The simple fact is that addiction is an epidemic that spares no one. Whether you are rich or poor, happy or sad, outgoing or shy, the disease of addiction does not discriminate. You could be a world famous celebrity, a CEO of a major corporation, a brilliant inventor, a talented artist, an esteemed business man, a quintessential “soccer mom”, a loving father, a caring mother, a husband or a wife, a brother or a sister, a doctor or a lawyer, elderly or adolescent and still be subject to the perils of addiction.
Even Betty Ford, the First Lady of the United States (1974-77) struggled with both alcoholism and addiction prescription medication. Ford did enter treatment and eventually gave a face to what was once a very private and taboo disease, by opening the Betty Ford Center (now Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation) for Drug and Alcohol dependency in 1982. Even she admits, “I didn’t do this intentionally. I didn’t set out in life to be an alcoholic and build the Betty Ford Center.” Most would agree that becoming an alcoholic or developing an addiction is never an intention. It can take as little as one experience with alcohol or drugs, both of which cause change in the way a person feels, thinks, and acts, that leaves them insatiable for more.
It’s never easy to see someone we care for become powerless to the insidious disease, but when it does happen it is usually very evident. At the onset of a loved one’s addiction, our needs become less apparent or less of a priority. Rather than being next in order, it crucial to have at the front of our heads’ that WE will also feel affliction and will end up emotionally and psychologically sick from trying to fix, control and help the people we love who happen to be alcoholics and addicts. It cannot be emphasized enough that the stress and anxiety that comes from living with a loved one that is struggling with addictions can lead us, despite our abstinence from drinking and using drugs, to develop our own health issues. When this happens our quality of life is greatly reduced and we may experience an early onset of death.