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10 Truths People with Substance Disorder Tell

father comes home unwell family at table

In case you missed this piece in our WHAT’S NEWS feature, I thought I’d give you the bullet version. It is rare to read something comforting about our Loved Ones. I, for one, appreciated these insights.

Patricia Lincourt, LCSW, has worked with people struggling with substance abuse for over 20 years. She says that most of them defy the stereotypes we typically have. Below is a recap of 10 truths she has heard patients expressing, time and time again. The full article is linked here.

–  "I know I have a problem with substances."

–  "I am sorry for the pain I cause others as a result of my substance use."  

–  "I have experienced trauma and have difficulty managing emotions."

–  "I have tried to quit or cut down many times."

–  "I listen to your concerns when you express them."

–  "I am scared to think about what life might be like without substances."

–  "I have a lot of ambivalence about continuing to use."

–  "I am embarrassed by what I see as a lack of strength or willpower."

–  "I am responsible for my actions under the influence or sober and should be held accountable for them."

–  "I have a disorder like any other medical disorder."



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)

  1. I’m new to this site, so please forgive my lack of understanding.
    My loved one is in rehab and is first to say he has a medical disorder – but I have yet to hear I am sorry for the emotional pain, the stealing, and the on-going lying. He has no accountability!

    When he tells me he is “in jail” (rehab) because he’ll lose all contact with his kids and that’s the only reason he is there. I feel overwhelmed. I don’t feel that he is there to rehab for himself. I just don’t trust that this will work.

    My sibling drives for a medi-taxi that often takes the clients to doctor appointments off campus and her clients tell her this place everyone just talks about getting high and the first thing they will do when they leave. This makes me quite nervous.

    He has been in this facility for about 10 days – hoping for the best. He was able to call me about 3 days after he was in, and told me the treatment was 3-6 weeks depending on his case manager. He lives upstairs from me and I know that 3 weeks is not long enough, also in 2 weeks I’m leaving the country for about 2 weeks and feel that if he comes home and nobody is there he will be in the very same situation. Not that I controlled anything while he was using.

    How would I keep him out of the house (my house) where he lives upstairs when I’m out of the country??? any suggestions???

    He’s an expert at lying. I believed everything he ever told me. I did not know not to.

    I went through his ‘stuff’ upstairs, removed all drug paraphernalia, tossed all the bullets – didn’t find a gun – but I’m almost positive that he has one in the many locked safes upstairs.

  2. “I have a disorder like any other medical disorder.”

    “But they won’t give me what I need to deal with it.”
    “So It’s not like it’s actually my fault.”
    “You’re not taking me to the right doctor.”
    “It’s not like I can cure it.”

    My frustration with the last one is that it gets used as an excuse rather than a statement that they are willing to acknowledge as a self-issue that can be managed and addressed. I listened to my daughter chastise her boyfriend for using and OD’ing in her arms (he made it through) and “how could he do that to her” when she was using too, and it could have as easily been her parents and sister with her in our arms!

    In detox tonight.

    It’s not my fault!
    I have no control over it!
    I can’t fix her!