What Leads People to Drug Addiction and Alcoholism?

 

ATN question and answers

The questions are pouring in so I have decided to post a featured question under Category Q&A on Tuesdays. Check back weekly for updates. 

This week’s question:

“What Leads People to Drug Addiction and Alcoholism?” is a question that was emailed to me by a subscriber on my list.  The following is the answer I gave. 

Feel free to send your questions in if you haven’t already by Clicking Here to contact me. 

What Leads People to Drug Addiction and Alcoholism?

Answer:

If you were in a room filled with alcoholics and addicts asking that question you would hear a variety of answers.  Then you would discover that those in the room are more alike than unique when it comes to the disease of alcohol and addiction. 

The incidents, environment, and people that are given credit for the use and abuse of substances may be different.  However, the emotions expressed are very similar. 

Here are answers some of my clients have given to this question in individual and group therapy sessions (adolescent and adults similar answers)

  1. Everyone in my family does it
  2. Peer pressure
  3. To impress a girl/guy
  4. I just wanted to have fun at a party
  5. I am shy and it made me join the crowd with comfort
  6. Someone dared me and I liked it
  7. I don’t like myself
  8. Bad life experience
  9. Avoidance of physical or emotional pain
  10. It seemed like fun

Summary

I have worked with alcoholics and addicts for a little over 20 years.  The ages of my clients have ranged from 15-70+.  Our youth benefit from sitting in a group with older clients that are in recovery at least once in treatment.

The purpose would be to hear their own story coming from someone who has an older face.  Identification in the recovery process is a significant part of the recovery journey.  Learning that you are not alone, seeing and hearing what can happen to you sometimes motivates.   In addition, the person in treatment either learns from another person’s story how he/she doesn’t want to end up, or think  that’s my story I need to hear how you made it.

At Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, you may hear the recovering person sharing about identification and how it works for them.

Identification works better with adults if he/she are ready to change.  Adolescents quickly identify out of the process believing they are invincible and that this could never be them.  

As you read above there are a variety of answers to the question “What Leads People to Drug Addiction and Alcoholism?”  Feel free to add more to this list by commenting below. Send your questions if you haven’t already by Clicking Here to contact me. 

Suggested Reading

Addictive Thinking and the Addictive Personality

How to Support Your Loved one Recovering From Addiction

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Lydia Brown

Lydia Brown, MS, MAC, CSAC, CADAC Editor ATN, Home Business Owner Advocate for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment CARF Surveyor

30 thoughts on “What Leads People to Drug Addiction and Alcoholism?

  • November 16, 2016 at 5:51 am
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    Precise article topic if the person is in the location has extremely bad environment and lead you to taking any kind of addiction and it’s difficult to overcome that. I have a friend and every night he always drunk and the only reason is the stress he so stress.

    Keep posting, Lydia, you are doing great.

    Reply
    • November 16, 2016 at 6:26 am
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      Thank you Rochelle for your comment. Hope things work out for your friend

      Reply
  • October 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm
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    Hi Lydia,
    I think, from what I’ve seen, the biggest influence is peer pressure. I’ve seen this with my son and I’ve had to wack him with a broom and not allow some kids to come to our home. I remember when I was growing up there was a lot of peer pressure .. it was like walking through the mine field … thankfully I missed them
    Lesly T. Federici recently posted…This Happened On The Way To An Affordable WorkshopMy Profile

    Reply
    • October 9, 2016 at 6:08 pm
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      Hi, Lesly, peer pressure does not seem to haven’t gotten better since we were children. In fact, worst due to technology. At least back then our parents could prevent us from using the phone and the tv would be cut off. Now with technology as the babysitter peer influence is 24/7. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • October 4, 2016 at 6:09 am
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    Hi my name is Patricia and I just wanted to send you a quick note here instead of calling you. I discovered your What Leads People to Drug Addiction and Alcoholism? I felt compelled to read it and boy did I learn a lot thank you.

    Reply
    • October 9, 2016 at 6:21 pm
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      Thank you for your comment Patricia glad you enjoyed the post.

      Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 4:21 pm
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    Hi Lydia,
    You are doing a wonderful service with your blog.
    As to the heredity gene, my family has alcoholic members and we are aware of the risk to our children. I found that Alanon was helpful to me. The family traditions were away from the behavior of the people who were abusing alcohol so we do hope that the children who are at risk because of genetics can see that solving problems , using alcohol to relax etc will not be followed. I have sent this article to a family member as I think it will help him. Thank you.

    Reply
    • September 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm
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      Hi Kathryn, Thank you for your comment. I am honored that you are sharing this with a family member. Happy for your family that you recognized the risk and have done what you can about it.

      Reply
  • September 27, 2016 at 10:07 pm
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    Very informative post. I have been lucky to not grow up with any of these addictions.

    I feel for the ones that go through this themselves or with family or friends. It’s great to know there are programs out there to help them.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • September 27, 2016 at 10:12 pm
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      Hi Roxann, thank you for your comment. It’s rough out there it i a blessing to not experience it.

      Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 9:24 pm
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    Hi Lydia,

    I grew up in an alcoholic family. My father was a “functioning” alcoholic. He would never admit he had a problem and eventually between the boozing and the ulcers, it ended his life. Sadly, my first love was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I’ve seen addiction all around me and managed not to give into it. However, living with these types of addiction can make one a co-dependent and that’s exactly what I became. It took Al-Anon and therapy for me to get my act together. As a former smoker (nicotine addict), I understand how difficult it is to give up an addiction too.

    Thank you for sharing this article with us. Have a great week ahead!

    B
    Bren Pace recently posted…Is Menopause the End of the World?My Profile

    Reply
    • September 26, 2016 at 11:42 pm
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      Hi Bren, you were telling my story. My dad was an alcoholic and his behavior under the influence is what killed him. I too married an alcoholic and addict. I always hated hearing the statistics about how that happens. Quit smoking 2 years ago and it took getting sick to make it happen prior to that staying stopped was the hardest thing I have tried to due. That obsession and compulsion is no joke. Thank you for sharing your experience and for visiting.

      Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 12:53 am
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    Interesting topic, Lydia.

    I think we’ve all had people close to us tat have been addicted to drugs and alcohol.

    I try to relate to people I know by thinking of how I have formed habits (maybe even “addictions” of sorts) to things like overworking, or sugar, caffeine etc. I know these things don’t compare to drug and alcohol addiction but they’re my only frame of reference because I have personally never had any drug or alcohol addictions.

    I think, though, that the reasons I tend to bury myself in work, or can’t get through a day without eating something sweet… I think I do these things for some of the same reasons you’ve listed above. Overwork may help me avoid other things, sugar gives me comfort… etc.

    Very interesting article.
    David Merrill recently posted…Content Marketing For Professional ServicesMy Profile

    Reply
    • September 26, 2016 at 11:54 pm
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      Hey, David, what you are doing to relate is exactly what we try to get the family members to do. It’s about as close as you can get to empathy without having used yourself.

      Personally, I haven’t met a person yet that wasn’t addicted to something. As an example take chocolate. I have one girlfriend who will eat it until her stomach hurts and she ends up running back and forth to the bathroom. Another girlfriend has to eat it every day and will have a fit if she doesn’t. She actually goes through mood swings. The difference between the two is this girlfriend only needs one Hershey candy bar and that is it. She is perfectly satisfied.

      Studying addictive personalities has always been very interesting to me. If you ever want to read up on addictive personalities I recommend “Addictive Thinking and the Addictive Personality” by Abraham J. Twerski. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply
    • September 27, 2016 at 12:04 am
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      Hello Edward, thank you much for your comment. There is so much emotional distress and pain for those using alcohol and drugs and those who are affected by their behavior.

      Reply
  • September 25, 2016 at 10:03 am
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    Hi Lydia,

    Seems like the young have much to learn from older addicts. It is amazing what leads to alcohol or drug dependence. My family is comprised of many alcoholics and the next generation went to drugs. I think from watching everyones behavior it was the “norm” that made many people in my family addicts.

