Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Recovery Blog

ASV provides support for families of people with addictions.

Addiction Solutions Victoria – Drug and Alcohol Rehab Melbourne.

Addiction Solutions Victoria provides affordable, evidenced based drug and alcohol addiction treatment and rehabilitation options across Victoria.

All ASV staff hold appropriate qualifications for their roles and are passionate about supporting any person seeking a solution to addiction a genuine opportunity at change and recovery.

We believe that given the right set of circumstance, opportunity and support that anyone can recover from addiction.

All our programs are evidenced based.

We also offer support for families of people challenged by addiction.

The ASV CEO, Jason Bowman, has over 14 years experience of managing some of Victorias leading private and not for profit addiction treatment and recovery support services.

I know that sustainable recovery from addiction is possible, see it every day” Jase Bowman – ASV CEO Rehab Melbourne 2020.

This page is created to share stories of hope and triumph over addiction to drugs and alcohol with the broader community.

Each week we will post testimonials and recovery blogs to held reduce the stigma of addiction and demonstrate to all the recovery from addiction is possible.

Portrait of an attractive young man smiling with arms crossed on isolated white background

How I defeated my Addiction

First, I got clean, then I got sober. I stopped using and detoxed in an addiction treatment centre. I learned that continuing to drink and drug despite negative, harmful, ongoing consequences was an indicator of addiction. They also pointed out that the drugs and alcohol weren’t the real problem in my life, they were a symptom. The purpose of effective evidenced based addiction treatment is to motivate internal psychological and emotional change. As the fog lifted, I began to realise the reality of my situation. The penny dropped. The real problem in my life was me. My thinking, how I felt about things and how I saw the world. I had been doing the same things over and over while expecting different results. A quote from Albert Einstein tells me this is a definition of insanity. I knew I was a slow learner, always had been. It now appeared I was an even faster forgetter. The treatment service knew their stuff, I was provided a solution and a commitment. If I was to put into sustainable action the plan of recovery we developed together, I could find relief. I was desperate, so I decided to commit to the process. Then I was introduced to a new way of life, let’s call it recovery.

After treatment I started getting to know some active recovery focused people in a recovery community. They reached out to me, showed me the ropes, helped me find myself, get to know who I was, what was important, what wasn’t. Slowly I learned how to talk to people, act more respectfully, I learned to smile, laugh, love and live.

Background

I was a good kid who came from a good home. Working class parents provided my sister and I all we needed. I never got everything I wanted but always had a warm bed, clean clothes, I went to decent schools and had good opportunities. Despite all this, growing up I always felt uncomfortable in my skin. Even in my family unit, who loved me to death, I felt like a square peg in a round hole. Somehow, I didn’t fit in and I struggled for connection. The first time I used this sense evaporated. I felt invigorated, like I had arrived, woke up, I hit the ground running and couldn’t wait to do it again. I felt like I had been shot out of a gun and was 10 foot-tall and bullet proof. No wonder I couldn’t wait to do it again. What came next was a disaster.

Active Addiction

Over 22 years of active addiction, I used every day. There were also many times I swore off with a genuine commitment. I ran around town like a lunatic, stepping on the toes of anyone who crossed my path, causing massive amounts of harm and worst of all, hurting the ones I loved the most. Very quickly I betrayed my values, morals and principles. I did all the things I thought that I would never do. At times I stopped but I couldn’t stay stopped. My behaviours in active addiction were dishonest, selfish, foolish and inconsiderate. The impact on my life was a whole lot of guilt, shame, anger, fear and resentment. My self-esteem was non-existent and I also experienced anxiety, depression and PTSD. My addiction  was about taking the edge of my internal conflict and discomfort. I self-medicated my pain. I used both chemicals and behaviours to do this. Both were extremely debilitating to my life, and the lives of the people I cared most about.

It was critical to me to realise with my own eyes that recovery from addiction was possible. Sadly, my mind was so closed to reality.

Early Recovery

The first 90 days of my recovery journey was a roller coaster ride. In many ways, the easy bit was stopping using. The much harder part was staying stopped. Someone told me the best thing about recovery is that you get your feelings back. The worst thing about it was I got my feelings back. See I had been trying to avoid my feelings for about 20 odd years. Turns out stopping using, sitting still and looking at my stuff allowed me to grow some overall awareness. I remember the day my feelings blipped into life, I was about 90 days clean and sober. I felt like a jack in the box, my feelings just popped out and freaked me out. It was overwhelming and terrifying. If I wasn’t surrounded by a group of peers who had experienced similar distress, I would have buckled. They supported me, held my hand, told me it would pass, encouraged me to hang in there, empowered me to sit with it. Slowly things evened out. By 100 days clean and sober I couldn’t remember when I had last thought about using. I was amazed. And excited. I dared to hope that maybe, just maybe, if I continued to repeat my daily routine somewhat repetitively, that I might make it, that I might find a way to live, that I could recover my life.

