The Basement Guide on Alcohol and Drugs
At The Basement Recovery Project, we do not carry out research, we do not invent programmes to meet government guidelines nor do we preach certain methods of recovery. What we do do, is talk about our own experiences, what worked for us and what may work for you. What we can tell you is, people suffering from Drug and Alcohol abuse are most likely suffering from Addiction – otherwise, why not just stop? This addiction can be treated under the same umbrella – one addict learning from another addict in recovery, though there are differences in tackling the physical dependence.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is an illness which affects approximately one in ten people. It centres in the mind and affects the physical body. Whilst the most obvious aspect of addiction is the harmful usage of the drug of choice – alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, ‘legal highs’ and other prescription medication etc – it is the underlying thinking which needs the most intensive treatment to break the cycle of addiction.
People who are addicted cannot control their need for alcohol or other drugs, even in the face of negative health, social or legal consequences. The thought of stopping drinking or using drugs can be terrifying to people who depend on them. People ask us: ‘what will I do if I can’t take drugs or have another drink?’ At The Basement Recovery Project, we help people to manage their fears by introducing them to our recovery programmes, which provide a genuine alternative to using mood-altering drugs. Addicts can be extremely sensitive people – it is this emotional sensitivity which needs to be managed in order to maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol in the medium to long term.
One of the most powerful factors about coming to get help for addiction is that you are not alone anymore, you’re not the only one. Many addicts try to hide their illness from families, friends and colleagues for years, fearing what will happen if people find out. This can lead to emotional and sometimes physical isolation from people, which is soul-destroying.
Many people can enjoy a social drink and there is nothing wrong with a few glasses if you are not experiencing any negative consequences. When family relationships start to suffer however, or you are missing time off work because of alcohol, or your health is suffering, or you don’t feel that you can’t cope with social situations without a drink – you may have developed an unhealthy dependence upon alcohol, which if left untreated, is most likely to get worse.
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted, but for many, what starts as casual use leads to drug addiction. The mental aspect of addiction is the obsessive and compulsive thinking surrounding drug usage. Even when the individual is not actually using drugs, they can have overwhelming cravings to do so. This is what compels the addicted person to get drugs, often putting themselves (and others) at risk in the process. This thinking manifests itself as a kind of tunnel vision – blocking out, or at the very least overriding, any rational thoughts of why they should not use. Even in the face of extreme negative consequences, it is this obsessional thinking which drives the addict to continue their quest for more drugs.