Consumed By Poverty And Drugs

Shallow focus photography of old wooden house beside trees

Having Sex With Your Dad

The diversity of stories that can be heard in the field of psychiatry is so great that you can easily become touched by them. One common theme is poverty and drugs; these two go together like peanut butter and jelly. Oftentimes, children who are raised in poverty are exposed to family and friends who suffer from a drug addiction, mental illness or physical and sexual abuse.

From a young age, children raised in poverty are at a disadvantage. They have to witness their parents arguing about money, bills and food on the table; their perception on marriage becomes influenced since they are little. Drug and alcohol abuse is not uncommon when money is a big stressor in the household.

A child will witness her father get drunk on bourbon and start transforming into a completely different person. He may start to beat his wife and flirt with his daughter. The daughter will run into her room or out of the house scared, hoping not to feel uncomfortable and violated. So she starts turning to drugs around age 16 when her friends who are also in poverty inform her, “This will help with all the bullshit!”

As she starts forming a new alliance with marijuana (not so much with alcohol as she doesn’t want to be like her father), she also starts entertaining the idea of newer and more powerful drugs. That’s when Lady Heroin comes into play. She starts snorting the heroin, quickly realizing how all of her physical and mental pain dissipate in the air.

The problem is that she’s only 16 and still reliant on her parents for food and shelter. She starts returning home later in the evening, with the hope that “pops” is passed out from his drunken state of mind on the corner couch watching Full House. As she slowly creeps into the living room, she hears footsteps coming from the kitchen.

Her father is standing there drunk with a creepy smile on his face and some dollar bills in his right hand. She wants to cry but has no more tears left. She already knows what might happen: he is going to offer money for her heroin habit as long as she has sex with him. She wonders, “At what point did I fuck up?”

She then realizes that everything turned upside down when she met Lady Heroin; she has become an addict since their introduction. Because she is so desperate for another bundle, she sticks her right hand out to accept the money as her father grabs her other hand and takes her to his corner couch.

As the full moon glows in the night sky, the sounds of father-daughter intercourse slowly increase. The story can be summed up into the following:

  • Alcoholic father who is a sexual predator and performs incest
  • Heroin addict daughter who was born into poverty and now lives to support her drug habit
  • Poverty and drugs that have consumed this family

This is an example of a story that can be heard in the field of psychiatry.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Taking Time Off From Weed And Alcohol

Grayscale photography of woman smoking a joint in bathtub

Appreciation For Different States Of Mind

Everyone enjoys their fair share of poison, whether that’s alcohol, marijuana, gambling or even sex. But when it comes to substances, it doesn’t hurt to take time off from weed and alcohol; in fact, you should be highly considering this process. You can derive much pleasure from life by enjoying sobriety.

One thing to make clear is that this article does not apply to drug or alcohol addicts: if you are suffering from an addiction, then complete sobriety for the rest of your life is what is needed. But for casual users of weed and alcohol who do not have a problem with addiction, taking time off is highly recommended.

For starters, your mind needs a break: it’s not used to being affected by substances on a daily basis. And that’s a good thing because if it were, then that’s what you would call an addiction. Secondly, any substance that you put in your body is neurotoxic; period! There is no arguing with this point; it’s proven by science.

Yes, weed and alcohol make you feel great, but this does not mean that on a cellular level, processes do not become disorganized, chaotic or even start to malfunction. It’s because of this neurotoxicity, that your brain develops an increased chance of experiencing a mental illness.

Excessive alcohol use can lead to depression and anxiety and excessive marijuana use can lead to potential psychotic states. And are we forgetting withdrawal? Yes, withdrawal does happen from chronic and heavy use of marijuana; it’s not a myth. But if you are experiencing withdrawal, you are already in too deep.

The idea is that if you enjoy recreational and responsible use of marijuana and alcohol, you want to take healthy breaks from time to time. For instance, if you have just smoked marijuana for 2 months in a row, you’d be doing yourself a great favor by not consuming it for a few months as well; just allow your mind to enjoy the peacefulness of sobriety.

When you smoke or drink too frequently, your start to develop tolerance: a state of mind that requires a greater quantity of the substance to experience a previous level of high. For instance: 2 beers don’t get you a buzz anymore and 1 joint now wears off in 45 minutes. So what you end up doing is consuming more: causing more neurotoxicity, increasing your tolerance and your chances of developing an addiction.

