Environmental Risk Factors.
“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” -Alexander Den Heijer
“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but human connection.”-Johann Hari https://youtu.be/PY9DcIMGxMs
When it comes to sustaining our well-being and enthusiasm for life, environmental risk factors are abundant and significant. Environmental risk factors are, of course, unavoidable, but they can be managed. Our first experiences with our family lay the foundation for integration into the community at large. Do we feel safe? Do we feel respected? Do we feel significant? Positive family relationships and attachments might not save us from addiction, but they will significantly contribute to earlier identification of problems that may be developing. For those of us with healthy family relationships most addictions can be managed. If we have non-judgemental and unconditional support, from our families and our communities, we have a very good chance of full recovery. What we can’t manage, are the long-term effects of the substances that we’re using and have inadvertently become addicted too.
Many addicts start out using drugs that are manufactured by drug companies and are ‘somewhat’ safe. I say somewhat because these drugs, taken as prescribed won’t kill you, but by triggering addiction they sadly can lead to early death and significant heath deterioration. Many addicts begin taking the drugs that set them on the road to self destruction as prescribed by their doctor for something as innocuous as dental surgery or a sports injury. Health care professionals, convinced by manufacturers of the safety and efficacy of drugs like OxyContin and Fentanyl, are often the initial suppliers. That said, I should add that a significant number of drug addicts also begin by taking drugs that have been prescribed to someone else. Just as most of us are first introduced to alcohol in our home, many of us are first introduced to mind altering drugs that we find in our family’s medicine cabinet.
I’m not saying this with any intention of laying blame, nothing could be farther from the truth. Blaming the one struggling with addiction, or those struggling to support, are both equally unhelpful and similarly destructive. There is no individual to blame only circumstances that need to be addressed. I’m hoping to emphasize the fact that getting to the cliffs edge was an innocent mistake that now requires diligent, unwavering, gentle, and absolute commitment. Addiction is a fully immersive experience that embeds itself into the very core of our being, disrupting our intuitive survival instincts and replacing them with new and totally destructive motivations. Safer drugs give way to designer drugs, club drugs, and other synthetic concoctions created by combining a few different substances to produce something more potent and therefore even more dangerous! The people creating these substances, very often addicts themselves, are self-declared experts. They aren’t evil people per se, on some level they honestly and naively believe they know what they’re doing until they kill someone!