Addiction is a cunning and baffling disease. Its roots are strong, yet addicts and families may be blissfully unaware of all this until after considerable damage has been done. Its method of attack on the family and patient’s sanity and functionality is multi-pronged and multi-leveled. One way it accomplishes this is by attacking the patient’s self-esteem.
The patient and their family may not even be mindful of this change but slowly and surely patients’ paradigms, cognitions about the world at large and especially about themselves change. A few examples of internal thoughts depicting a low sense of self-worth from some of our clients are as follows:
- “I’ll never be able to let go of drugs. This is beyond me”
- “I can’t quit drugs. It’s just too hard. Maybe someone else can but not me”
- “If I need help, it automatically means i lack something”
- “I can only quit drugs if my brother does too. How can I choose or even try something without him”
- “I cannot quit drugs without my family’s 100% support at all times”
- “I was born for this. This is my part of my fate”
- “I’m taking drugs because it makes m forget how pathetic i am.”
- “I was destined to do this. how can i turn against my destiny”
It is entirely understandable for those without a clear understanding of addiction to attribute addiction based actions upon themselves. This can lead to a vicious cycle, where the addict takes drugs, belittles himself for taking drugs with the thinking that if I was a worthwhile person I would be able to stop taking it “because this is all my own doing”. Without knowledge about addiction and its effects on human behavior and thinking, the addict is unable to differentiate his previously healthy self from the dysfunctional addicted self.
Until and unless the patient’s self esteem is worked upon, they may be unable to find the motivation to engage in action necessary for healthy recovery.
“Life is very interesting… in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.” (Actress Drew Barrymore)