Addiction is not always easy to see, especially when it’s someone we love.
Addiction is very sneaky. People who are struggling with substance abuse often become very good at hiding their drug or alcohol use. They can become very good at manipulation, and lying can become very natural. There is no end to the excuses that they can come up with for using, for ignoring their responsibilities, or for their broken promises. Denial is a very powerful thing.
Denial isn’t just limited to the person who is using, either. Many times, close friends and family members will also struggle with denial about the substance abuse of a person they care about. This is just as dangerous. It can enable their addictive behaviors, and in many cases will lead to avoiding reaching out for help. This is the most dangerous of all because sometimes we don’t realize just how badly someone needs help until it is too late.
Raising awareness about these issues and helping people identify when drugs or alcohol have become a problem in their life or in the life of someone that they care about is a big part of the fight against addiction that faces our society today. While the main role that Choices Recovery fills in that fight is offering effective treatment programs for those struggling with addiction, we understand that this is just one part of a mush bigger picture. We understand that there is much more that we can and should do to be a strong force in this battle.
Our commitment to being a source of hope and inspiration for those struggling with the effects of addiction is their lives took us to Park City, Utah during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a sponsor of The EcoLuxe Lounge, a red-carpet event that makes appearances at various awards ceremonies and festivals throughout the year. Organized by Debbie Durkin of Durkin Entertainment, the top producer of sustainable product placement in film and television, the EcoLuxe Lounge gathers some of the world’s leading producer of holistic and eco-friendly goods and services.
Inside the Blue Iguana in Downtown Park City, where the EcoLuxe Lounge was held, “The Real Housewives of Orange County” co-stars Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley spent the day hosting the Choices Recovery Media Center, chatting with dozens of the entertainment industry professionals who stopped by to visit. But producers, actors, and directors aren’t the only people who had stories to share with us. We also spoke with Janell Flack, a young lady who was working with the EcoLuxe as a Guest Ambassador.
Janell had heard why we were there as a sponsor of the EcoLuxe, and she wanted to tell us about her own personal experience with a loved one who was struggling with addiction. Having been adopted, she was very close in age with her brother, and they were basically raised as twins. The story she told us was about him.
“I knew that there was an issue going on,” Janell shared. “Me and my brother were best friends. We grew up as twins. After high school, he got a really good job and had all this money. As a 19-year-old, you don’t make the wisest of choices. It was very evident in his life that’s what was happening. It was very hard to see. It grabbed him so fast, I don’t think he saw what was happening.” Her story shows quite clearly the importance of knowing how to identify when someone that we care about is falling down the slippery slope of addiction – even when they are trying to hide it from us.
A few of the things we can look out for include:
- Bloodshot or glazed eyes
- Dilated or constricted pupils
- Abrupt weight changes
- Changes in attitude/personality
- Sudden changes in friends
- Dramatic changes in habits or priorities
- Financial or Legal problems
Choices Recovery is committed to helping in the fight against addiction in any way that we can. Knowing the signs and symptoms of substance abuse can help us to know when someone we care about is struggling with addiction and may need help. If we have suspicions, it’s always better to engage them than to sit in denial until it’s too late. Every day that passes in addiction is a gamble, but if we can identify the problem, we can work towards a solution. We can find a path out of darkness to a brighter, healthier, and more positive future.