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Tough Love vs Enabling: How to Draw the Line

Tough Love vs Enabling: How to Draw the Line

The crisis that is drug and alcohol addiction in this country has now grown considerably more and more concerning to the point of being a full on epidemic. Substance abuse, drug abuse and addiction, and alcohol addiction, all combined, have created a devastating health issue. One of which really does need to be addressed and effectively resolved in such a way that people are able to find freedom, stability, and safety from drugs and alcohol. 

The subject of enabling and enablement, as opposed to tough love, has certainly come up a lot in recent years. Particularly since drug and alcohol addiction has created a type of situation in which people are constantly trying to “help” addicts get better and provide to them some form of care or assistance in the addict’s supposed quest for “betterment and sobriety.” While a great deal will be said in this article about enabling and tough love, first it is important that the reader have a good idea and understanding of just how bad drug and alcohol addiction has gotten in this country:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), anywhere from eighty thousand to one hundred and twenty thousand Americans die each and every year as a result of drug and alcohol abuse. This usually breaks down to about forty thousand to sixty thousand drug addicts and about sixty thousand to eighty thousand alcohol addicts dying from their substance abuse habits. 
  • We can see that substance abuse is very, very deadly. Just with heroin for example, (which by the way is not considered to be the most addictive or deadly substance out there) the numbers are very concerning. For example, studies show that heroin causes about fifty percent of those who try it just once to actually become addicted to it too. 
  • Going forward, studies also show that about twenty-five percent of people who become addicted to heroin will actually end up dying from it. What this means is that, the moment a person tries heroin for the very first time, they literally just created a situation in which they now, as a human being, have a one in eight chance of dying from a heroin overdose at some point in their lives. 
  • The CDC has also reported that drug and alcohol abuse is now the single most concerning health problem in the United States simply because of the sheer number of people who are affected by it. Statistically speaking, people who start using drugs and alcohol are far more likely to die from them than from any other preventable cause of death except for two others. 
  • In fact, drug and alcohol abuse and addiction are now the third leading causes of preventable death in people, behind only obesity and smoking, which is at the top. The scary thing about drug and alcohol abuse is that it rose to be the most concerning substance abuse problem very quickly, creating a situation in which people are now dying from these substances in much greater numbers than they were not that long ago.
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly two hundred thousand Americans are able to beat drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and achieve permanent and lasting sobriety each and every year in the United States. 
  • This is phenomenally good news, and would normally be met with great appreciation, but the problem is that it is not nearly good enough. Conversely, the same organization also found out that roughly four hundred thousand people become newly addicted to drugs and alcohol each and every year. That is to say that more than double the number of Americans becomes addicted annually for every one person who gets clean. Looking at this from a similar angle, it can be seen that this problem is one in which we are taking one step forward and two steps backwards.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is becoming a much more concerning and worrisome problem for young adults, kids, tweens, teens, and adolescents. This is to say that the youth of the generation struggles now far more with substance abuse problems than they ever did before. 
  • The grim and unpleasant truth here is that drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse in general is a cruel and debilitating issue for youngsters. Case in point, studies show that young adults are statistically speaking most likely to abuse their first drug at the age of sixteen.  Sixteen! 
  • In the 1990s, the age of first ever abuse of a drug was twenty-two. Kids are abusing drugs and alcohol at much younger ages, which in turn is having very dangerous and concerning effects on their overall health and vitality.
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