Christy and Bonnie are a mother and daughter whose relationship has been strained through addiction. They are coming back together again after being estranged for years, and they are working on sobriety with each other for support. Life throws a myriad of obstacles in their way, but they are each learning how to care for themselves. They have to go back into their past and confront some demons… Christy’s father abandoned them when she was a baby… Bonnie sold drugs and effectively abandoned Christy as well… they both experienced poverty and abuse. Bonnie and Christy also both are taking responsibility and learning how to forgive others and themselves. They are working on their current health and their current relationships. They are also looking to the future, breaking the generational cycle of addiction. Of course, Christy and Bonnie are the beloved characters from the hit show Mom, but the ups and downs of addiction, treatment, and recovery are very real.
“Since beginning my work in areas like addiction, for example, I have seen time and time again that the roots of poor mental health in adulthood are almost always present in unresolved childhood challenges.” —Kate Middleton
Whether you are a fan of the show Mom or not, you can probably relate to the storyline, either as someone who has struggled with addiction or as someone who loves an addict. Addiction is a widespread disease that has inflicted as many as 21 million people in the US. It is a disease that can be found among the rich and the poor, among both men and women, among the old and the young, and within every religion, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.
What Is Addiction?
The outward form of addiction can look very different in each person. It may appear as a substance that people abuse, like alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine, food, marijuana and more. It may look like a behavior that is compulsive, like gambling, video games, shopping, pornography and more. The outward form may vary, but what addiction does inside of an individual is always the same. Addiction alters the way people’s brains function.
In real life, those change to the brain look like…
- Moodiness: Addiction often means that irritability, annoyance, and anger are close to the surface. They may flare when an addict cannot get a fix. They may surface because the addict has difficulty with emotional regulation. Moodiness that is regular and uncontrollable is often a sign of addiction.
- Cravings: The addiction takes over people’s lives. Their whole world becomes about the addiction, and addicts often report cravings. They may lust after or dream about the addiction. Cravings become demands, and people often act recklessly to fulfill their cravings.
- Lost Control: People who have an addiction often want to quit, especially when they are not actively engaging in the addiction. Often, they are tried to quit the addiction or at least curb it, but addiction takes control of a person’s life. These attempts to quit, especially when attempted alone, often fail.
- Escalation: The addiction always demands more. It takes more of a substance to feel the same effects. An activity takes more time to deliver satisfaction. Addiction does not remain stable—it escalates.
- Deceit: When there is an addiction, there will also be deceit. The lying may be to keep the addiction a secret. It may be to deflect responsibility or avoid consequences. It may be to minimize the reality of what is happening. Whatever the form the deceit may take, it will be present.
Lies of Addiction
Some of the most devastating effects of addiction are the falsehoods and lies it whispers to those it afflicts and to their loved ones. An important aspect of healing is to recognize these lies and replace them with the truth. Here are just a few…
Lie #1: People Who Have an Addiction Are Weak.
The truth is that addiction strikes indiscriminately. In fact, many of the risk factors are completely out of people’s control, things like childhood trauma and genetic makeup.
Lie #2: People Choose to Be Addicted.
This lie is powerful because if people choose to be addicted, then they can surely just choose to stop. Right? Wrong. It is possible to heal from addiction, but it takes rewiring the brain. People can choose to pursue recovery and treatment, but it is not as simple as having more willpower.
Lie #3: Addiction Is Uncommon.
Addiction wants people to think that they are alone while they are fighting the illness, but the truth is that many people are fighting as well and many more know what it looks like to beat addiction. Help, support, empathy, accountability, and care are available.
Addiction Treatment at Thriveworks Long Beach
If you recognized some of the signs, symptoms, or lies of addiction, it may be time to reach out for help, and help is available. There are many treatment options for those who are fighting an addiction, and often, early intervention sets people up for a better recovery. Do not wait to hit rock bottom before you seek help. Thriveworks Long Beach has available appointments for addiction. When you contact our office, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We offer evening and weekend sessions. We also work with many insurance companies and accept many forms of insurance.
Let’s be allies in the fight against addiction. Contact Thriveworks Long Beach today.