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Addiction to Drugs/how do I overcome wanting to get high on whatever is around?

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All of my life I was the odd man out and always wanted to fit in no matter what the cost. I had a decent upbringing until the age of 14. i never knew my father and always hoped to meet him one day. And had high hopes he was someone that would take all my pain and depression. I finally met him and my mother sent me to live with him. 2 weeks later he raped me. the man I put all my hope in that life could be better than it was. I started using herion after none belived me and he was never charged. My mother told me I was lieing since I lie about everything, that i must be lieing just to come back home to her. the only thing that comforted me was drugs of any sort. the herion came to a stop 2 years later and I was working as a cocktail waitress in a strip club. Then the money started rolling in and I could by whatever drug I wished. Mainly weed, zanax, vicodin, and meth. For a few more years i skated through life high as hell. I never thought about a family, or a career. at 28 I became a mom and met a decent man who was drug free. While I was pregnant it was so easy to not think about getting high because I finally loved someone more than I loved myself. My Daughter. drug free for 2 complete years. then that decent man became addicted to pain pills and that was the end of that. he pressed charges on me for using his debit card. although honestly he gave me permission to use it for over a year. He was mad because I broke up with him so I spent the next 5 months in a state jail. i lost everything. My daughter lived with my mom while I was incarcerated and I got out with no friends or family support. I didn't even have a pair of shoes and was living in a half-way house. Seriously I tried to bounce back. I obtained a fast food job and made money the HARD way. It wasn't even 3 months before I was smoking weed and popping pain pills heavily. What Happened I feel like my give a damn finally busted completely. I continued to get high on a daily basis just smoking weed though. But the urge to get higher kept arising and before I knew it that urge took over into action. I was popping pills and snorted cocaine twice. My hard work paid off and I was in my own apartment and driving a paid for ford expedition. I just got my daughter back and was still smoking weed. I thought I could handle just weed and then child protective services came and drug tested me and took my daughter from me. That happened October 2012. In order to get her back I am suppose to check myself in rehab. I find this absurd because I was only smoking weed. Now I am severely depressed and even tried to commit suicide mid February 2013. Now I do whatever drug I can get my hands on. My FIANCE like to occasionally get high on liquor, weed, that fake weed too, and meth. but he seems to be able to do one week and put it down for months. I on the other hand wake up EVERY morning wondering what i am going to get high on today. He wants me quit everything and even threatens to kick me to the curb if I don't. I love him to death and I love my daughter even more than that. BUT for some reason I only feel good at one thing- Getting high. I am in therapy and getting out all my emotional baggage but the fact remains the same. Could you please tell me am I ever going to feel happy without drugs? Or better yet Am I ever going to want to be sober?

Answer
Pamela,

I am so sorry about your situation, I really am.  It is totally tragic, but unfortunately not uncommon that children are sexually abused by their parents and people don't believe him.  This is the worst way to respond to someone who has been through such an ordeal - to not believe them.  I am really so sorry you had to endure that terrible thing.  You must realise that nothing was your fault, and it was the adults who were supposed to be caring for you who failed you.  It is, hence, no surprise that you want to use drugs to escape emotional pain, and also because drugs feel good.

I really hate the way protective services take kids away from parents for smoking pot, when so many people drink alcohol, and pot has never killed anyone and alcohol kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year.  It is idiotic.  However, unfortunately the child protective services have the power now and you need to make a decision.  I know it seems ridiculous to go into rehab for smoking pot, but it might give you an opportunity to get some therapy and talk through some of the things that have happened in your life.  It would also be using it as a means to an end - getting your daughter back.  It sounds like your current partner is being a bit contradictory in using drugs occasionally, then telling you that if you use he will kick you out.  I think this is sending a really mixed message and not really fair.

One thing I can tell you is that yes, you can feel good about yourself without using drugs.  You can, I promise.  People do it all of the time.  It takes time and, in your case, because of what you have been through, you might need to learn new ways to cope.  When both of your parents have betrayed you, it is difficult to trust and often it means the parents have not taught you how to cope with distress.  

