A woman in recovery shared her story during a recent “The Way Out Recovery Hour” on KHTS, prompting a discussion about some “telltale signs” of addiction and how genetics can play a role by The Way Out Recovery SCV officials.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize how difficult it is to pull out of the grasp that addiction has on a person,” said Bob Sharits, program director at The Way Out Recovery SCV. “There’s a difference between somebody who has the ability to stop if they get in trouble and somebody who, if they’re in trouble, it makes it worse.”
Now six months clean and sober, Trisha sees the connection between genetics and her addiction, pointing out that she and her half brothers all followed in their father’s footsteps even though they never had a relationship with him.
“He left my mom and I before I was born,” she said. “I don’t have any contact with him, any kind of relationship with him, but I do know and have heard that he himself has major addiction problems.”
“That’s important for people to understand,” Sharits added. “Certainly environment plays a part … but an even bigger factor is the genetic process that takes place. And here’s an example of somebody that’s never met the person who they got their genes from, but yet that alcoholism transfers over.”
Trisha tried alcohol for the first time with friends when she was 13-14 years old, after having grown up with a stepfather who struggled with addiction.
“I had a lot of things happen when I was a young child and it made me for a long time very uncomfortable with myself. I was shy, I never felt in place, I just always wanted to fit in,” she recalled. “(When) I had that first drink … it allowed me to just — I felt like at the time — be myself, be fun, be outgoing. It just gave me a different identity that I really liked.”
Sharits noted he often hears those in recovery describe this type of feeling when looking back on their early experiences with drugs or alcohol.
“That’s a common thing we hear a lot in people describing their story is, ‘I felt like I was standing over here, and when I took those drinks or or when I did anything that made me feel different than I do all the time, it allowed me maybe just for a moment, but maybe for longer, to be a part of,’” Sharits said. “Alcohol or drugs becomes the solution to a problem that I don’t even know I have.”
Though Trisha did not drink every day, she found that she relied on alcohol more and more as grew up, to the point where much of her thoughts were focused on the next social gathering or party.
“It wasn’t something I would say I was addicted to at that point, but I definitely looked forward to the days we were going to drink,” she said. “There was nothing else I could think about but we were going to go out and we were going to get drunk.”
This could be seen as a sign that Trisha was getting addicted to alcohol, according to Sharits, who called it “renting space in your head.”
“It’s one thing to look forward to like, ‘My friends are having a party this weekend, cool,’” he said. “But when it rents space in your head and (you’re) thinking about, ‘I hope they have a keg there,’ or ‘I wonder what they’re going to be drinking there’ or ‘I better starting thinking about Uber now’ or whatever like five days ahead of time … that’s one of the signs.”
Trisha added that she took things one step further by meticulously planning the timing of when to begin drinking in an effort to “make it through” the whole party before passing out.
“That’s a telltale sign of early onset of alcoholism, is when I’m planning what I’m going to drink, how I’m going to drink, it’s renting space in my head,” Sharits said. “How I’m going to get away with it, how I’m going to get my fill, I hope there’s enough and if there’s not enough, I better bring my own… Those are telltale signs.”
Sharits continued, “The purpose of today’s show is so that listeners … can (hear) this and go, ‘Me too. Wow, what Trisha is talking about right now, I’ve experienced that. I may have a problem.’ And be able to take a look at that and get a hold on it.”
In Santa Clarita, drug issues are a major concern for many. The mission of the Santa Clarita rehab The Way Out Recovery SCV Drug and Alcohol Outpatient Treatment is to provide high quality, effective alcohol and drug outpatient treatment. The drug rehab’s goal is to assist adolescents, adults and their loved ones in becoming happily and usefully whole, free from drug addiction. Those seeking Santa Clarita drug treatment or a teen drug rehab can rest assured that The Way Out Recovery’s philosophy is to teach lifelong coping skills and strategies to assist in improving quality of life and living happily and meaningfully without the need of destructive behaviors.
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