Anyone who’s ever loved an addict is familiar with the struggle of watching a person who they thought they knew say and do things that seem completely out of character. Many people know the pain of watching an addicted love one lie, cheat or steal. They often behave this way despite the fact that before they fell into the black hole of substance abuse, they were honest, genuine and loyal.
There are many reasons why addicts say and do things that seem out of character. Whether you are trying to understand a loved one’s behavior or if you are an addict yourself who better wants to understand why you’ve done the things you’ve done, here are some things to know about why people do things they said they never would due to addiction.
Addictive Substances Alter Our Minds
This is perhaps the most obvious reason, but it’s worth discussing. A very simple reason why addicts behave in ways that seem out of character is because addictive substances alter our minds. Even non-addicts will occasionally do things they regret after they’ve had too much to drink. Most psychologists agree that “a drunk tongue speaks a sober mind” is not a true statement. Oftentimes, alcohol and other drugs cause us to say and do things completely contrary to who we are and what we truly believe.
Addiction Creates Desperation
While addicts often behave in unusual ways simply because they’re high, that doesn’t explain why they also often behave unusually between episodes where they’re using. One of the main reasons why addicts so frequently do things to hurt the people they love is desperation. Addiction is a powerful force and when an addict is cut off from their supply, they’ll often lie, cheat or steal in order to score more drugs.
This doesn’t mean that the addict doesn’t love the person they’re stealing from or somehow hurting. In fact, they might actually target the ones they love the most because they believe those people will be more understanding of their desperate state of mind. This behavior has nothing to do with love and everything to do with the powerful desperation that addiction creates in an addict’s mind.
Addiction Breeds Hopelessness
When someone falls into the trap of using every single day, they often start to lose hope for the future. Non-addicts have a sense of hopefulness about life because they have things to which they can look forward. Whether it’s as simple as having the weekend off from work or a big vacation in a few months’ time, non-addicts look forward to the future, which keeps their sense of hope alive.
For addicts, every day is essentially identical to the last and there are rarely big life events on the horizon about which they’re excited. When a person has no hope in their lives, they lose the motivation to try to improve themselves or maintain a high quality of life. This is why many addicts live in squalid conditions or let go of their weight and looks. When you have nothing to look forward to, it can be hard to inspire yourself to improve yourself and your surroundings.
Addicts Are Surrounded By Bad Influences
When many of us think of “bad influences,” we think of childhood when we were easily swayed by peer pressure. However, adults can be plenty susceptible to bad influences as well. Addicts are frequently surrounded by unsavory people, be them dealers or other drug users. We naturally tend to mimic the behavior of the people with whom we spend the most time. This can cause otherwise good people to behave in unsavory and abhorrent ways.
This is why inpatient treatment can be so crucial for recovery. While the addict is still surrounded by people who understand their shared struggle, they’re no longer around active drug users. This allows them to discard a lot of the bad behaviors they picked up from the people they were surrounded by when they were in the depths of their addiction.
If someone you love seemed to change for the worse when they were actively using drugs, it’s important to understand that it isn’t their fault. It’s hard to stay true to yourself when you’re a drug addict. If you yourself are on the road to recovery, you have to learn how to forgive yourself for the unrecognizable person you became when you were at rock bottom.
Recovery is possible. Contact us today at 772-266-5320 to get more information about how you can reclaim your life and return to the person who you used to be.