You have to learn how to enjoy the best of both worlds: having fun consuming substances recreationally and responsibly, and enjoying life in your natural state of mind without any substances in your system. If you can do this, then both experiences become much more significantly enhanced.

This is called appreciation for different states of mind, whether natural or unnatural.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Slippery Slope Of Casual Drinking

Topless man drinking beer in swimming pool

Responsible Drinking

There is something soothing about casual drinking: it provides you with a relaxed state of mind, company when lonely and imagination when dull-minded. Alcohol becomes a soothing medicine when lonely or stressed or after a long day’s work. It’s also easy to consume and even easier to refill. But there’s a slippery slope to casual drinking.

That slippery slope is addiction. When is casual drinking casual and not pathological? One beer a day? Three times a week only? There’s no official recommendation for the right amount of alcohol consumption that will prevent the development of alcoholism. What is right for me, may be the last drink for you.

In general, drinking even one beer a day is too much. You may get away with this pattern for even years at a time, but at some point, your brain will want more. One factor is tolerance: one beer will simply not give you that oomph that you previously experienced. This is the basis for all types of addictions: what previously worked now requires a stronger stimulus.

Perhaps casual drinking is our ticket to alcoholism, but this does not mean that everyone keeps their ticket. There are many factors at play behind the development of alcoholism: genetics, social class, status, race, age, mental health, history of trauma, substance use, etc. Some people consume other drugs but have been casually drinking for years, without any signs of alcoholism.

Responsible drinking starts within you. It’s about maintaining control over your indulgence. If you are aware of the thought that consuming that next drink is out of desperation to get more intoxicated, then you should be willing to harness the strength to prevent yourself from grabbing it.

The toughest moment “is in the moment”: when you are feeling slightly disconnected from your baseline and would like to rev it up a notch or two. But casual drinking also poses the risk of progressing into binge drinking: the over-indulgence in alcohol in a short period of time.

Binge drinking is an entire separate chapter, but not one far away from casual drinking. You see, casual drinking can sprout into binge drinking, an alcohol use disorder or a straight path. The straight path is where you want to remain, if you’d like to continue enjoying casual drinking. The key is to never overdo something that provides you with pleasure; enjoy the opportunity for pleasure, but don’t go seeking more of it.

Sometimes you just have to allow pleasure to find you, for the sake of preventing a psychological or even physical addiction from developing.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Alcoholism

Bottles of liquor lined up on concrete surface outside

Bonding With Liquor

There is much concern in the media about vaping, opioid use disorder and even the legalization of marijuana, but why are we forgetting to address alcoholism? The world keeps spinning and new drugs keep reaching the surface, but alcohol has been around since 80 million years ago, when our human ancestors consumed rotting fermented fruit rich in ethanol.

We’ve been bonding with liquor since the beginning of time; alcohol is the real epidemic that needs to be more carefully addressed! The question is, why do you like alcohol so much to the point of sacrificing your health, relationships, job or even your life? Many people will give you different responses, some honest and some based on denial.

The most uncommonly common answer is, “I just like it!” You have to understand that not all alcoholics have developed their addiction based on the unfortunate circumstance of getting hooked on the drug. Many simply just like the taste, smell and high that they get from alcohol.

When people think of alcoholics, they believe that something bad must have happened in their lives, and that they unfortunately self-medicated with alcohol to the point of becoming addicted. That’s not always the case! Many people also started binge drinking in college for the sake of partying, and eventually lost control.

Many adolescents start binge drinking in high school and eventually lose control. The loss of control over the use of alcohol happens for many reasons. Again, one big reason that is often left out of the picture is the love for the high that alcohol provides. It makes the user feel elated, relaxed, disinhibited and it’s easy to consume: just pour it in a glass and enjoy!

Bonding with liquor can be a truly enjoyable process as compared to other drugs. The ingestion of alcohol is so convenient and there’s always the mental comfort that it’s legal to use. But with other drugs such as marijuana, the act of smoking or even worrying about legality is too much of a pain and concern.

In addition, not everyone likes the feeling of other drugs such as marijuana or opioids, because they still want to be functional while under the influence. With alcohol, one can still go to work intoxicated and no one may have a clue! Alcohol is also very easy to disguise: just mix it with some Pepsi or Coca Cola and you have yourself a concealed mixed drink on the go!

