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Cross Addiction and Drug Treatment

Part 1 of 3

Most addicts who frequently relapse with an alcohol and drug addiction, even those who participate in drug treatment at a treatment facility, tend to believe their addiction doesn’t cover anything beyond their drug of choice. There seems to be a denial to the fact a ‘drug is a drug is a drug,’ even if they’ve been taught this in a drug treatment facility. Time and time again, people with addiction tendencies and issues also have problems with all classes of addictive substances. In short, if an addict has a problem with cocaine he or she will most often have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.

It’s important to note here that not everyone stops using on their first attempt, even with the help of a drug treatment facility. Often times multiple relapses occur because the person feels they have their addiction under control. When their thinking turns in this direction they quickly begin to believe controlled use of alcohol or other drugs is completely possible. Numerous relapses do happen, however, when the person also believes that their drug of choice is off limits. They might believe they went to drug treatment for an opiate addiction but they can drink alcohol safely. As it might not happen immediately, a relapse back to the old pattern is imminent.

Even if someone has great long-term recovery from alcohol and/or drug addiction this doesn’t mean they are safe from relapse. It’s typical afterwards they can trace their path back to something as innocent as a drug prescribed by their doctor for pain, anxiety, or lack of sleep. (Sometimes resentments build, but that’s something we can cover in a later blog piece.) Another important note here is that any addictive drug of any class can lead to a new addiction for an addict. You must tell your doctor you’re an addict, even if your drug of choice is NOT prescription medication.

This type of addiction is the essence of cross-addiction, and here is a perfect example of how insidious the disease of addiction can be.

A person in alcohol recovery, long or short term, steps off a curb and twists his knee – the pain is intense and he visits his doctor. An MRI is done and surgery is needed to repair whatever damage is done. During the periods before, during and after the surgery a strong pain reliever like Vicodin is prescribed. Two situations might occur here: one, the recovering alcoholic is nervous and takes less than prescribed and when the pain gets to be too much begins taking more than is necessary to ‘catch up’ to the dosage required; or two, the recovering alcoholic takes as prescribed but then he might consider taking just a bit more even if the pain doesn’t warrant the uptick in frequency.

This is a text book case of someone who is doing well as a recovering alcoholic starting down a path to developing a cross addiction and a full relapse.

Check back tomorrow from Part 2 of 3 in this “Cross Addiction and Drug Treatment” blog series.

Recovery Rob BIO

Recovery Rob is a 47-year-old man who has more than nineteen years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Having just recently launched his own website, Ask Recovery Rob, he hopes to reach out and continue to help others who work through their process of addiction and recovery. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.