Self Care

Slowly I started looking after myself better. First, I removed the obvious unhelpful things. This was much easier than introducing healthy and helpful things into my life. I realised that despite my best intentions, I was undisciplined, wilful and somehow hard wired to bring myself undone. A daily routine worked wonders. I made plans and lots of lists. Then I focused on completing every single item in a timely manner. I needed to keep my daily routine simple as I had a tendency to over complicate everything.

Breakfast, exercise, recovery, lunch, coffee with friends, recovery.

I was fortunate enough that I could devote 100% of my time to this pursuit. Early recovery to me was like a full-time job. Chop wood carry water. Rinse and repeat, it was super repetitive. I felt like I was being brain washed, which was exactly what my brain needed, a very good wash.

Today

I’ve been in recovery for over 15 years. Recovery communities and the approach behind them literally saved my life. More than that, I have learned how to participate in my life as an active participant, allowing me to achieve many of my dreams and empowering me to live a hope filled and rich life, one day at a time!

Close up sorrowful woman sitting on couch alone at home. Frustrated confused female feels unhappy, having a problem in personal life, quarrel or break up with boyfriend, unexpected pregnancy concept

Challenges of an Addiction to Drug or Alcohol

Addiction is not just a scientific term that you find only in books and research articles. It is real phenomena and it is something that can alter the course of your whole life. Around the world, more and more people every day are impacted in a negative manner by an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Prescription medication addiction is also a global issue.

I wrote this article as part of my aftercare plan at the ASV rehab at home addiction treatment program.

What is the definition of addiction?

Addiction is defined as “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterised by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.” Addiction is a devastating medical disorder that involves your brain and targets areas of the mind that are involved in stress, self-control and reward.

When people first start abusing drugs and alcohol it all seems like one big party. After a while, negative things start occurring. The person can think they have it under control for a long time, but it is actually a delusion. Eventually, they lose control and that is where the term addiction comes to life.

Challenges of Drug Addiction

Let’s have a look at few of these:

  1. Health Challenges

Addiction not only damages your brain but also causes several other health issues including:

  • Cardiovascular Problems

Drugs may lead to an increase in the heartbeat and irregular heartbeats can lead to a higher risk of forming blood clots in the blood vessels, circulatory problems and vascular diseases. Overdose on some substances can lead to cardiac arrest. Those who take drugs intravenously are at risk of cardiovascular problems like valve infection, vascular inflammation and blood born viruses like Hepatitis C.

  • Respiratory Problems

Drug addiction can lead to serious respiratory problems including pneumonia, tuberculosis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and syncytial virus infection. Continuous intake of few drugs can be a cause of hypoxia leading to death.

  • Gastrointestinal Problems

Intake of drugs orally poses serious threats to a person’s digestive system. Some of the common gastrointestinal problems that are resultant of drug addiction are indigestion, nausea, vomiting, chronic constipation, GERD. There are some chronic and serious gastrointestinal problems caused by drug addiction as well like; pancreatitis, reflux esophagitis, Mallory-Weiss tears, increased GI cancer risk and malabsorption.

  • Behavioural Challenges

Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and drug addiction go hand in hand. If a person is already suffering from a mental disorder, drug addiction often makes the underlying mental health condition worse. In addition, a person experiencing drug addiction becomes distant and socially isolated, avoids going into crowds or meeting people.

  • Societal Challenges

People with drug addiction pose a great threat to their family members as well as society. We have jotted down some of these challenges here:

  • If you are pregnant and you have developed a drug addiction, your new born baby can go into withdrawal known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).
  • Second hand smoke exposes others to an array of harmful chemicals that can cause serious health problems like heart disease as well as lung cancer.
  • People with addictions are often a source of infectious diseases like hepatitis C, HIV and risky sexual habits.
  • Drug abuse can lead to unsafe driving. Drivers under the influence of drugs not only put themselves as well as passengers at risk but also people sharing the road are at equal risk.

Final Verdict

As much as drug addiction brings challenges with it, recovery from addiction is possible.

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