Can people change or once an addict always an addict?

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    Jun 27, 2010 10:17 PM GMT
    So I pose this question in light of some circumstances that happened in my family. To sum it up, my grandmother's money was pretty much stolen from her by my Aunt (who has had drug problems in the past) and put into real estate investments that went astray. Now aside from the moral issues of doing just that, my brother said something that was interesting to me.

    "Well, it was a bad idea to place her in that position in the first place, once someone is an addict, they display addict like qualities the rest of their lives."

    He was referring to compulsion, manipulation, and scheming. It got me wondering, are drug addicts these qualities due to the nature of being themselves or is it the drug that makes them act that way?

    Also, once an addict, are you always an addict?

    Just want some thoughts on it, thanks.
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    Jun 27, 2010 10:36 PM GMT
    I think it's mostly the drugs that cause the compulsive behavior. But there are people out there that have compulsive personalities from the start, and the drugs just made it worse.

    I know a few people that have gone through recovery. I think the key thing to keep them clean is a solid recovery and support system. Without that, it's pretty easy for them to slip back in to their old ways.

    I don't know the details of your aunt and how she got the money, but she could be like what your brother said. Or maybe she genuinely made some poor investment decisions along the way. She's not alone. There are hundreds/thousands of people out there that thought they could get rich in real estate. Then the banks/economy took a dump and all those houses dropped in value.

    I hope things work out for your family.
  • GQjock

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    Jun 27, 2010 11:20 PM GMT
    When it comes to addictions ..... you can curb the behaviors but
    Yes .... once an addict always an addict
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    Jun 27, 2010 11:25 PM GMT
    It also applies to compulsive behaviors in other mental conditions, such as eating disorders. Once you actually cross into a disorder (and the classification of one is such a gray spectrum you can only analyze each specific case of what actually applies as an eating disorder, as opposed to "disordered eating" and yes there are differences) you can only keep it under control, never eliminate it. You can certainly keep it under control to such a great degree there are no signs it even exists, but it will always, always be there. I can attest first-hand.
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    Jun 27, 2010 11:43 PM GMT
    I think those qualities were probably present before a drug addiction, and probably contributed to the development of that addiction in the first place. It's just easier to notice those things once someone is under the suspicion of being a known addict.
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    Jun 27, 2010 11:47 PM GMT
    once youve been an addict, any psychological condition might potentially cause a relapse.
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    Jun 27, 2010 11:48 PM GMT
    i would say that people can change...its just that its harder for them to stay away from their preferred drug of choice. Each day is a struggle to them. One should def not put these individuals in areas where they might wind up being tempted so i am afraid your uncle was correct. The situation also gets worse if the person is alone and doesn't really have that support system.
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    Jun 27, 2010 11:51 PM GMT
    Some people just don't have normal wiring in their brains and they will always be screwed up. I think addictions are real for a lot of people, but I think a lot of them are backed up by character flaws and those who want to have their cake and eat it to. Some people just don't want to play by the rules, which is why they find themselves in precarious situations.
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    Jun 28, 2010 12:59 AM GMT
    lawguy920 saidSome people just don't have normal wiring in their brains and they will always be screwed up. I think addictions are real for a lot of people, but I think a lot of them are backed up by character flaws and those who want to have their cake and eat it to. Some people just don't want to play by the rules, which is why they find themselves in precarious situations.


    That is absolutely the MOST ignorant statement yet!!! Character flaws??
    I would truly LOVE to know where you get this absurd information...
    what credentials do you have to pass such judgment. I already know the answer... obviously NONE!!
    If YOU haven't walked in an addicts shoes, then keep your friggin' mouth SHUT!
    I have been in recovery for over 20 years... and have had countless hours of first hand education on the cause and effect of addictions... drugs, alcohol, eating, gambling...you name it, I've seen it and been a part of recovery in every scenario.

    And, Charlitos, my handsome young man... what experience do YOU have with addiction??

    Yes, it is said: Once an addict, always an addict. The difference is ONLY whether or not you are a PRACTICING addict.. meaning, still using.
    As for OCD (look it up, moron)....that is a whole different subject and NO, it is NOT caused by drugs!! I have known AND counseled many with OCD who have never in their entire lives touched alcohol OR drugs.
    I could go on... but it would serve no purpose to the ignorant who post such stupid, uneducated comments!!! icon_exclaim.gif
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    Jun 28, 2010 1:05 AM GMT
    I've not had first hand exprience, but I say that those behaviors could have always been their though very minor before the drug use. After the drug use ended, I thing a person always will be embattled with themselves to counter addiction. So they may have moments where they use the same behaviors as they did when they were using.

    Could also be a transfer of addictions, instead of drugs it's now taking advantage of ppl or money.

    I think the best thing is to sit down and have a honest heart to heart if possible.
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    Jun 28, 2010 7:03 AM GMT
    Not always an ACTIVE addict, but certainly can never use any drugs again. Based on the very limited information given about the situation, it sounds like your aunt was trying to do something positive with the money, even if she (possibly) went about it the wrong way. It doesn't seem to be addict-like behavior.
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    Jun 28, 2010 7:15 AM GMT
    Yes people can change... i had a relative who suffered addiction, lost his job and everything... and is now completely off and has been succesfully so and working for years now
  • HOTWEILLER

    Posts: 347

    Jun 28, 2010 7:53 AM GMT
    I never had an experience very close to me in my family so i cannot judge or do a comment relative to my experiences, since i never lived it.

    But i think that Nobody can blame your mother for trying to help your aunt. She did her best, she did her part and this is how we must live our lives, trying to help and support the best way we think we can.

