Drug Addiction is a Catastrophe for Families

Drug Addiction is a Catastrophe for Families October 22, 2015

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Imagens Evangelicas https://www.flickr.com/photos/imagensevangelicas/
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Imagens Evangelicas https://www.flickr.com/photos/imagensevangelicas/

I wish that the Synod on the Family had been able to spend more time considering ways in which the modern world destroys families, often from the inside out. If they had, drug addiction would surely have found a way onto the list.

Nothing is more insidious or difficult to address than drug addict family members. The rest of the family ends up paying a horrendous price for the love they feel for the addict, and the addict is destroyed utterly by both the addiction and the things they do as a result of the addiction.

I wonder that there is so little genuine attention given to this plague by religious thinkers. I honestly do not know why this is so.

I wrote a post for the National Catholic Register about my own struggles with a family member of mine that I love with all my heart who suffers from a life-long addiction to drugs.

Here is part of what I said:

If you doubt that drug addiction is evil, consider what it does to love.

I’ve been dealing for years with the heartbreak and disaster of a beloved niece who suffers from cocaine and meth addiction. I’ve watched and suffered as the drugs destroyed her personality, health and sanity.

It’s as if the drugs were devils who consumed her. They disassembled her personality and shredded her rationality until there was nothing but rage and violence left behind.

Drugs eat the person alive, hollow them out and leave them as clanking and unworkable faux versions of themselves. Drugs degrade addicts in horrible ways. They do things to themselves and others that scar and mutilate them spiritually and morally, as well as physically. The worst of it is that drugs turn them sociopathic. They become manipulative, dishonest, and without conscience in their dealings with the people who love them.

No one can have a practicing drug addict in their life and stay sane and happy. You can’t help them. If you try, they will pull you into their insanity and destroy you, along with themselves. The choice inevitably becomes a choice to either cut all ties with the drug addict, or be destroyed by their addiction, along with them.

That’s why I said that drug addiction is evil. It destroys life, personality, morality and sanity. But its worst crime against the people it infects is that it turns love into a weakness and a weapon.

Read the rest here.


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/drug-addiction-is-a-catastrophe-for-families/#ixzz3pJFlvmjj

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35 responses to “Drug Addiction is a Catastrophe for Families”

  1. This is so true. The legalization of pot is one of my pet peeves. It destroys the human soul. It destroys families. It is demonic. I hope we can turn these trials into pot legalization around. It will be a disaster.

  2. “It’s as if the drugs were devils who consumed her.”
    I don’t think there’s any as if about it–addiction has a spiritual component that has to be addressed.

  3. Drug addiction may seem like a modern problem, but it has been around for quite some time. One of the most common forms is the addiction to alcohol. Some folks prefer to make a distinction between alcohol addiction and addiction to other drugs, but they are more similar than they are different.

    Attempts to solve the problem by banning the substance have proven to be futile. People continued to traffic in alcohol when it was illegal. In fact, Prohibition shifted alcohol use from predominantly lower alcohol content beverages like beer and wine to higher alcohol content distilled spirits.

    I have seen the damage caused by stimulant addiction. Meth is the new crack. It is not legal, but it is highly available. Some of the people who suffer from the practice grew up taking stimulants in pill form as prescribed by a physician. Others got drawn into it as a form of recreation.

    I do not agree with the idea of shutting out addicts. I have worked with addicts and recognize their humanity. They need love more than they need discipline.

  4. Manny, I agree completely. There are some very good studies showing the permanent damage done by marijuana on the adolescent brain. Especially in boys it leads to high incidence of schizophrenia.

  5. Dealing with drug addicts in the family is really hard. They are so destructive to everyone. I’ve watched as a couple have destroyed their children and their families. I know the Franciscans of the Renewal often work with addicts and their families.
    I wish there was more we could do. In some cases I wish we still had court ordered committal. Sometimes they want to be clean afterwards.

  6. They are the Franciscans founded by Fr Benedict Groeschel. They work specifically with the poor in the worst neighborhoods and help deal with drug abuse and other problems.
    I don’t think they have residential programs. There is one other place. Let me check.

  7. Interesting. Addictions used to be very separate, alcohol or uppers or heroin, etc. it seems that in the last 30 years or so they are more mixed.
    The use of heroin really scares me. The heroin addicts I have known would sell their grandmothers for a fix.
    I think they need love, but not coddling. That is only a way to death. They kill themselves and anyone with them.