Overall, ease of use, functionality, disinhibition, burial of negative emotions and a pleasantly confident high are the main reasons why alcoholism develops, and why more than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States.

What are your feelings towards alcohol?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drinking And Driving

Drunk adolescent male leaning on SUV in front of woods

Wheel Of Fortune

“Don’t drink and drive” are the 4 words which we repeatedly hear since adolescence, yet there continues to be thousands of drunk drivers worldwide on a daily basis. It’s as if the words are registered and discarded faster than they are processed. Why do so many people continue to drink and drive despite the adverse consequences?

For starters, alcohol has a powerful influence on one’s judgment. Unlike marijuana for instance, alcohol can make someone so intoxicated that they can no longer discern right from wrong; in this case, they get behind the wheel drunk and drive to their destination. What the consequences will be do not matter to them in that situation and state of mind.

This is not to imply that marijuana does not make people intoxicated or stoned. But the difference with this drug is that people who are stoned tend to remain more preoccupied with a relaxing activity, such as watching a movie or listening to music. They are not as tempted to get behind the wheel and go driving to random places, even though it does happen quite often!

Most people would agree that it’s more tempting to drive under the influence of alcohol, because they want to get from point A to point B without any delays. In this case, point B may be another party, their house, a friend’s crib or their significant other’s pad. Drinking and driving has a lot to do with the final destination: “I need to get there tonight and I need to get there quick!”

Even if one tells himself prior to drinking that he will not drive tonight, once those few shots of bourbon or that sour whisky goes down their throat and hits their nucleus accumbens, their judgment begins to quickly change. They may also experience peer pressure from their friends to drive: “come on bro, we gotta make it to this party!”

What started as a good intention of not driving for the night, may end up in a damaged vehicle and a fatality or two. Some would argue that drinking and driving is also fun! You can blast the music with your friends, while speeding on isolated back roads to your destination of choice! Until you lose control of your vehicle or a deer jumps in the middle of the road, distracting you and causing you to swerve and crash into a tree!

The wheel of fortune is not to be reckoned with when it comes to drinking and driving. Be smart and either stay sober for the night, have a designated driver or have someone sober pick you up!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Alcohol State Of Mind

Rock glass filled with green alcohol in front of bar

Giving Up Alcohol For A Month

Ethanol has a very sneaky way of slithering into your life; sometimes it’s present for an appropriate and lovely evening, while at other times, it’s joining you on a midday binge. The legality of the substance is a deception. Alcohol is one of the most addicting and deadliest substance known to mankind.

It’s excellent at disinhibiting you and allowing you to flow in and out of conversations; even with strangers. For some shy folks, alcohol is their miracle drug; they have finally found a solution to shedding away their personality and replacing it with a new and improved one.

Of course, any “new and improved” personality brought upon by alcohol is part of the deception of the slithering potion. Paradoxically, your perception of a new and improved personality is often painful and disgusting for others to bear and tolerate. Family and close friends suffer when they see a loved one robbed of their true self.

And that’s what alcohol does best: it makes you grandiose, boosts your confidence, disinhibits you and makes your surroundings more enjoyable but at the expense of your true colors. When a person crosses the invisible line from social drinking into pathological drinking, they have left their true self behind.

Giving up alcohol for a month is a good start! But prior to arriving at thirty days of sobriety, it is important to take baby steps:

  • Step 1: decrease your quantity of alcohol during weekdays
  • Step 2: decrease your quantity of alcohol during weekends
  • Step 3: drink a lower quantity of alcohol on fewer weekdays
  • Step 4: drink a lower quantity of alcohol on fewer weekdays + weekends
  • Step 5: avoid drinking alcohol during weekdays
  • Step 6: avoid drinking alcohol during weekends
  • Step 7: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire month
  • Step 8: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire six months
  • Step 9: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire year
  • Step 10: avoid falling back down to step 1

When alcohol senses that you are trying to break up, it will attempt to hit you harder by introducing insecurity, uncertainty, depression, anxiety and withdrawal symptoms into your life. This is alcohol’s way of keeping you hooked; any indication that you are trying to break free and the hook digs deeper into your soul.

To avoid battling alcohol addiction, you must avoid ever experiencing an alcohol state of mind. For some people, they will never get addicted. But for most who expose themselves to large quantities, the addiction was born prior to their first sip; their mind knew that one day their nucleus accumbens and ethanol would toast together.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)