It may be difficult to recognize drug or alcohol abuse, but when left untreated the consequences of drugs and alcohol abuse undermines everything you care about. Like an aggressive form of cancer, drug and alcohol abuse infects every aspect of your life. Sometimes minor consequences are the catalyst for someone to address his or her issues with a substance problem. Others slip deeper into a life addiction, and do not seek help until they hit rock bottom. Understanding the detrimental effects of drug and alcohol abuse to your finances, work, and relationships will help you recognize your problem and take the first steps to recovery.
The first of many consequences is the drain people’s finances. Everyone experiences the stresses associated with money, but for those who abuse drugs or alcohol, their habit further compounds financial issues. They frequently accumulate debt, steal money from others, and choose their substance over more basic needs like food or utility bills. This is why people with addictions often end up in debt, engage in criminal activities, or homeless. Drug and alcohol abuse risks not only your ability to support yourself, but can destroy relationships. You are choosing that substance over everything else, including your loved ones. They are suffering from your financial choices and can become mistrustful of you.
The consequences of drug and alcohol abuse are unavoidable. There is no such thing as a high functioning alcoholic or drug abuser- anyone who abuses substances is not functioning to their highest potential. Drug and alcohol abuse adversely affects your work, and this can have far-reaching implications. Your addiction can tarnish your professional reputation, sabotage a promising career, and eliminate your income altogether. While you may be able to rescue your professional life from collapsing, the longer you abuse alcohol or drugs, the less likely that is to happen. For those who are fortunate enough to love their jobs, your professional lives are an integral part of your identity. Abuse not only risks your job and income, but also a part of your self. For those who are not happy with their employment, drug or alcohol abuse will not make your situation better. It is hard to find a better job or choose a different career path if drugs and/or alcohol compromise your work performance.
One of the more overlooked consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, is the strain put on your relationships at multiple levels. Ultimately, these connections can be ruined for good. Professional relationships deteriorate as your addiction puts projects, clients, and co-workers at financial or physical risk. Friends notice the drastic changes drugs and alcohol have on you body and personality. Most importantly, your family can only handle your substance abuse for so long. It is only a matter of time before all your relationships break away from your addiction. As a consequence of your drug or alcohol abuse, your employer will fire you, your friends will stop enabling you, your family will take away your child custody, and even kick you out of their house. Drugs and alcohol can reshape your life’s path, leading you deeper into dark places that put you physically and emotionally at risk. Don’t lose the support system of people that value and love you, and want to lead you away from your addiction.
Substance abuse is actually about abusing yourself. It is self-imposed emotional and physical abuse that damages everything and everyone around you. The fall-out can be enormous, but it can be contained and avoided. First, recognize that punishing yourself also punishes everyone around you. Then admit that nobody, including yourself, deserves that kind of treatment. The consequences of drug and alcohol abuse are numerous and far-reaching, but so are the opportunities to receive help. Avoid hurting yourself and others any more than you already have, and get help in treating your drug or alcohol abuse.