Substance Abuse Matters
By David H. Ebaugh, MA, LCPC, CCDC, CEAP
Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor
Any form of chemical dependency, alcohol or drug, is ultimately a terminal illness if left untreated. It is terminal because of the progressive nature of the disease: the user and the life always become worse, never better while using. However, chemical dependency IS treatable.
Chemical dependency never seems real until the person reaches that point of helplessness while using. That is, when the user is hit over the head with such a big two by four that the truths about problem use can no longer be ignored. There are, however, many stages before reaching helplessness when a person’s chemical dependency reveals signs of interference in daily life or personal responsibilities. For the accepting, these signs are early clues that help is needed.
The actual diagnosis of chemical dependence or abuse is not as important as it is to stop using and learn how to live without mind altering chemicals.
Alcohol is the most abused drug in the United States and 7% to 10% of the adult population has a problem with alcohol abuse or dependency. Another 10% of the population has a problem with drugs. These diseases know no barriers. They occur in people of all ages, all socio-economic groups, all races, both sexes and in people with all types of psychological problems. It is a disorder that has a very high potential for relapse because our brains are hard wired to remember the pleasure of use far more than the pain.
The scope of this problem is worse than most people believe. There are probably 10 to 15 million alcoholics and another 10 to 15 million drug abusers in the United States. Chemical dependency and abuse are listed among the first three of our nation’s health problems, being ranked up there with heart disease and cancer. There are over 25 thousand highway deaths each year and over two million personal injuries, many permanently, from chemical dependency related accidents. Only 3% or 4% of all alcoholics live in the gutter, the almost hopeless ones found on skid row. All the others are family members or ordinary people living respectable lives alone, just battling the disease that only ever gets worse.
Some forms of chemical use are a crime, but chemical dependency does not have to be viewed as a sin. It is not a moral weakness of the will. Chemical dependency is not the same in all cases and it is not an illness that responds to only one kind of treatment.
Recovery begins by asking for help. Recovery requires that people work hard to understand their addiction and make significant behavioral changes toward sobriety.
Here at NEW PERSPECTIVES you can find hope. We offer outpatient substance abuse evaluations and treatment services which are designed to fit individual needs, DWI evaluations for court, and individual therapy where we can get to the bottom of what drives the addiction. We also offer individualized treatment plans designed to free ourselves from self destructive compulsive behaviors. That is, when we let go of the old way of existing, we are empowered to take charge of our lives in healthy, humane and responsible ways. A new sense of joy and peace follows.
Over the last 20 years David has helped many substance abusers, one person at a time. Give yourself or someone you love the opportunity to receive treatment and extend life by 10 or 12 years too.