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Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy:
Leaving Alcohol and Other Drugs Behind
John never missed a day of work, always took his kids to their sports practices, and made sure the lawn looked nice, but on weekends he spent a lot of his time drinking. He never felt quite up to par. Getting to work Monday mornings was becoming difficult. John knew he had a drinking problem, but he had a hard time asking for help.
Jessica was very shy and awkward and felt uncomfortable at parties unless she smoked some marijuana or sniffed some glue ahead of time. She knew taking drugs was becoming a pattern, but it was better than feeling her sense of loneliness. On the other hand, she thought the time was getting near when all the drugs would cause her worse pain than the loneliness.
Terry always tried to keep up with his buddies, but lately they seemed to be drinking and using other drugs all the time. Terry's father was an alcoholic and Terry had vowed he would never drink "that much." He was confused. He kept up with his buddies to prove himself a man, but if his father did the same thing to be a man, he wasn't sure it was a good idea.
Maria tried everything she could think of to stop drinking. She switched from beer to wine, decided not to drink until after the sun went down, took long walks whenever she felt the need to drink. But while she was pregnant, her emotions ran very high. She hated the ups and downs and longed more and more for a drink. "A little drink now and then won't hurt," she rationalized. She felt ashamed and had trouble asking for help for fear of humiliation.
Michael's mother and father told him a million times he was no good. Getting drunk proved them right. "Why bother staying sober?" he'd ask himself. He knew the answer was he didn't like himself drunk. So, he'd lay off for a month or so, but then something would get him mad and he'd start again and stay drunk for 5 or 6 days. He wanted some help. But how was he going to get it?
Susan was obsessed with drinking. She really enjoyed it and rarely associated with anyone who couldn't keep up with her drinking. She spent most of her free time in bars and restaurants known for generous drinks and became more interested in the wine list than the menu. She entertained a lot too, with plenty of people and cases of alcohol What her guests didn't drink, she finished off. Every once in a while the thought occurred that she might be developing a problem, but she'd put it out of her mind. She didn't have to ask for help. No one would ever think she needed assistance, would they?
There's a good reason others may have seen your problem with alcohol or other drugs and recognized your need for help sooner than you did yourself. In a society where such problems are so stigmatized, and the person with the problem made to feel ashamed, it is easy to understand why you would want to deny that you have such a problem. In fact, this kind of denial has become so familiar that many experts associated it with alcohol and other drug dependence.
Everyone described in this publication -- including you, perhaps -- is beginning to understand the seriousness of their problem and is wondering how to get help. Some will act more quickly than others to get this help. Some will actually stop drinking or taking other drugs on their own. Some will get into trouble with the law, at work or with families or friends before they get help. But all of them need that help. They do not want to depend on alcohol or other drugs to cope with life and its problems any more than you do. Like you, they want to take charge of their lives as have millions of others who have left alcohol and other drugs behind.
If you drink to change the way you feel; to relieve boredom, anxiety, depression, anger, or low self-esteem; to gain acceptance form others; to escape life's problems; or to feel part of the good life you see in alcohol advertising, or in drinking scenes in the movies and on television, then you are not alone. These are the reasons many people give for drinking. And if you are one of the 76 million Americans who grew up in a family where there was a drinking problem, you may not have known that you had a greater chance than other so developing a problem yourself.
But figuring out why you began drinking or using other drugs is not important right now. What is important is to recognize that alcohol and/or other drugs are taking you away from the life you want, understanding how serious the problem is, and then getting help.
There is no typical alcoholic or drug dependent person. You may be old or young; male or female; single, married, divorced, or living with someone; practice any religious observance or none; live in the country, city, or suburb; earn a lot or a little; come from any ethnic or racial background; and live any type of lifestyle.
The above descriptions focus on the problems of alcohol abuse and dependence, but they are just as applicable to problems with other drugs and addiction. Deep down in your heart you know if you have a problem. But you don't want others to think of you as bad or weak-willed or even "sick," if you admit to having a problem. The fact is that you do have a progressive disease that only gets worse with time and if you do not get help you could die from it.
This is not meant to scare you. You are probably already frightened, worried about your drinking or other drug-taking, and afraid to ask for help. But it's one of the most courageous things you can do for yourself. It is difficult, but the sooner you do it, the easier it will be. It means that you have to start to value and care for yourself. It's the step to take so that all the other pieces can fall into place.
More than a million Americans like you -- women and men of every possible description, who have found themselves struggling with a drinking or other drug problem -- have taken charge of their lives and are free of these destructive dependencies today. As you begin investigating the kinds of help available to you, you will discover that some use one kind of help and others use a combination. Some rely more on internal strengths and seek limited guidance from others, while many find the combined wisdom and experience of others with similar problems to be of priceless value. Still others benefit from the services of professional counselors and therapists; ministers, rabbis, and priests; community agencies. You might even want to take someone with you when seeking assistance.
You can find out what kind of help is available from a health care
provider, clergy, or employee assistance program (EAP). Therapists,
community health and social agencies, and alcohol/other drug treatment
programs also can make useful suggestions. Begin by looking under "alcohol"
or "drug abuse" in your telephone directory white pages. Or,
you can contact any of the following national resources.
What is Amphetamine Addiction?
Viewed in some circles as the less-threatening "little brother" of the dangerous and highly addictive crystal meth, amphetamine remains a significant threat to the adolescents and adults who use the drug in misguided attempts to fight off fatigue, enhance concentration, or gain a competitive edge in an athletic event.
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