  8. I can totally understand. For her entire adult life, (she is now 48) my daughter has been abusing drugs and alcohol. My husband and I did everything we could, especially trying to protect her four children as best we could. She has had ups and downs, but always has chosen to go back to the addiction. Your description of the addict is absolutely correct. The sad thing in this case is that, as the saying goes, “children learn what they live”. Three of her children have chosen the same path. It is heartbreaking. I no longer have much of a relationship with my daughter or my three grandsons. That has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

  9. There is a shooting gallery near where I live. The people who hang out there are in much better physical and emotional condition than the men and women addicted to alcohol who live nearby. I am sure most of that is due to the age difference. After a few years, the IV injectors will catch up on the misery index.

  10. Lol, that is not what they are finding in Colorado. First, which is easier to transport and conceal, 2 6packs of beer or 6 oz of marijuana? I think that is pretty obvious and 6 oz is a LOT! So, there will be and already is more availability of marijuana in schools and everywhere, including the teachers’ lounges.
    Second, there are a lot of entrepreneurs, only the hedge funds they are raising are psychotropic. There is a lot of cash involved and a large group of viscious, murderous narcotraficantes who are getting into this business. It isn’t a clean business and this will make it worse.
    Finally, why would you encourage use of a powerful, psychotropic drug that has been genetically modified to make it stronger, by anyone? It causes dependence and psychological problems up to psychosis. Is that good to you?

  11. Weed is the devil’s drug. Wait, no, LSD cuz it causes chromosome damage. Hmm. No. Definitely Cocaine is evil. Dang it, no, Meth is the witch’s brew. No it’s heroin. No, how about prescription drugs like Mother’s Little Helper or maybe Dad’s 3 Martini lunch. No, no, it’s tobacco. Or could it be sugar?
    As a recovering alcoholic/drug addict I can assure you that there’s a
    lot of overlap in addictions of any kind – and there always has been.
    An addict/alcoholic who is in the middle to late stage of addiction will do nearly anything to get drunk or high or to avoid withdrawal symptoms. I’ve never known anyone who would sell his grandmother. I did, however, know a guy who talked about killing his grandmother so he could have her furniture, not to sell for drugs but just because he wanted her furniture. That’s a story for another day.
    In my opinion addictions are one of many ways sin manifests itself in the lives of us humans. I think the best recovery program – not to demean 12 step programs – is prayer and alms giving along with frequent confession and reception of the eucharist.
    Jesus heals the whole person.
    And I think you’re right, mostly.
    In my recovery group I once mentioned that I’m not the type who responds well to a lovey-dovey approach. My counselor reminded me that we’re not all alike and we’re not all at the same stage of recovery or development. So rather than roll my eyes like I’m prone to do, now I pray for that person and myself to be open to God’s will.

  12. While we’re at it let’s return to prohibition. That worked out really well the first time.
    I don’t endorse drug use of any kind including alcohol – yes, alcohol is a drug – but it’s not mainly the substance, it’s the person who is responsible for addiction.

  13. Mike Barber, I’m a lot older than you and was talking about talking about the drug/alcohol culture back in the ’70’s and before. Now, I know it’s a substance abuse salad.
    I worked in a couple of big city center hospitals and in some psych facilities and I have known heroin addicts who would cut out your liver and sell them for a fix.
    I tend to agree with you and your counselor. Nothing works for everybody and some things work better for some and not for others.

  14. It’s the distinction that makes all the difference in the issue. Alcohol has been within western culture for thousands of years. Prohibition cannot drive it out. But pot has not been culturally acceptable, and so it would be a big mistake to make it so. Plus, have you seen the statistics? In the last five years, when the stigma has been removed, pot has doubled in use. And it’s only legal in two states. Once the majority of states make it legal, we are talking about pot use to the level of cigarette smoking.

  15. Hi Anne,
    I was a drug addict in the 70’s. I started drinking when I was about 12, and I didn’t drink responsibly like most 12 yr. olds. From there I moved on to weed which back then was “pot”. I abused prescription drugs whenever possible, painkillers, Valium, Darvon, Quaaludes. I was regularly using acid by 15.
    I was 19 the first time I tried Meth. In my twenties I started using cocaine. I never used heroin or PCP, but then it was never offered to me, thank God. Most of the people I used with were cross addicted too.
    I have several friends who are heroin addicts. When I was in a residential treatment program there were probably as many heroin addicts as there were alcoholics. What’s really scary is that the heroin addicts were young, late teens to early twenties and from small towns. Each of them have stories about friends who’ve died.
    One of them told me that when he stole or committed other crimes while on meth or cocaine, he felt kind of guilty but with heroin he said he felt nothing, not even a twinge of guilt.
    After I had been sober for a few years a friend who was still using asked me in desperation, “How did you do it?” All I could do was shrug my shoulders and tell him you just have to keep trying, never give up.
    Frankly it’s a mystery to me. I don’t know why I was able to kick drugs and others haven’t been.

