It can be difficult for an individual who has never experienced the effects of drugs to understand why an addict would let drugs cause so much harm in their life. The truth is, the addict cannot see the full effects of drug use, and is hardly “letting” drugs ruin their life. While initial drug use was definitely a conscious choice, the body’s tolerance of and eventual dependence on drugs cause physical cravings that the individual feels he has no control over. He becomes willing to do anything in order to stay high and avoid painful withdrawal symptoms, even if it means giving up everything he owns and losing the trust and support of everyone he once loved. At this point, the addict may feel his life is on a downward spiral that is completely out of his control. He usually has no sense of self-respect, self-confidence or self-trust, and feels entirely hopeless about achieving sobriety and a drug-free future. Even if he rises high enough to realize he has a problem and needs help, rehabilitation treatment is only successful if the treatment is thorough and addresses all of the causes and effects of drug use.
Picking up The Pieces
Shawn was only twenty-two years old when he started down the slippery slope of substance abuse. He was traveling from town to town, participating in weekend rodeos and enjoying the freedom of early adulthood. On one fateful weekend, Shawn told a friend of his that he didn’t feel good. Shawn’s friend responded, “Here, take this,” and handed him methamphetamine. Shawn gave in and tried drugs for the first time. The immediate aftermath was very satisfying – he won the rodeo and left town with a new saddle and prize money in his pocket. He was hooked, and soon discovered that the limited benefits of methamphetamine were very, very short-lived.
Shawn eventually divorced his wife, and the downward spiral of drug addiction became much steeper. Where once he had only used methamphetamine on the weekends, after his divorce he began to use it three or four times a week, and then every single day. His methamphetamine habit was completely out of control, and he was spending five hundred dollars a week on drugs.
Methamphetamine gave Shawn a rush of energy and pleasurable sensations. Coming down off methamphetamine made Shawn feel grouchy and irritable. Whenever anything became tough in life, he turned to methamphetamine for another hit. He didn’t care about whether there was food on the table or the bills were paid, he just cared about staying high.
When Shawn ran out of money to buy more methamphetamine, he began to pawn and sell things that he never would’ve dreamed of getting rid of before. His previous connection with these items no longer matter – nothing mattered except getting more drugs and staying high.
Shawn was addicted to methamphetamine for fifteen years. He points out that he was raised in a religious, loving family, which proves that drug addiction can happen to anyone in any walk of life and in any social or economic situation. Drugs were simply presented as a solution to a problem, and lacking the full information on them or how to handle difficulties in life without drugs, Shawn had succumbed to their pull.
In August 2005 Shawn enrolled in the rehabilitation program at Narconon Arrowhead. He felt terrible mentally and physically, his life completely destroyed by drugs. He was certain that no one cared about him and had nothing left – having sold or pawned everything he once owned.
The Narconon program helped Shawn turn his entire life around. He was able to withdraw from drug use and eliminate physical cravings with the sauna detoxification program. With counseling and guidance, Shawn learned for himself why he had turned to drug use in the first place and was able to take responsibility for his decisions. He learned the valuable life skills that would enable him to confront and resolve future problems and difficulties in life without returning to drug use. He restored his feelings of self-respect and self-confidence and learned how to trust himself and his decisions again.
Today, Shawn has a happy, healthy life. He has a loving wife and a satisfying job. He says that before Narconon, he never knew that life could be so good. He is grateful to the program and caring staff who helped him not only save his life but also improve it dramatically.