The Lifestyle of An Addict – Part 1

Hello Everyone!  I am sure most of you know that I am the Mother of AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys.  It has taken me a while to think of an article to write for Half Full Magazine.  Since my son battles demons with drugs and alcohol everyday,  I felt it was my calling to spread awareness about this hideous disease.  This will be the first in a series of articles to do just that.
First I suggest that if you want to learn more about addiction take some time to view the film “The Anonymous People”, (Netflix has it).  According to statistics gathered by health organizations, there are over 8 million recovering addicts in this country.  Big number huh?  More that you thought?  With that in mind, would you believe there are still some people who are of the  belief that addiction is a character flaw???  Hello people, live in the now.  Substance abuse affects the pleasure center of the brain, releasing dopamine.  This creates a feeling of euphoria.  Dopamine is released normally when you do things like exercise, laugh or anything that gives you pleasure.  Unfortunately those predisposed to addiction (from genetics) seem to release less so they turn to drugs and/or alcohol to increase that same feeling.  Also a very high percentage of those affected have other conditions such as mental illness, depression, schizophrenia and the like.  Yes, I realize that  this is a very simplified explanation.
My reason for explaining this a bit is just this:  I know all too well that until I investigated my own family history I was not aware of the existence of addiction.  My advice for anyone who has a family member or loved one suffering with this disease is to check their family tree.  I bet you will find that there was at least one member of the family who also battled with addiction.   Hence a predisposition to substance abuse disorder.
My conclusion is that there are probably millions of households in this country with at least one member currently at war with drugs and/or alcohol.  Bad news?  Maybe, but the good news is that there are also changing attitudes towards recovery coming to the surface everyday.  My own career is one of those.  I have just received my state certification as a Recovery Support Specialist.  This is a position that I feel could potentially help hundreds of addicts who truly have the desire to break out of the cycle of abuse and live a normal, healthy life.  I will explain more in future articles, but for now please know that help is only a phone call away and if you simply take the step to ask for it, you can be on your own path to recovery.
For more information on Denise and addiction recovery: