How Addiction Starts

by: Bob Garon 
May 09, 2009

We have treated addicts who used drugs for some 25 years. All of them began using in high school. All of them began by dabbling with drugs. They did not become addicts overnight. But because they were not turned around in their youth, when the problem was still manageable, they sank deeper and deeper into the hellhole of addiction until their lives spun totally out of control.

There followed years and years of incredible pain both for themselves and their families and friends. The road back to a drug free life was exceedingly difficult for them. It took lots of courage, supportive families, much sacrifice and abundant graces from God for them to recover.

Better if they had been caught and treated early when they first began using. Common sense tell us that the sooner you treat a sickness, the less damage will there be and the sooner healing can take place.
Any kind of drug use must not be taken lightly by parents. Though their first reaction is to deny the seriousness of it and downplay the obvious this is something they would never do if their son is suspected of having cancer.

But this is drug use and a crime, something “shameful.” An indication of perhaps having “bad parents.” And so, many parents pull back and hope the problem will not get any worse and eventually go away.

Sometimes it does, but most often it doesn’t. Instead it almost always gets worse. Meanwhile, precious time is wasted. The longer the delay in addressing the problem, the more difficult it will be when there is no other option but to face it. In the meantime, the boy sinks deeper into his drug use. He adopts the addict lifestyle. His values deteriorate. His attitudes go from bad to worse. He gets into all kinds of trouble, some of it serious, all of it unpleasant. He drifts farther and farther apart from the family even if he is living under the same roof. He may get violent. In short, he wastes a lot of years—all this because of the inaction of those who love him most. Parents need to be brave. Addiction is not something they wanted for their son. It is rather something they prayed would never happen, but it did happen despite all the care and love they gave their son.

Now, what remains is to put aside the shame, guilt feelings and whatever else stands in the way and do something to reverse the situation.

Drug addiction is not hopeless. It is a disease and can be cured, but, like any disease, the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to reverse the situation.