    Someday for sure your aunt will wake up for life and will see that she lost everyone/everything that was around her and then she will notice the way she self destroyed.

    Step by Step the way your mommy thinks will change and she will feel tired and unmotivated to keep helping your aunt, just let her see she already did all that she could do by herself, i mean. Sometimes people must wake up alone...
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jun 28, 2010 7:59 AM GMT
    I'm so far down the line you'll never read this, so why do I bother?, but yes there is a correlation between addictions. Compulsive masturbators can become EBay buyers, shopaholics, internet addicts and all the other bad stuff.
  • barriehomeboy

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    Jun 28, 2010 8:07 AM GMT
    Maybe you need to move to Nova Scotia. Nobody does drugs there. You might find some people as insecure as you, in a support group, and go watch whales, or something.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jun 28, 2010 8:09 AM GMT
    We forgot nature, in all that 1980s child rearing nurturing. The kid is not the centre of the universe. That's what's wrong with you now. Shut the fuck up and do something that makes the world better instead of whining about you.
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    Jun 28, 2010 8:40 AM GMT
    Once and addict, always an addict - but they can change. It doesn't mean they can drink and drug again, but they can put it behind and get on with a normal life.

    Yes, even potheads!
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    Jun 28, 2010 9:01 AM GMT
    Barrie:

    You, I like.
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    Jun 28, 2010 9:55 AM GMT
    Chainers saidIt got me wondering, are drug addicts these qualities due to the nature of being themselves or is it the drug that makes them act that way?


    Depends on the drug and depends on the neurological make up of the person's brain, and their physical reactions. One person can be more resistant to a drug's influences than another. One drug can have overall a stronger influence than another drug. There is no simple general answer to this question.
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    Jun 28, 2010 10:13 AM GMT
    I managed to quit smoking more than 6 years ago, after a decade of smoking, and have never felt better. But I don't lecture those that still do - the only advice I give when asked, is that it has to be right for you. You can be given all the medical advice in the world, but until the day comes when you decide enough is enough, you won't be able to stop. So, I'd say that some habits (or addictions) can be changed if you have the willpower.

    Getting me off chocolate is a whole other problem!

    On the flip side to that, I lived in Liverpool in the UK for 10 years. I was burgled twice in two months by smack heads desperate for another fix. Those people that are content to feed their addiction instead of seeking help, I have no sympathy for to be brutally honest. Stealing from friends and family is a common theme for long term addicts though, and nobody seemed terribly concerned in getting them off their habit.

    That's just from personal experience...
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    Jun 28, 2010 10:21 AM GMT
    People can change. But how deep does this person go...?

    Relieving the symptom ("I will stop compulsive use of: booze or drugs or money/credit cards or false appearance/stealing/lying...") does not mean one has resolved the internal self esteem issues that lie at the root of same self-hating behavior ("I will stop hurting my Self.")

    I believe that is why it is commonly felt, "once an addict always an addict."

    It is not that people cannot change for the better. We can. But as humans we are imperfect and emotionally prone to triggering habitual behavior.

    Honesty is the key!



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 28, 2010 4:16 PM GMT
    Hey everyone thanks for the responses, there are a lot of interesting ideas here about addiction and addicts as well, and I appreciate the insight.

    Also, to those who are offering me advice on my family situation, it is much more screwed up than just an addict taking money, and I am not touching that thing with a 10 foot pole. It will work itself out, but family and money shouldn't really get involved in the first place.
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    Jun 28, 2010 4:27 PM GMT
    I believe that people can have addictive personalities naturally, and then when you add drug usage it only makes the matter much worse.
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    Jun 28, 2010 5:33 PM GMT
    EXILE said: "if you have the willpower."

    Another idiotic remark from a totally uninformed person who chooses to judge what he obviously knows nothing about..
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    Jun 28, 2010 5:45 PM GMT
    Absolutely, addicts can, and indeed do, change with a lot of hard work and support.... I know because I'm one of them. Today, I've been sober for fourteen years and I am VERY grateful that I am not living the way that I used to live and doing the things I used to do when alcohol was the center of my existence.

    Even so, I still think that if I ever tried to drink again just to see what it would be like, I would be back to daily drinking and doing whatever I had to do to get my daily drink. And the reason for it is simple, I think: because my THINKING about drinking is different from those folks who can "drink like a normal person." Social drinking confuses me.... always has. I could never understand why you would drink alcohol unless you wanted to get drunk.... felt that way when I was drinking and still feel that way today. The way I saw it, the whole purpose of drinking was to get 'faced. A good wine, in my mind, was the one that got you hammered the quickest. And I always had a lot of antipathy towards people who left an unfinished drink on the bar, or said things like "Oh I'd better slow down now 'cuz I am starting to feel it..." I used to get mad at them and want to shout "Dude, you're SUPPOSED to feel it! What the hell is wrong with you?!" I don't get that disgruntled with them anymore, but people like that still are weird to me.

    So no, I don't act like an active addict anymore, but I know my own mind when it comes to alcohol... I have not forgotten that my mind doesn't think about drinking in terms of "enjoying a beverage." And with a mind like that, I don't think I ever COULD drink safely in the future... not that I ever did in the past. I think that's what the real essence of "once an alcoholic always an alcoholic" is really all about. It's not that people will never change their behavior; it's that even after the behavioral change takes place, the thinking that went on behind it needs to be monitored. I don't live in fear of alcohol or drinking... luckily I don't have to anymore. However, one of the things I have to do to stay sober is remember that that kind of thinking is still there.