Addiction and Recovery Specialist Seth Jaffe shares the bigger picture about opioid addiction.
I was recently a guest on The Dr. Oz Show to talk about the tsunami of opioid and heroin abuse happening in America. It was a factual account of the broad overview of this situation. However, what I didn’t get to address was the changing face of the heroin addict. In order to combat the problem, we need to start recognizing that addicts come in all shapes and sizes. An addict can be the person you least suspect.
To give you a broader picture, I’d like to discuss the plight of an addicted mom. This is the true heartache that we did not talk about on the show. When mom becomes addicted to either opioids or heroin, there is much damage done that the eye cannot see.This damage that cannot be seen is felt by the entire family and loved ones on a spiritual and emotional level. When we love someone, it is not an intellectual decision – our love is born in our hearts, not in our minds, and it is something we feel rather than think. When moms are using opiates, they can dull the heart and spiritual connection to their family by building a callus around their heart. It can take away the selflessness of love mothers naturally have toward their children. It can create a distance between spouses with lies and manipulation that mom must do in order to get her drugs. It can change her priorities from selfless acts in taking care of her family to absolute selfishness that her addiction creates. Mom starts to put the getting and using opiates ahead of her family’s needs. She grows indifferent to those things that were once so important to her. Often, by the time family and loved ones notice a change in mom’s appearance, the emotional and spiritual damage has taken root in her heart and only getting higher can take away the pain she feels about what she is doing to herself and her family. The drugs are no longer the problem – they become mom’s solution to her problem.
At this point mom has become a slave to the voice of her addiction and that voice is heard above the crying of her children and the pleading of her husband. When mom screams out in anguish, “Please, I want to stop using. I’m breaking my husband’s and my children’s hearts. Please I want to stop.” That voice loudly screams back: “I don’t care about your husband or your children—just feed me,” and like an obedient slave, the soccer mom feeds her addiction once again. Then she screams out “I’m killing myself; please I have to stop,” and the voice screams back, “I don’t care if you live or die—just feed me.” And once again mom feeds this addiction that she knows is killing her.
When the addict reaches this point of complete despair, this becomes the moment of desperation that can be the start on the long road of recovery. It is only when we reach this point of desperation and a feeling of spiritual emptiness that we become willing to do the hard work needed to climb out of this deep hole of addiction. There are thousands of rooms across this country filled with men and women waiting for this mom to walk in and ask for help so they can show her what they did to find their way out.
Addiction’s voice will tell you that recovery will never work for you. Addiction is a liar.
We as addicts do recover with the help and support of each other.