Adyn Harvey
4 min readMar 6, 2022

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“When you look at it from a psychological standpoint, individuals are looking to make connections. We typically make connections with people, places, and things we feel understand us. If we’re going through trauma, and we see an individual who is experiencing trauma, we instantly relate to that person.”

“Through that relatability, we then see how they cope with that experience,” he adds. “It’s not so much about its coolness, but through what psychologists would call a ‘trauma bond.’

“You find yourself engaging in similar activities because that’s what you relate to the most.”

Dismissing dependency on drugs as it being a “choice,” does a disservice to the millions of people struggling with it every day.

“If you are surrounded by people who think it’s wack to use drugs and get high, then you’ll be less likely to use drugs and get high. We have to understand it’s totally normal for teenagers, especially, to want to experiment with drug use.

“We have to be honest about what we are exposing them to.”

It’s also easy to look down on a person battling addiction when you’ve never experienced it yourself.

If you don’t relate to addiction or mental health struggles consider yourself lucky. Plenty of people do.

The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 18.4 million Americans (aged 12 and older) had at least one illicit drug use disorder in the past year.

The study also determined that people who suffered from mental health disorders are more likely to use drugs than those who don’t.

While society might see people with addictions as weak-minded, lacking morals or self-control, it is so much deeper than that.

“At the end of the day, every person has their own will. Nobody says, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to be hooked on drugs.’ It’s usually a bad decision like hanging around the wrong people that leads to a life where you’re no longer in control.

no one intends to ruin their lives when they first try drugs

“Nobody goes down that path because they thought it was going to be cool.

Everybody goes down that path with the mindset, ‘I won’t let it go that far.’ Nobody goes into it with the mindset of, ‘This is where I’m going to drive my life.’ It’s always, ‘It’ll never happen to me,’”

“Some individuals who speak from a place of inexperience will always say, ‘I stopped doing it. I just had to grow up and be an adult and say, ‘No more.’ When they do that they negate the entire fact that scientifically those who struggle with addiction, their brain reacts completely differently. Once the brain chemistry changes, they are no longer able to make choices that other individuals make.”

“There’s always an emotional underlying factor that leads to someone using mind-altering substances. Individuals with anxiety disorders, individuals that are coping with high levels of stress, like the stress and anxiety that comes in trying to meet family’s expectations.

“These emotions, when they go unchecked, will automatically –I don’t care who you are – lead to self-destructive behaviors,”. “The addiction part is tricky. You flip the coin, and you find out when it lands if you’re going to be the one that can use without any consequences or if you’re going to be the one where the using takes control of your life.”

It’s easy to judge from the outside looking in,

“Nobody truly can pass judgment. We say this all the time, but you really don’t understand until you experience it firsthand,

“The level of chaos that can result from substance use is very, very real. Despite interpersonal difficulties at home, with friends, she can’t stop using. That’s really real because people are like, ‘Why doesn’t she just stop?’

“That shows the level of dysfunction when you are having these underlying pathologies as a result of your substance use,”“Some people, when they self-harm, we call it self-injurious behavior, and it actually makes them feel calmer.”

In many cases, living with a person struggling with addiction can be dangerous and can put families in harm’s way. While turning their back on their suffering child is sometimes a parent’s last resort, it could also be the most detrimental action they can take to help their child reach recovery.

it might even lead them to end their life intentionally or unintentionally.

people battling addictions need treatment and rehabilitation that goes beyond a 60-day stay at a treatment facility or court-mandated Narcotic Anonymous meetings.

advocates for a shift in thinking towards current addiction-recovery processes.

those in recovery need to be given the life skills and coping skills that support them in their sobriety, including therapy and access to physicians and doctors to treat their addictions.

“If we don’t shift our mindset towards individuals that experience those types of things then the cycle will just continue. We will never establish an infrastructure that actually increases the rate at which we can support a person in changing the outcomes in their lives,”

“We just continue running around and point fingers at people.

We need to have tough conversations with children about their traumas, their losses, and their emotions.

Compassion and empathy are necessary, but also giving people access to treatments and the tools they need to overcome their difficulties with drugs is the key. Also extending help to the people caring for loved ones with addictions is essential.

t is instrumental to give parents a better understanding of what they can do and what else is out there that other It can also help combat those beliefs and misconceptions that people have about drugs and addiction and enlighten us as a society how to overcome them.

. It’s also important to see that although drugs do impair an addicted individual’s self-control, they are still accountable for their behaviours and are nevertheless going to face consequences for their actions.

Everything about addiction is uncomfortable.

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Adyn Harvey
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Thirty eight year old veteran with substance use disorder living in British Columbia, Canada. I write about me.