When individuals use, they find temporary relief from negative emotions such as anxiety, tension, anger, sadness or boredom. In addition they develop a belief that using drugs or alcohol helps them to reduce the frustrations and stressors in life. The primary reason to continue using is that people find relief (Beck et al., 1993).
For individuals with a difficult life, sometimes using drugs and alcohol actually makes life seem better. There are people who have extremely difficult lives. They experience poverty, violence, abuse, depression, anxiety, and a sense of not knowing who they are. At certain times and stages in life, such as adolescence, individuals feel the changes occurring in their lives are out of their control. When they take drugs and alcohol, they experience their difficult life as not so difficult. They feel more in control, more positive. With drug or alcohol use, they experience short periods of time when their life actually feels good.
Using boosts confidence. Individuals with low self-confidence find taking drugs or alcohol boosts their self-esteem in the short-run. This is a very common reason for alcohol use. Why do some people want a drink when they go out socially? Many drink because alcohol eases things. It eases the tension, lowers inhibitions, and causes people to be less sensitive to their internal fears. They become more confident for a little while. As people with low self-confidence continue to use alcohol and drugs, it becomes a temporary solution to more and more difficult situations.
Using gives people admission to new social groups in which using is the only requirement to be a part of the group. If you want to be part of a social group that uses, you can go to bars, raves, clubs, lounges, pubs, parks, or any place where alcohol and multiple substances are used and sold. It’s an easy way to get social acceptance.
Identify the reasons on the following list that kept you using and add your own unique reasons:
As you go through this book, you will learn positive solutions to meet the needs that alcohol and drugs met in your life.