Addiction to alcohol, drugs, eating, the internet, gambling, cigarettes – you name it – can take its toll.
This kind of over indulgence has ruined many lives over the years but the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Just ask Rachel McLaughlin, who is the volunteer coordinator of a self-help, mutual aid program in Castlemaine called Self Management And Recovery Training (SMART).
The program offers people a chance to get together to try and examine and change addictive behaviours that are harmful to themselves and others.
“Training is important because it means being patient, sticking with it and building up strength over time,” Rachel said.
“The bottom line is that people can really change.”
Rachel said science showed that the mechanics of addiction were the same regardless of the substance or the behaviour.
“The human brain is wired to become addicted to things in certain circumstances – it’s quite normal and human.”
Rachel runs the SMART program at Castlemaine Community House on Tuesdays at 7pm. She previously participated in and later ran the same sort of group in Northcote.
“I first started going when I realised I couldn’t stop drinking (alcohol) and that I needed help.
“I was depressed and in an unhappy stage in my life.
“I wasn’t happy with my work or my relationship and getting drunk was a way of escaping my problems. But the drinking became a problem in itself.”
Rachel said she was still drinking when she started going to SMART meetings.
“They talked me through the benefits of not drinking, I weighed it up and three months later I had totally stopped.
“I was very fortunate because I had a lot of support at home and a good relationship with my GP, which is very important.
“That was five years ago and life these days is so much better without alcohol … I used to think it would be hard to live without it – sometimes it’s inconvenient – but it’s really okay.”
Source: Midland Express