How Addiction Changes Priorities

a mother who drank too much with child

Without realizing it, a person can quickly slide into the lifestyle of addiction. The scary thing is that sometimes people will not see what is really happening until it’s too late. One of the many unfortunate side effects of addiction is that it changes a person’s priorities—and not for the better.

From the outside looking in, it may seem like a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol has become an incredibly selfish person. Even an addict’s closest family members may not be able to recognize their loved one after a certain amount of time. Most people who are caught up in addiction do not want to be this way, it is just something that comes along with the territory. The reason behind this is that addiction has the capability of becoming such an all-consuming aspect of a person’s life that it becomes nearly impossible to prioritize anything else.

The prioritization of drinking or using drugs above other obligations is one of the major red flags that an addiction has taken hold of a person’s life. When someone is so controlled by their need for that next fix they are no longer able to think straight. Other people’s needs and wants fall by the wayside and many people end up getting hurt along the way.

It can be so frustrating for family members to see their loved ones neglecting the things that should be important in their life in favor of getting high. This is one of the many reasons relationships become strained and bridges get burned. It is usually only during the recovery process that a person is able to clear their mind from the fog of addiction and realize how destructive their actions have been. Once this has happened, a person is only then able to begin to make amends. True and sustainable rebuilding of a person’s life cannot really begin until they have begun the recovery process.

The main priorities that fall out of place when it comes to addiction are:

  • Taking care of children
  • Being a good family member
  • Financial responsibilities
  • Being a reliable friend
  • Work/School responsibilities
  • Being a good neighbor
  • Personal health and self-care
  • Being a responsible pet owner
  • Taking care of possessions
  • Being a productive member of society.

Because addiction is so destructive, most if not all of these areas will suffer in an addict’s life. Once the recovery process has begun it is important that the person not only works on themselves but also on rebuilding each area of their life that has been affected by the addiction. A good recovery program will help a person focus on each aspect of their life and how they can improve it. The reason this is such an essential part of the recovery process is that in order to really salvage one’s life from an addiction a person must be able to confront the damage that has been caused and do whatever possible to repair it. This is by no means an easy process but it is well worth the effort.

If you or a loved one are no longer able to recognize the person you once knew because of addiction, chances are it is time to seek out professional help. No one has to be lost forever in the abyss of drug or alcohol addiction. True recovery is possible and people who seem lost are able to find their way back to living a meaningful and purposeful life.



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.