The consequences of addiction cannot be taken lightly.
A story in chapter 6, “Into Action,” of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes a farmer coming out from the basement after a tornado. Upon emerging, he looks around to see destroyed buildings and excessive damage. His response is to shrug and say how great it is that the tornado stopped. Someone addicted to alcohol or drugs is much like a tornado. They tear through the lives of their loved ones, friends, and colleagues with little awareness of or regard for the damage they are creating.
Some addiction consequences are related to law enforcement.
It is very common for people in active addiction to have frequent run-ins with police. They may face fines for public intoxication, driving under the influence (DUI), or reckless behavior. They may even face jail time if their addiction leads them into criminal behavior (stealing or dealing drugs, for example).
Other addiction consequences can include loss of family, home, or other material possessions.
Family members of someone in active addiction may run out of patience with their loved one’s behavior. Trust is broken, and relationships can be damaged sometimes beyond repair. Parents suffering from addiction risk losing their children. As addiction worsens, people may lose their job and find themselves in financial ruin. When someone is addicted, all that matters to them is finding the next drink or drug dose. Their brain has been rewired to crave the substance above all else. Rent or mortgage payments fall by the wayside. Eviction and repossession or bankruptcy are very realistic addiction consequences.
Untreated addiction is like a whirlwind of destruction and chaos.
It takes time, even after the person gets the professional help they need, for things to calm down. More often than not, most of the damage can be repaired, although emotional, relational, and financial scars may linger. Addiction does not have to be your defining characteristic. If you are suffering, reach out to a trusted and accredited treatment facility that can help you get started on the road to recovery.