While it’s relatively common to hear about routine traffic stops turning into arrests for drug possession and/or trafficking, it is not every day that a random boat check for a shrimp net problem evolves into charges for a drug violation.
But that’s what happened late last month when the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries stopped a 42-foot shrimp boat. They reported finding dead sea gulls on the deck and oversized skimmer nets. A deeper look revealed even bigger violations – crystal meth, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a .22 caliber rifle. The boat’s captain was charged with possession of all those items as well as possession of a controlled dangerous substance, use of oversized skimmer nets, and possession of non-game birds.
As part of the arrest, the agency seized six seagulls, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, crystal meth, and 784 pounds of shrimp. The captain could more face more than $15,000 in fines and more than a decade in prison as a result of the charges.
Though many immediately think of drug and alcohol use when they hear the word addiction, the fact is that addiction is a disorder that manifests in a number of different behaviors. That is, it is not uncommon to find that someone who often drinks heavily and uses drugs also has a problem with compulsive behavior in a way that causes problems, such as gambling, sex, eating, and more.
Reckless choices with a focus on immediate gratification, escape from uncomfortable emotions including boredom, or as a way to manage co-occurring mental health symptoms all indicate a problem, especially if these behaviors are so extreme or frequent that they cause enduring harm. Even if the choices are not addictive per se (e.g., illegally killing seagulls, for example), if they lead to negative consequences for oneself or others, then it is time to take a step back and assess the situation.
In some cases, it may be possible for someone to make a choice; notice that the choice caused them to struggle with their health, finances, or relationships, or threatened their freedom; and then decide to make changes, including choosing to abstain from the behavior going forward.
In other cases, someone may or may not connect the negative consequences with their choice or care that the two are connected and ultimately continue the behavior. In these cases, treatment is recommended, not just for the use of drugs and alcohol but for the addiction disorder that is underlying all the choices that are harmful to the individual’s ability to enjoy balance, health, and positive wellness.
Treating Addiction Disorder
The best way to address an addiction disorder is to undergo comprehensive treatment and care that treats the whole person – not just looking into the specific acts that are causing problems like drinking and drug use, but at the issues that may be driving those choices.
For example, though treatment should be a unique experience for every person, it often starts with a thorough evaluation and assessment. Mental health disorders, underlying physical ailments including chronic pain or chronic illness, and issues at home that may be contributing to the problem are identified, and therapies and treatments that directly addressed those issues are incorporated into the treatment plan. These may include any combination of the following, based on the needs and circumstance of the individual as well as their own personal goals for recovery:
- Individualized therapeutic case management and care
- Holistic treatment services (e.g., yoga, acupuncture, meditation, and more)
- Alternative therapies
- Medical care as needed
- Family education and support services
- 12-Step meetings and community support
- Aftercare and more
The more comprehensive a treatment program is, the more likely it is to help the individual continue progressing forward and then maintain that progress for the long-term. A solid foundation with treatment that is as intensive as the individual requires, becoming less intensive over time while allowing for a confident transition into independent sober living, is the key to recovery defined by positive, healthy choices.
Is it time for you to consider the option of treatment and learn more about addiction disorders? Comprehensive care can make a positive impact and improve your loved one’s life today. Will you help them make the connection and get the treatment they need?