What does domestic violence and drug abuse have in common?

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I have always contemplated the reason street identifications for narcotics are names such as Molly, Mary Jane, White Lady, Cid and other human names. This way of classifying drugs is a bit ironic; drugs are like a person in your life. To be more specific, a significant other. Significant others have a relationship with a cohesive bond that people may think they understand, but there is ambiguity from an outsider’s point of view (e.g. family and friends). In other words, no individual completely understands the bond except the two that are in the relationship. To be even more specific, drugs are like a relationship that is contaminated by domestic violence. As with domestic violence, if someone who is not directly involved in the relationship tries to claim they can comprehend the unhealthy partnership, they will feel the wrath from the submissive partner. The submissive partner will typically claim that you simply do not understand. There are dangerously dominant and submissive roles played in these relationships. In a hypothetical scenario, your significant other is the dominant component of your relationship and has such a constricting hold of your collar that you are suffocating.

The significant other has authority and control, and dominates you in your daily routine. This relationship is as any other domestically violent human engagement: You never get into a relationship saying “This man or woman will degrade me, bring me down, and eventually beat me to a bloody pulp.” You never thought your true love could hinder or end your life; rather, you thought it enhanced your life. As time proceeds, you start to realize you depend on this person until they are the only reason why you are living. You cannot sleep, eat, or participate in any sense of happiness unless this partner is satisfied. Parents, friends, loved ones, and family plead for you to break up with this person, and at first you ignore them. Your loved ones perceive this situation from an outside point of view; they clearly see what has blindfolded you. They continually ask why you are with this person. You start realizing where their point of view is spawning from, but as soon as you see the light, the dominant abuser persuades you that they simply do not understand. The abuser convinces you it is a unique relationship that you two can handle. You fall into this deceiving individual’s trap. You comply with bogus information that fills your mind. This is because you have become dependent, and anything that proves your abuser’s logic wrong you try to falsify. You begin making excuses to justify the wrongdoings. This abuse is progressively getting worse, and your life now revolves around the hardship the abuser inflicts on you.

One night, you realize the abuser almost had you in serious trouble, got you arrested, or even nearly killed you. You decide the next morning this is it; you are content with leaving this endangering nuisance in your life. Your brain is now seeing reality, and you are clearly grasping the situation placed before you. You slam the door until it nearly bursts off the hinges, but once you open the door to the heavenly light, the abuser grasps your arm and drags you back to rock bottom. Your friends and family tell you this person will kill you next time. You mentally respond, “Yeah…but I promise this was a one-time thing.” You tell yourself this time you are taking control, proceeding to make justifications from any angle applicable. You lie to yourself in such a convincing way it somehow disguises the lie as an obvious truth. You are entering a vicious cycle that will soon be impossible to escape.

For the time being, the abuser has apologized, and it seems to be better. As time continues, things are great between you and the abuser. That is, until one day the abuser commits a minor act of abuse — but it was only one hit; you can handle that. “Oh, it was just a slip-up; Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?” The excuses continue, but you see them as logic and reason — not as excuses. Next time, the abuser strikes a little harder; the abuser beats you to the point that you cannot comprehend what happened. Although you swore to yourself this would never happen again, you rationalize the situation by convincing yourself that this time was different. The abuser was stressed financially, or with family, or with work, so this time it is “understandable.” You continue to make excuses until you relapse to square one. This is the point at which you can consider yourself entering the brutal and vicious cycle of domestic violence.

You may be thinking to yourself, I thought this guy was about drugs and recovery, not domestic violence. You are correct; the passage above is a metaphor. Read the entire section again and substitute “person” or “abuser” with the word drug(s) and the story would be identical. Refer back to my question, “Why do we nickname drugs after human like names and characteristics?” The ironic answer: with the power they have over addicts, they might as well be human. They will bring you down for years, ruin your life, deceive you until you do not possess a skin cell in contact with reality, but even though you consciously know this you cannot leave. You make desperate attempts, deceive loved ones, and even endanger yourself. Your life now revolves around the drug (the metaphorical “abuser”); the drug is top priority. If you have encountered any domestic violence in your life, you can probably spot the similarities to drug abuse. You will inform everyone that everything is fine, that the drug is not hurting you and you have the situation under control. You will start making excuses like “I control my fate,” “It is my life, back off,” “I do not have an addictive personality,” and, the most common, “No way that situation will happen to me.” You can sit in the dark corner of your room pondering where things went wrong, who there is to blame, yet turn your head and ignore the catastrophe at hand and continue to place your affection with the drug. How did a normal human being with such an average or exceptionally promising life get to this point, and how do you overcome it?

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