    I was always fearful that I had that addict gene talked about so I tread lightly my whole life and am grateful I am not addicted. I’m on the other side of the coin whereby I had to attend alanon which helped so much.

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…Why Create An eBook | Advice From Ryan BiddulphMy Profile

    Reply
    • September 27, 2016 at 12:07 am
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      Hi Donna, Alanon is a fellowship I highly recommend to the families of my clients. What a blessing that you had clarity of purpose regarding this issue. I commend you for breaking away from the cycle. Certainly not an easy thing to do. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply
    • September 25, 2016 at 5:10 am
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      Hi Joan you are welcome. Thank you for stopping by and commenting

      Reply
  • September 21, 2016 at 5:43 pm
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    Hi Lydia,

    That’s a surprising list of triggers for alcoholism and addiction.

    I imagine (hope!) that for younger addicts to see how older addicts had been affected would be a very powerful wake-up call.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    Reply
    • September 23, 2016 at 6:29 am
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      Hi Joy, unfortunately, our youth have the “that won’t happen to me” attitude. Thank you for visiting us and for your comment.

      Reply
  • September 21, 2016 at 4:07 am
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    All those reasons are so real. But I think our culture promotes feel good amd doesn’t help folks deal with the lows, the blahs, the rejections, etc. It’s all rah, rah, party and smile. I am all for fun, but we need to realize there is value in the sorrows and suffering amd lessons,to be learned. We do not need to hide behind durgs, alcohol, sex, money or whatever. And it often takes time for some to come to grips with this. Addiction is a sickness and it is,fueled by pre existing mental imbalance and anguish in many cases. It is in a higher power, something bigger than us, thst hearts are healed and wounds are mended. Anyhow, great article
    Paula recently posted…Tropical Paradise, Life On A Blog Island with No Traffic?My Profile

    Reply
    • September 23, 2016 at 6:33 am
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      Hi Paula, The 12 Step fellowships certainly agree with you as do I regarding having a higher power. People are addicted to something from chocolate to drugs. Obsession can make something healthy lethal. Many seek pleasure with a substance be it legal or not. However, lack of control can be the person’s nature or when it comes to some drugs they are addictive and then a choice is not so easy. That is until thy hit bottom or divine intervention. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply
  • September 21, 2016 at 2:06 am
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    Hi Lydia,
    Wow… how painful, looks like people think that reaching out to alcohol and drugs could be the answer to many things in life.
    Blessings to you for your commitment to help people who are lost in this path.

    Reply
    • September 23, 2016 at 6:37 am
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      Hi Emi, painful it is for so many. Some of these people get dependent right from the doctors prescription. When they lose their health insurance they end up buying from the street. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply
  • September 20, 2016 at 5:22 pm
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    Hello Lydia, Thank you so much for this information on what leads people to addiction and alcoholism! I was surprised to see some of your answers..

    Great Share
    Thanks
    Chery :))

    Reply
    • September 20, 2016 at 11:37 pm
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      Hey Chery, Some of those answers surprised me the first time I heard a client express them. Thanks for your comment

      Reply
  • September 20, 2016 at 10:01 am
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    Do you think there’s any heredity link Lydia? My ex-husband was an alcoholic and so was his father (which he never told me until after we were married), but it wasn’t like the example of “everyone does it” because his father committed suicide when Richard was only 10 years old. That’s a traumatic thing for a kid to deal with so I can’t help but wonder why he would end up on the same path.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Why I’m Grateful to the Jerks in My LifeMy Profile

    Reply
    • September 20, 2016 at 11:50 pm
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      Hi Marquita, I have always been a student of the genetic model when it comes to alcoholism and addiction. Studies have presented that alcoholism is genetic but is only part of the influence. Environment and genetics contribute to the risk. However, if a child of an alcoholic does not indulge in alcohol that person would not be at risk of awakening that gene. Environment comes into play if the child is exposed to family behavior. Presenting that alcohol is the answer to solving problems, celebrate, unwind, etc. The traditions of the family would have an impact as to whether or not a child will grow up and use alcohol. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply

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