Addiction is a disease. It’s a little harder to diagnose than most but it is still considered a disease. Just like any other disease, addiction will start to take a toll on your physical health. If it’s gotten to a point where it is starting to affect your physical health, it’s probably already affecting your mental and emotional health as well. One of the reasons it’s so hard to catch is that addiction is all about craving and rewarding those cravings. You feel like you need something and when you satisfy that ‘need’, it seems like everything gets better. Sadly, that is not the case.
My days as an alcoholic started far too soon, not that there is ever a right time to start being an alcoholic, but I was a preteen. I was at a family party and decided to try the adults’ poison of choice, Aguardiente, when no one was looking. I’m Colombian and in Colombian parties, the grown-ups really know how to have a good time. I just wanted to have some fun like they were, so I grabbed an unmanned cup of the sweet, anise-flavored liqueur. That was the first time I got drunk, but definitely not the last.
As I grew older I started adding more substances to the mix which eventually landed me in jail by my early twenties.
It wasn’t up until that point that I really took a step back from my life and realized how much I had been hurting myself and everyone around me. I finally realized that I had to make some real changes in my life if I ever wanted things to get better, so I decided to get into rehabilitation and start detoxing from alcohol.
You may be thinking, ‘what were the signs that made you realize that?’
For one, I was always broke, whether it was because I wasn’t making any money or that I was just spending it too fast. I had a bad relationship with everyone that cared about me, the only people I felt okay with were the ones that also had substance abuse problems.
The people I care about always seemed to be sad, disappointed or walking on eggshells around me.
I wasn’t looking my best.
I was basically living a double life, trying to hide how much I used and the fact that I was even using at all.
The jail was also a huge wake-up call for me, as a kid growing up, I never imagined I would end up in this position.
When I made the choice to get better, I soon discovered how bad my health had really gotten. How bad did it get? Well, let me fill you in:
Substance abuse causes brain damage. This is a fact. Long-term drug and alcohol abuse actually changes the way your brain functions.
This affects parts of your brain that regulate and control your stress levels, pleasure/reward, decision-making skills, and even things as basic as your …