In the euphoria of a drug high, it may be next to impossible to see any downfall in your current lifestyle. But when you do come down, as you inevitably will, keep the following list handy and refer to it when the drug cloud lifts sufficiently for you to understand how badly drugs are destroying your self image. Whatever your drug of choice, whether alcohol, crack cocaine or other street drug, or prescription drugs used for non-medical purposes, you’re playing with fire when it comes to jeopardizing an all-important element of your psyche – your self esteem. Here are some ways that drugs work their insidious tentacles into your life, thoroughly destroying your self image.
- Drugs slow your reaction time – The result may be that you say things that people find laughable, and they may humiliate you or call you stupid or other names.
- Alcohol and drugs can cause you to speak in halted, incoherent or babbling and nonsensical phrases – contributing to the impression that you’re out of your mind or not to be taken seriously.
- Drugs can cause you to forget important dates, leading to rifts in family or friendships.
- Drugs and alcohol can cause you to get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), fights, or other felonious or misdemeanor actons.
- Drugs and alcohol cn cause you to lose interest in your appearance. The result is that when you look in the mirror, you appear slovenly, disheveled, with torn or ripped, dirty clothes that are often mismatched. In short, you look like a bum – who’d want to be around you. This is bound to batter your self esteem.
- You may lose your job as a result of using drugs and/or alcohol. When you can no longer provide for your family or yourself, this is a serious blow to your self image.
- Your marriage or life partnet may dump you because you are no longer tolerable. Or you may be disowned by your family due to your drug-using ways.
- If you’re constantly high, you may fail at an important project. This could easily happen due to your lack of follow-through, missed meetings and appointments, sloppy inattention to detail and carelessness.
- Serious injury to others may occur when you drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Your self image may never recover from the knowledge that you were responsible for so much pain and suffering to others.
- Drugs and alcohol are known to cause significant changes in personality. Where you formerly were outgoing and genial, you may become withdrawn and suspicious. Serious personality disorders are also possible, including psychosis. How would you feel knowing that you have been diagnosed as mentally unstable? Continuing to do drugs and alcohol puts you at serious risk for mental illness.
- Mood swings, sometimes violent, often occur with chronic abuse of drugs and alcohol. While these may be comic in the movies, they’re not at all funny when it happens to you. Worst of all, you can’t control them when you’re under the influence of alcohol and drugs. People start to shun you, fearing that you may do harm.
- You may start to question your sanity as your irrational thinking leads you further into self-destructive behavior. You wake up in strange surroundings, covered in vomit, with no memory of where you’ve been, who you were with, or what you did. How’s that for contributing to a low self image? You’ve probably been there – or you’re going to be.
- To support your habit, you may gradually move into committing crimes. This may start off as stealing from your friends and family and quickly escalate into more serious burglaries, forgeries and theft. As you rationalize to yourself that it’s only a little, and these people won’t miss it, or some other lame excuse, you slowly but surely pile on self loathing and lack of respect for yourself.
- When you raise your hand in anger and follow through with physical abuse of your loved ones, it’s most likely a consequence of being too long on the path of self-destruction with alcohol and drugs. You’ve become the person you hate most – and you hate yourself so much you’d rather die than go on. So, you continue to use to block everything out.
- When you’ve lost everything you ever valued – your home, your family, your friends, your job, even any interest in life – you’re at your lowest ebb. Your self image is completely shattered – all this because of your drug and alcohol abuse.
Reading through this list has probably struck a painful nerve or two. It should. But what you do now is critical. There is nothing so bad about yesterday that working to change it today for a better tomorrow can’t cure. Reach out for help. Resolve to get clean and sober. Call a drug or alcohol hotline, research treatment options, go to a 12-step support meeting – or do all of these. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help you find a drug or alcohol treatment center. Call (800) 662-HELP or visit their website. Remember, the first step is acknowledgment you have a problem. The second is to commit to change. The third step is to work to make it happen. Believe in yourself, and keep moving forward. Your self image will continue to improve each day of your future in recovery.