A task is put off, a meeting is missed, a deadline is pushed to next week. These are seemingly inconsequential actions in the moment, but in time they can add up, accumulate, cause pressure, stress, anxiety, and tremendous stress. The pulse of procrastination can create a tendency to keep these patterns of neglect continuing on, especially if there aren’t negative consequences, or if they haven’t become too devastating. It can be tempting to see what corners can be cut, what we can get away with, or how long a responsibility can be avoided.
Many of us struggle with patterns of self-sabotage or getting in our own way, but we are able to turn things around before the situation becomes too dire. For those of us struggling with substance use disorder, problems can pile up rapidly, and instead of stepping up, making a change, or following through, we are frozen in horror by the wildfire of destruction that is spreading across our life. It might feel like any action we take only seems to make matters worse.
Why Are Problems Made Worse and How Do They Pile up so Quickly?
- Problems can be made worse if an individual doesn’t have a healthy support system of friends, family, mental health professionals, or a recovery community. Without these healing networks, it can feel impossible to set a foundation for positive change, problem-solving, health and wellbeing. If we don’t feel cared for, invested in, or loved, it can be hard to want to address problems, so they are left to accumulate.
- If someone is struggling with substance abuse, the consequences of addiction can be much more devastating and long-lasting. For example, job loss can result from someone being unable to show up for work due to their substance use. Without a job, and an inability to pay the bills, housing insecurity or homelessness can result. Relationships can be greatly harmed or destroyed by substance use as well. If a romantic partnership or marriage ends, it can lead to depression, housing insecurity (if the user needs to move), isolation, and loneliness. To cope, someone might keep using to deal with their job loss, housing loss, or a broken heart.
- Problems can compound through unconscious patterns of self-sabotage. If we are not used to life working out, part of us may unknowingly allow problematic situations to continue or grow worse. We may not even be fully aware that we are doing it, especially if we have only known chaos, are used to high stress, high intensity, or traumatic circumstances. It can be easier to stay in a known state of self-sabotage once we become overwhelmed by compounded issues.
- Problems can be compounded as well due to the influence of peers, family members, or friends. Even if someone is working to better themselves, they can succumb to pressure from others to not make any changes and stay in the situation they are in. Additionally, problems can be compounded if we take on the issues our friends and family members are dealing with. It can be challenging to set limits and boundaries with loved ones, and personal problems can compound through continued neglect, if someone is focusing on another person’s life and not their own.
- Someone struggling with a substance use disorder could be addicted to intensity or hooked in a toxic relationship because they are their only source of love, affection, and attention. If these unmet emotional needs continue to be met in unhealthy ways, problems will accumulate, and the sick cycle of dependency will perpetuate.
- Problems can be compounded with a substance use disorder because someone will be in a state of continuously needing to cope with mental health issues, symptoms associated with their addiction, challenging situations, and painful losses. This is a downward spiral, where every response to an event or experience causes more harm, and the coping techniques end up being just as destructive as the problem.
- Procrastination, putting things off, or ignoring responsibilities is a confused response to needing space for ourselves. It could be how we think we are buying back time. What we really need to do is set limits and boundaries, say no, or ask for help. It can be vulnerable to do these things, so problems pile up instead.
- Problems might accumulate due to a negative experience that was had at an inpatient, recovery facility, or treatment center. If an individual has trauma or PTSD from it, they may be less likely to ask for help or try again, which will cause the situation to become more complicated as problems compound.
If an individual is struggling with a substance use disorder, they might not know, remember, or have learned the skills or steps to make positive changes. They also might not have ever fully learned or processed cause and effect, or ever truly understood the consequences of their actions. If someone lacks this foresight, they might be more likely to keep their problematic behavior going.
Additionally, it can be vulnerable or scary to ask for help. Many people might not know who they can ask for help, and they may believe that they can’t be helped. If a starting point isn’t clear, known, or understood, it can seem easier to let problems grow and spread.
If you are seeking support for substance use, and are wanting to find empowering, sustainable, and healthy solutions to life’s problems, contact us at Ashley Addiction Treatment. We are committed to walking the path of recovery by your side and will provide comprehensive and therapeutic support every step of the way. Our calm and serene campus is located on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, in Northern Maryland, and there you will feel safe, seen, and held as you embark on the brave and beautiful path to healing. You deserve a life where stressful situations are seen as manageable, and where your mind, heart, and spirit experience a deep sense of well-being, joy, and peace.
For more information, or to take the next steps, contact us at 800-799-4673.