  16. Hmm, certainly does not agree with stats from Denver hospitals, or Denver PD.
    I am not afraid, I’m just realistic.
    Allowing narcotraficantes to legalize and launder more money will be great for Denver.
    I really dislike the comparison to alcohol use. People have been using alcohol for millennia, but GMO marijuana is new. Those who couldn’t handle alcohol to some degree died a long time ago. We’re just going through that with marijuana many times more concentrated from the natural occurring herb.
    If you legalize something you get more of it.
    You can believe anything you want, but it is a down hill slide and good for no one.
    Btw, tolerance encourages behavior.
    I can post a bunch of links, too, but mine are backed with facts.

  17. I don’t think legalizing drugs is the answer, but I don’t think it will rise to the level of cigarette smoking. Most people won’t start using a drug they previously hadn’t just because it’s legal. Addiction, including alcohol addiction is a complex problem.

  18. I know lots of court ordered recovered addicts. They certainly didn’t want to do it but eventually it took.
    I was a very clever addict who caused very little wreckage in other people’s lives. My family didn’t know until I told them.
    If I had been ordered by a court to residential treatment I probably would have resented it but it might have saved me a lot of misery.
    I have a friend who was court ordered to go to AA. For three years he went to every meeting drunk. Eventually it took root and he’s been sober for nearly 20 years. There’s always hope.

  19. The weed today is not the weed I bought in the 70’s for 20.00 an ounce. You’re right it is altered. It’s far more potent.
    I know the gateway drug controversy is still raging but I can tell you that
    every junkie I know started with weed. Actually they started with
    alcohol. I’m not saying every person who drinks or smokes weed will end
    up with a needle in their arm – but why risk it.

  20. I still don’t know if I’ve made it. I honestly ask God for grace just for today. If I try to think about the rest of my life – I’m 53 so I probably have a few years to go – I can easily become discouraged.
    I don’t think I can recall all the friends I’ve lost because of alcohol and drug abuse. Now that heroin use is a suburban nightmare the death toll is increasing exponentially.

  21. The marijuana for sale now is many times more potent with higher the than even a few years ago. I know what GMO means and that is exactly what’s been done. It is specifically bread to have more the. There are variations for specific treatments, but it is way stronger.
    Every culture in the whole world, east to west, north to south, even those who prohibit alcohol have distilled something. Many people did not reproduce if they were particularly sensitive. They died. You can still die from short or long term exposure, but, overall humans have developed some biological coping they do not have to the marijuana of today. As I said, humans have very little general exposure to marijuana and its derivatives over time.
    There have been overdoses leading to and causing death.

    There have been a number. I don’t want people driving under the influence and they are.

  22. And one could argue that the pot is more potent because it has become legal, and so distributors are searching out and promoting the highest quality. The free market is making this worse.

  23. I’m sorry, but saying that alcohol is acceptable because it “has been within western culture for thousands of years” is an utterly terrible excuse. Keep in mind that the Catholic Church is supposed to be a global religion, not a secret club for Westerners. By your logic you might as well say a North Korean Catholic has more right to use marijuana than an Arab Catholic has a right to drink wine.

  24. No it’s not. We tried prohibition and it didn’t work because alcohol has been in western culture forever. Let’s not add to the culture.

  25. You seem to have completely disregarded what I just said. I will reiterate what I said again: Just because alcohol has been a part of Western culture forever does not make it right according to Catholic principles. The Catholic Church is not a secret club for Westerners – it is a religion that is intended to be applied everywhere on Earth. To say that it’s wrong to take marijuana but okay to drink alcohol because it “has been in western culture forever” is putting secular Western culture above Catholic morality and is extremely ethnocentric. Both are drugs – just one more acceptable in a given portion of the world. What about other cultures where other drugs have been accepted since forever but alcohol not? By your logic it should be acceptable to have extramarital affairs in some parts of the world because in those places adultery is commonplace and uncontrollable.

  26. For your information wine which is an alcoholic beverage has been part of the liturgy since Christ’s last supper and part of Judaism before that. Yes it is ok to drink alcohol in Catholicism. No it is no ok to take drugs inCatholicism for the purposes of getting high.