Drugs and Alcohol, and Why We Like Them

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

For some of us, when we first start experimenting with drugs and alcohol a light bulb turns on. It’s like we found the thing we had been looking for our whole lives; the thing that is going to make us feel OK. We think, “Now I have something that can help me deal with almost anything!”

  • Hard day at work? Have a few beers.

  • Got in a fight with your partner? Get stoned.

  • Feeling sad, stressed, happy, anxious, angry, tired, etc.? Pop some pills.

You get the point here.

Plain and simple: drugs and alcohol work; they do the job (until they don’t). That’s why many of us use them, and also why it’s so damn hard to stop once addiction sets in.

What causes addiction?

There are numerous theories out there (some old, some new) aimed at explaining why people use drugs and alcohol. More, our friends, relatives, co-workers, recovery groups, doctors and society at large all have different, and most often, competing ideas about drugs and alcohol and people who use them. Unfortunately, many of these thoughts and ideas reinforce negative stereotypes such as “all addicts are bad people,” for example. Others attempt to look at the issue more philosophically. For instance, one prominent depth psychologist named Luigi Zoja suggests that “widespread drug addiction reflects an unconscious search for what is missing” (Fetting, 2012, p.20).

As we have all experienced, those who are particularly closest to us often have the strongest ideas and opinions about what we should do in regards to pursuing recovery. This can make getting clean even more frustrating and difficult (Fetting, 2012). Frequently, we end up feeling alone and confused about what to do next.

This fact alone: that people—for many, many years—have been attempting to understand and figure out “the why” as it relates to drugs and alcohol should give us pause, as it’s suggestive of the reality that understanding addiction, suffering from addiction, and attempts at treating addiction are not unidimensional. In other words, why one person uses drugs, and what helps them stop using drugs for that matter, varies greatly from person to person.

This why I have never been in favor of one-size-fits-all approaches, especially as they relate to addiction treatment. While such standardized attempts at addiction treatment can be helpful for some, it can be the exact opposite for others, doing more harm than good. How? You might ask. Well, when people are sold that a particular “group” and/or “treatment method” is the surefire way to get sober and finally end what is often a long battle ripe with intense suffering, if that group or treatment method doesn’t work or simply doesn’t “click” with a person, more often than not they are left feeling like nothing will work for them; that they’ve tried it all and failed it all.

The reality is that what works for one person is not guaranteed to work for another.

It might be helpful for you to reflect for a moment or two on what you have been told about drugs and alcohol, and more, what you’ve been told about what it takes to get sober. Maybe you’ve tried countless times before, but ended up returning to use. Maybe you’re not sure you want to quit, but know that they way you are currently using drugs and alcohol is not sustainable.

Whatever the case may be, if you’re looking for a safe place to explore issues relating to drugs and alcohol, you don't have to go it alone. Contact us today today to get started.

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