Dependent drug use and giving up

Everybody wants to help Ben. Ben Cousins is a quite famous football player in the Australian Football League (AFL). Since the end of his career he has had a well publicised battle with drug addiction. In the last few days he has again been back in court for various misdemeanours. Today the CEO of the AFL has come out and said they will open their very large bank book and were prepared to fund any rehab treatment he many require as he now is apparently penniless.

This is a kind offer on their behalf and not one they are required to do. It shows some compassion on their behalf. But it also highlights how we as humans struggle with this type of drug user. We feel we have to do something to help them. When humans see someone in distress most usually want to do something to help.



As I have noted in my book there are six different types of drug users

Experimental use

Rebellious use

Recreational use

Situational use

Symptomatic use

Dependent use

By far, most drug users suffer little, if any problems from their drug use. It is the dependent drugs user who is the one who suffers most problems but in terms of overall numbers they are a small group, indeed very small group of the drug using population. I have never met Ben so I am only going from what has been reported. His pattern of use reported does suggest he is in that small group of drug users who are the dependent user. This means the drug serves a specific psychological function for him. In essence his drug use is a passive behaviour, probably incapacitation, and as we know people engage in passive behaviours because they want to enter into symbiosis.

I suggest there are three ways out of such dependent drug use

1. Switch the addiction, to say, religion

2. Enter into a long term reparenting arrangement in psychotherapy and essentially become dependent on the therapist (so it is a variant of switching the addiction solution)

3. Grow out of it.

Number three is a common solution used  and from the vey little I know this will probably be what happens in Ben’s case. Living a drug dependent life style is a very difficult thing to do that takes a lot of energy. You can do it in your 20s and 30s but when you reach the 40s and 50s it all gets a bit too much to live like that. So it is at those ages that dependent drug users tend to stop. They can’t live like that anymore.


So it means you have to wait (at times years). And this is what we humans find so hard to do, because we want to do something to help, like the AFL has today offered to do. If the user wants to go to counselling that is fine but you basically don’t deal with the drug issue, you talk about other things. The endless going into rehab, out of rehab and back in becomes part of the problem and makes giving up less likely. One in essence needs to accept that this person, at this time, is living a dependent drug user life style and that is what they do. Eventually they will tire of it and say goodbye to it.

Most people entering counselling will be most surprised by this and are not expecting the drug counsellor to be of this mind at all.

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