First off: I have a degree in Addictive Studies and worked as a Substance Abuse Counselor for a time. I also received treatment for alcohol abuse almost 30 years ago. I experimented with numerous different drugs when I was younger, also. So, when I’m talking about drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, I know what I’m talking about. For clarification on terms: “Addiction” means a set of maladaptive behaviors revolving around ANY substance. “Abuse” means just that, abusing ANY substance. And, “Dependence” means the person is physically dependent on ANY substance. Examples of the above terms would be: Using alcohol to avoid dealing with cruel words spoken by peers. Or lying about giving up coffee on a diet and then sneaking up to a coffee shop for a mug or six. Smoking cigarettes for 10 years, giving them up in a day and having no problems. A prescription of pain medications says, “Take 1 every 4 hours, by mouth”, you are crushing them and snorting the powder every 2 hours. I will be using the term “Addict” as a generalization for a person exhibiting any of the above problems.
OK. So. Now that that’s clear……
The obvious problem with having someone who’s addicted in your family is they are pretty much, completely, undependable! And you know I’m right about that!! Without proper treatment to address the underlaying reasons for the maladaptive behaviors the person’s chances of “recovery” are slim to none. When a disaster happens and pharmacies are closed, liquor stores are empty and all stores are out of tobacco products; where will the Addict find their “drug” of choice? I can’t see street level dealers having product for long and if currency is no good, how will the drugs be purchased? There’s a thought that should cost you sleep.
Let’s back up for a minute. Take a better look at what I wrote in the last paragraph. You and I both know that stores are going to be cleaned out of tobacco, beer, wine and liquor and probably even before the food is gone. Pharmacies will be cleaned out of anything that will get people high. Think about that for a minute. Think about the scenes of rioters smashing store windows and stealing everything they can get their hands on. New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, there was no power and those idiots were stealing flat-screen TVs and game consoles. Really??? Their houses were, more than likely, destroyed. Where were they planning on putting this stuff? This is the mentality of people that will be roaming the streets in every single large city in the country when the SHTF. And make no mistake, it will be hitting the end of summer or early fall. Add to those pricks all the Addicts who will be desperate for a fix, hit, drink or shot and things will be out of control. If law enforcement is still on the job, they will be badly out numbered. Will your Addict be among the Zombie Hoards roaming the city?
If your Addict does decide to quit, do you know what their withdrawals will be like? Caffeine will be just a headache and can be dealt with with a bottle of aspirin that has some caffeine. Central Nervous System Depressants, like opioids, Tylenol 3s or 4s, will be hyper. Usually. Central Nervous System Stimulants, like cocaine or meth, the person will sleep. Usually. However. Alcohol detox can be fatal, especially if the person has been abusing it for years. Heavy alcohol use can lead to seizures during detox. Are you equipped to deal with that?
If the Addict doesn’t want to quit, what will you be facing then? If they are an “alcoholic” and there’s a good stockpile of booze chances are they will be drinking. I’ve been there and dealt with them while I was counseling and the story is the same, if there’s something alcoholic to drink, they can’t help themselves they’ll drink. Same with any drug actually. If there’s a situation where your home/compound is being attacked; can you trust that they’ll be sober enough to pick up a gun and use it safely? Heavy users of alcohol will get real bad shakes even after a few hours of not drinking. They will not be able to handle a firearm at all. An opiate addict or someone abusing marijuana will be too “out of it” to be able to see clearly. I’ve been high on pot in my youth and I couldn’t focus enough to even see the TV right in front of me. When I was out of beer and cigarettes and low on money, I’d go out to my parent’s house and lie to mom to get money. Other people have done a lot worse.
During desperate and dangerous times, the last thing you need is a desperate person who is unable to think clearly at your back. Don’t think for one minute they’ll “get over it” or “get with the program”, they can’t and won’t. You can’t talk them down or out of it. You can’t “love them enough”, either. If any of those methods worked, we wouldn’t be talking about this now. This isn’t your fault (no matter what they say) and you are not responsible for them either (despite what they say). You’re best option is to get them into rehab right now, but that may not be possible.
What you may have to face is, during a disaster when you and your family are just barely hanging on and the Addict is taking time and resources away from your basic survival, they may have to go. Especially if the Addict is sneaking out and back in to obtain drugs. What if the Addict was on perimeter patrol and left to get drugs? That stretch of fence will be wide open, that will leave the rest of the group/family exposed to unimaginable danger.
Central Nervous System Stimulants can cause the abuser to become dangerously psychotic, I talked to meth users who told me they wouldn’t sleep for weeks. That kind of sleep deprivation leads to numerous psychological issues, like paranoia, hallucinations and violent outbursts. Not who I want in my house when there are major threats outside.
Even though I said you might have to kick the Addict out, I really am not telling you what to do. I was saying it is something you might have to do. How you handle your situation is up to you and your family/group to decide. This is also not a complete list of withdrawal symptoms, using behaviors or situations that an Addict can have, do, or create. Ultimately, my hope is that you do not have any form of an Addict within your family or group and that this has been a waste of your time to read. If that isn’t the case, you need to make an honest assessment of what you could be dealing with in the future. You need to do this sooner rather than later. Please.