It can be incredibly difficult to understand why someone with an addiction keeps feeding their disorder rather than caring for children, family, careers, finances – everyone and everything that should matter. Horror stories abound, some so dark and traumatic we can scarcely believe them.
And it’s not just what people who are actively using explicitly do. It’s also what they implicitly overlook. They often miss birthdays, weddings, graduations, funerals, moments that, for most of us, represent definitive and transformative life events.
Typically, I focus these blogs on gambling addiction. But a key theme we all need to grasp is that an addicted brain exhibits the same physiological, psychological and emotional misfires, no matter the substance or behavior that triggers these effects. The brain rewires for gambling just as it does for alcohol and drugs.
Further, addiction disorders often overlap. Gamblers, for example, may also abuse alcohol. Or, they may suffer from other mental health issues such as depression. Many people “self-medicate” revving up the brain’s supply of endorphins, dopamine or other happy hormones through their drug or behavior of choice.
Whatever the cause, families often lose their loved one if he or she doesn’t seek treatment. Amber’s story illustrates well the guilt, shame and pain felt by people with untreated addictions who just can’t be the kind of person they want to be. She also is a wonderful example of all the amazing contributions people can make if they find a path to recovery. Happily, these same amazing outcomes can be achieved regardless of what type of addiction you face.
Maryhaven works so more people can say what Amber proudly reports. When it comes to her one-year old daughter, she “hasn’t missed a thing.”