It is not uncommon for people to relapse, so don't let that get you down.  People might relapse many times before they stop using for good.  And in your case, you have something very special to inspire you; your daughter.  I have met drug users who have been great parents, but unfortunately once the government gets involved, they have all the power and you have to do what they want.  I don't want you to ignore their demands, and then in a few years time regret it totally.  Your daughter is your daughter and she needs you.  Think very carefully about agreeing to the rehab, and then use it to deal with the other issues, especially your fear of not being happy without drugs.  It IS possible to be happy without drugs, it just takes a bit of getting used to, and you have a beautiful daughter who will be your inspiration.

I never ever judge people based on drug use.  Ever.  So you are not a bad person.  You were put through something terrible as a child and did not receive the care you should have.  I guess I just don't want you to regret not going to rehab.  With child protective services you just need to do what they want because they have the power and can make the decisions about your daughter.  But I also think you might be able to get something out of rehab.  If your partner is opposed to you going to rehab, then you need to make a decision about who is most important in your life.  Your daughter will be your daughter forever, and if a man is going to interfere with you being reunited with her, then that is a problem.  She is more important and as she grows up, she will want to know you and have you in her life.  

You sound like a really strong woman.  You have worked hard, but been given a tough run in life.  Now is the time to make a decision and what you choose will have life-long affects.  I believe you can stop using if you want.  You have done it before, and now, of course you are under more pressure because your daughter is not there, so the emotional pain is probably coming back more.

Pamela, please feel free to stay in touch with me and let me know what happens.  Or ask me any other questions.  But like I said, people do stop using drugs and they do end up being happy.  They just might need to have some assistance (i.e.: therapy) to get by and learn to deal with their issues in a different way.

I wish you all the luck in the world and please don't hesitate to stay in touch.

Jacqui

Addiction to Drugs

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Jacqui

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I am a psychologist committed to Harm reduction, a philosophy that acknowledges people will continue to use drugs despite all of the effort put into stopping it (case in point - US government drug war ... trillions of dollars spent fighting and more people using). I advocate to support people who use drugs by reducing the harms associated with their use through needle and syringe programs (NSP), advocating for drug law reform, non-judgmental health services and reducing the stigma associated with drugs. I have worked in harm reduction in Australia (NSP, primary health care, drop in centre) for 10 years and also have 18 months managing a service providing care coordination for people with multiple and complex problems. I spent two years living and working in Cambodia as a Harm Reduction Advisor for a local Khmer NGO, primarily focusing on methamphetamine use. Now I am back in Australia and have worked in a prison providing drug treatment and currently work as a psychologist in a dual diagnosis service (for people with mental health and substance use problems). I have a Masters in Clinical Psychology so can also answer questions around mental health and drug use. Happy to answer questions about blood borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C, questions about opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, benzos and other substances. Questions about treatment (particulary methadone and buprenorphine). Questions about harm reduction and why it is the best approach. I will try to answer questions about drug tests. I DO NOT JUDGE PEOPLE NEGATIVELY DUE TO THEIR DRUG USE, AND DON'T DEMAND PEOPLE MARCH STRAIGHT OFF TO REHAB! If anyone has taken a sip of a coffee, or drunk a beer, then ... well we are all drug users, and I don't think we are going to see an end to it! Deal with the real.

Experience

Worked in the field in Australia and Cambodia for 15 years. Psychologist with Clinical Masters. Two significant research projects on drug use (one on HIV risk and its link with trauma and one on drug related stigma). Presentation at two international conferences and two Australian conferences.

Organizations
Registered as a psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency.

Publications
Conference proceedings - IHRC 2004 (Chiang Mai), 2005 (Melbourne) & 2010 (Bangkok). Anex Conference 2005 (Melbourne) Stigma-Pleasure-Practice conference 2006 (Sydney).

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Arts (Humanities), Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), Masters of Psychology (Clinical). And a multitude of training courses including advanced first aid, pre & post test counselling accreditation for HIV, significant amount of training on hepatitis C, etc.

Awards and Honors
Have presented at international conferences including the International Harm Reduction Conferences in Chiang Mai Thailand; Melbourne, Australia and Bangkok, Thailand. Also national conferences in Sydney and Melbourne Australia.

Past/Present Clients
I maintain confidentiality about my clients.

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