction Isn’t All About Using

July 12th, 2017 | By ACambassador | Posted in Blog

Kristi Wesbrooks Tinin-Hodge is a guest blogger for Addiction Campuses.

Addiction Isn’t All About Using

With my son’s addiction, I have learned a lot. One thing that has stood out to me the most in his particular case, and I’m sure there are many others like this, is that his addiction didn’t start with drug abuse.

Yes. You read that sentence correctly. No.  I am not naïve or ignorant.

One day while I was at work, I found out my teenage son was smoking pot. Honestly, I don’t remember how I found out.  All I can really say about that is I wish I could go back to when that was the worst thing he was doing. Believe me, I know how that sounds, but I’m trying to be honest.

My son’s addiction didn’t start with drug abuse.

Both my husband and I left work; we went and picked my son up from his job, and drove an hour to where his dad lived. There, with his dad and his dad’s girlfriend, we addressed the pot smoking with him. We all took turns talking to him about where drugs lead and how drug abuse gets started. His father, my ex-husband, is a recovering (I pray) addict. We spoke very candidly with him, especially his dad, telling him about the effects doing drugs can have on your life and how it impairs your decision making. It seemed to be working, and things got a little better – or so I thought. He was a smart kid, and he knew first hand what drugs did to people. He was just experimenting I told myself.  

No, my 17-year-old wasn’t using drugs. He was selling them – and, I’m not talking about pot. I’m talking about cocaine and meth, and God knows what else. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, my head knew for a while, but my heart didn’t catch up quite so quickly. During this time, I realized that drug addiction does not just mean substance abuse.  The danger. The thrill. The secrecy. For some, that’s where they start out getting their rush.  That first high doesn’t always come from a pipe, or a bottle, or a needle or a pill….  Because of our experience with my ex-husband and his drug addiction, I was all too familiar with all of those things.  I knew the danger my son was in. I knew the people he was “dealing” with. This knowledge sent me into a panicking spiral.  After all we had been through, how could he turn to this lifestyle?  How? Why? Where did I go wrong?  What could I have done differently?  Yes, those are all off topic, but as I write this, these questions still come to my mind.  

“That first high doesn’t always come from a pipe, or a bottle, or a needle or a pill.”

During this time, I realized that drug addiction does not just mean substance abuse.  The danger. The thrill. The secrecy. For some, that’s where they start out getting their rush.  That first high doesn’t always come from a pipe, or a bottle, or a needle or a pill…  Because of our experience with my ex-husband and his drug addiction, I was all too familiar with all of those things.  I knew the danger my son was in. I knew the people he was “dealing” with. This knowledge sent me into a panicking spiral. After all we had been through, how could he turn to this lifestyle?  How? Why? Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? Yes, those are all off topic, but as I write this, these questions still come to my mind.  

Let me preempt these next sentences with I know my son became addicted because he made choices; however, the choices he started out making have me wondering how many people who succumb to addiction actually are enticed in by the lifestyle first?  How can anyone succumb to that lifestyle, you ask? Unfortunately, it is all too easy.  

Addicted people are like nothing I’ve ever seen or read about.

Those first highs and rushes for some who fall to addiction know no boundaries. They fall into what they believe to be a network of extended family who doesn’t judge and welcome them with open arms. People who keep their secrets. Addicted people are like nothing I’ve ever seen or read about. They will defend each other and offer protection; and then, turn on you in a flash. Still, they flock together and draw into each other because they have alienated so many of their friends and family who do not live in that world. They find comfort with those who are suffering or living in the same way they are. It’s a bitter truth as a mother to know that the child you gave life to trusts someone who is literally stealing from others you know more than he trusts you.  

In my son’s case, he did turn to using also. His addiction has went up and down and back and forth; and, honestly, I can’t say where he is with it now. I talk to him a lot, but it is mainly just so I know he is alive. I don’t ask a lot of questions. I’m afraid he will give me answers I don’t want to hear. I am real with him, but do not let this disease run our topics of conversation.  In the last couple of months, he has stopped asking me for anything – aside from a Sonic gift card for chili cheese fries every now and again; and he is coming back around his real family more and more. He looks good. He’s eating. He’s living a bachelor lifestyle. I pray that he’s on the path to being completely sober. Still, I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I know this post seems like I am rambling quite a bit.  I am.  My emotions have been all over the place these last couple of weeks.  It is difficult to comprehend why I’m struggling that he may actually be in a good place.  I haven’t been to this part of this disease before.  I don’t know how to handle it.  So, I will continue to trust God, take my Prozac, talk to others, and attempt to bring awareness that addiction isn’t all about using.   

 

About Kristi:

“The most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.” ~ Wisdom Quotes

Kristi Wesbrooks Tinin-Hodge.  Like my name, my life is complicated…. I’m a 40-something-year-old mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend who has had personal experience in loving someone and dealing with addicts and their addiction.  Currently, my struggle is learning to cope with my 19-year-old son’s battle with addiction. Through God, family, friends, counseling, Prozac, and humor, I will find a way to survive.  

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