Helplessness is a frightening feeling, and it goes hand-in-hand with addiction. Those who suffer from addiction feel helpless over their inability to control their drinking or drug use. Addicts are unlikely to admit the helplessness they experience because denial is the number one symptom of addiction. They believe they can stop any time they want to, despite the fact that numerous attempts to do so have proven unsuccessful. The more they fall subject to the whims of alcohol and drugs, the more desperate they will feel. They try to drown the feelings they are having with more alcohol and drugs; however, helplessness does not cause addiction. If anything, the reverse is true. Addicts begin to isolate themselves from their families and friends. They spiral down the rabbit hole, feeling unable to stop the momentum of addiction. Their families feel helpless, too, as they are unable to do or say the right thing to convince their loved one to quit drinking or using. Until the addict is able to reach out a hand for help, they are unlikely to find a solution. Helplessness often leads to depression, which may be diagnosed as a co-occurring disorder with substance abuse.
Family Members Feel Helpless, Too
Families of addicts feel helpless, too, and likely don’t know their options for helping their loved one. They try everything they can think of, including empty threats, bribes, and promises, only to feel disappointed time and time again. They build up resentment, which often leads to angry outbursts or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the cold shoulder. Family members and their addicted loved ones feel helpless because they are grappling with control issues. No one can control the thoughts, words, and actions of another person. Not only does this inability result in feeling helpless, it leads to manipulation and deceit. When the feelings of helplessness arise, the solution lies in seeking help. Contact an addiction professional to learn more and to find support.