Substance Use Disorder

Substance Use Disorder: Suffering In Silence

Comedian Mitch Hedberg had a joke about addiction. He said it’s the only disease that you can get yelled at for having. Well, the truth of addiction… is anything but a joke. That’s because addiction can destroy both the “sufferer” and those close to them. There’s always more than one person suffering.

Addiction can work like a ticking time bomb. It’s because the one who is dealing with it often “suffers in silence” until their habits boil over — like a pot of water hurling into steaming chaos over the edge of a stove. It’s easy to judge someone who suffers from addiction — someone who quietly lets their life get ruined beyond repair. But it’s important to think about factors that drive someone to hide these actions in the dark.

Family Relationships

What would my spouse think? What would my kids think? Would my parents be disappointed in me?

Just because someone consistently gives in to the desires of an addictive substance, doesn’t mean they’re happy about it. And it also doesn’t mean they still don’t dearly love those who are close to them. Sometimes just the mere thought of letting them down causes emotional suffering. To avoid that pain, the most logical thing to do (in their distorted thought process) is to hide their addiction as much as possible.


Obviously, someone who continuously uses an addictive substance runs a risk of losing their job. Their performance can suffer, and it can be disastrous if they should undergo an employment drug screening while under the influence of an illicit substance.

But the reason for hiding the addiction can go even further. When it comes to the big picture of someone’s career, they may be afraid to let down professional colleagues or bosses. Jobs and careers are made of people, and the driving factor for hiding addiction in this case is not too much different from the family relationship reason…it can be a disaster to the relationship itself. It can completely kill their professional future… forever.

Legal Reasons

This might be kind of a “no-brainer”, but someone who suffers from addiction (regardless of the substance) risks facing serious legal issues. If the substance is illicit, the reason is obvious. The legal problems can linger for years. But if it’s even something like alcohol, they can risk facing legal consequences for driving under the influence.

Even worse, driving under the influence or intoxicated while operating a vehicle can pose serious safety hazards… not just for them, but for others sharing the roadways. Imagine if they injure or accidentally kill someone by engaging in that behavior…

Let’s face it. At that point, their addiction has caused a catastrophic outcome.

And again, it all circles back to the people in their lives. If someone gets into legal trouble because of their addiction, it’s going to affect those around them and possibly cause them to incur harsh judgement by those they love and care about.

Unfortunately, the only way to steer from this destructive path is to seek professional treatment.


There’s a lot of guilt, shame and risk associated with addiction. And although the stigma surrounding it has changed some over the last few years, it still causes many users to “suffer in silence” as opposed to bringing it out into the open. This guarded behavior is adapted as a survival mechanism by the sufferer, and unfortunately just causes the “boiling pot of water” to rise and flow over the top.

If you’re currently in a place where substance use disorder is getting in the way of progress or happiness in your life, please contact us and you can schedule an evaluation with one of our providers.

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