A grenade launder as well as a number of other weapons and 30 marijuana plants were seized in a drug bust in Monmouth County last month, a result of an investigation into whether or not the home, located on Route 34, was the site of a marijuana grow operation. Charges included possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana, operation of a marijuana grow facility, possession of weapons while involved with drug distribution, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, and possession of a destructive device.
Drug and weapons seizures like these are the norm for New Jersey. Unfortunately, use and abuse of illicit substances as well as the use of illegal force in that process are par for the course in many neighborhoods.
The result is that many people have normalized the use of drugs and alcohol as well, seeing the signs of a substance use disorder as little to worry about and nothing that requires treatment of any kind. Unfortunately, this means that too many people are living with a lower quality of life than they could be if they got the help they needed to get the problem under control.
Is someone you love struggling with a drug abuse problem? Are you?
Signs of a Substance Use Disorder
There are a number of indications that someone is struggling with a drug or alcohol abuse problem, or even addiction, but these signs may vary considerably depending on the drug or drugs of choice and the individual person.
In general, however, there are a number of issues that can arise when someone’s focus shifts to regular, heavy drug and alcohol use. Some behaviors or changes that can indicate a problem include:
- Extreme moodiness or changes in personality
- Chronic health problems associated with drug use and abuse even if the person attributes the symptoms to other things
- Often being without money or asking to borrow money
- Having problems at work due to being late, missing work, or being unable to perform well
- Avoiding family and close friends who do not use drugs
- Not keeping commitments
- Reacting strongly when asked about drug or alcohol use
- Lying about how much has been ingested or if they are under the influence
- Hiding alcohol and drugs around the house, at work, or in the car
- Stealing money or lying about money
When It’s Time to Get Help
It is time to get help when the use of drugs and alcohol begins to cause problems, and the person is unable to stop drinking or getting high. Addiction is a disease, and long-term use of mind-altering substances can effectively alter the function of the brain. This can translate into increased difficulty in managing compulsive behaviors, a decrease in cognitive function, and a slew of health problems.
Because substance use disorders occur on a spectrum, there is a range of treatment services and programs that can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of the individual. This means that even when addiction (e.g., both a physical and psychological dependence) is not in evidence, there are a number of treatment options that can be effective in helping someone to learn how to stop drinking and using drugs and get back on track.
When is it time to explore your options in treatment if it is not clear that you are living with a full-blown addiction? When you find that the consequences outweigh any of the “benefits” of using alcohol or other substances and that you would like to do everything possible to improve your overall health and wellness as well as your quality of life.
Creating a New Normal
One of the benefits of recovery is that you have the opportunity to create a new version of what is normal and what is not in your own life. Though you may not be able to impact whether or not stories of drug busts and weapons seizures continue to show up in the news, you can create a life for yourself that is not peppered with blacking out while drinking, struggling with hangovers after bingeing on drugs and alcohol, fighting through cravings for your substance of choice, or working to appear like you are okay and functional in front of friends, family, and coworkers when you are not.
What will your new “normal” look like? How will you define your life without drugs and alcohol?
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