Rethinking alcohol addiction: not a lack of willpower, but a mental disorder
In fact, the isolation forced Sharon Ong, 53, another recovering addict who spoke to CNA, to start drinking. When caring for elderly family members, it was an “extremely isolating” experience.
She remembers âliterally swallowingâ at the start of drinking sessions because she was in a rush to get âa buzzâ – but it wasn’t a buzz about being high or happy.
âIt’s not that the alcohol tastes so wonderful. After the first sip, you feel really bad if you drink out of compulsion. Most of the time, I suspect people drink because they don’t want to feel, âshe explained.
“I feel sympathy for myself at that time because I was literally swallowing so that I could get to a point where I didn’t feel or worry anymore.”
As a result, for people to successfully heal and struggle with addiction, they need to connect with others, explained Singh, who found his turning point and ârecovery ecosystemâ in a church.
When another recovering drug addict explained that he had given up his cocaine habit, it gave Singh hope recovery was possible, although opponents told him otherwise.
âThe guy shared his experiences, his strengths and his hopes, and it was all so clear. All the things he shared, I knew. But there he lived it. It was the X factor for me, âhe said.
A practitioner befriended Mr. Singh when he noticed him crying and finally helped him find a halfway house with a 10-month recovery program. The practitioner was also her first friend who “was not an addict.”
Having a support network, including family and friends, is “pivotal” in helping the recovering person, because “drug addiction does not affect just one individual,” said Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary at the 5th National Addictions Awareness Day August 20.
Among the community partners listed by Dr Puthucheary, the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, the Central Narcotics Bureau, We Care Community Services and the National Council on Problem Gambling have partnered with NAMS “to empower people with drug addiction and their families and the knowledge necessary to manage their challenges and addictions â.
These partners have also been involved in setting up hotlines and online chat services to support community members and reach out to those who need help, he said.