Whether you or someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you have probably noticed certain behaviors. You might be unable to quit using, even though you have tried before. Maybe you’ve started having problems at work, at home or with money — even though those problems don’t seem related to using. You might even be unable to control how much or how frequently you drink or use drugs, or you find yourself preoccupied with using more and more. If these characteristics sound familiar, you may be suffering from addiction or abuse.
There’s a difference between addiction and abuse, however. Although abuse can lead to addiction, it’s not the same as addiction. If you are abusing, you’ve probably used many excuses to explain why drinking or drugs is a problem. No doubt, if you have a loved one who is abusing drugs or alcohol, you’ve probably heard all the excuses in the book.
One of the most important things to know about addiction is that denial is one of the key characteristics of this life-threatening disease. The other is that waiting until rock bottom to get help is dangerous and makes the road back to sobriety even more challenging. Here’s what you need to know about identifying an addict in denial. There are 5 common signs that you or someone you care about is addicted, which show how addiction and denial go hand in hand.
- I Can Stop Anytime I Want.
For an addict, using alcohol or drugs makes them feel in control of their lives. Many addicts convince themselves that they only use by choice — that they can stop anytime they want. But in reality, it is just the opposite. Drug and alcohol addiction controls the lives of the addict so much, they harm themselves and the ones that they love. Addicts cannot stop themselves, and the sooner they get help from a treatment facility or program, the better off they will be.
To convince your addicted loved one to get the help he so desperately needs, you’ll need to prove that prior attempts to quit have been unsuccessful. Keep a journal of your loved one’s addiction, including dates and events that show a pattern of abuse. Try to view the act of confronting your loved one’s addiction as the first step in a long journey you must be prepared for.
- 2. If Everyone Would Just Get Off My Back, Everything Would Be Fine.
Addicts convince themselves that it is not them with the problem — it’s everyone else. In fact, they believe that family and friends trying to convince them to seek treatment for their substance abuse only make matters worse. The truth is, however, that ignoring the problem — or pretending it doesn’t exist — enables that addict to continue a destructive lifestyle. And that’s definitely not the answer.
Convincing a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol that others have his best interests at heart can be difficult. Drugs and alcohol frequently worsen paranoid feelings. You might find it helpful to include in your journal the stories of those loved ones who tried to intervene and why they have your loved one’s best interests at heart. The life of an addict is often lonely, and your loved one might feel angry and depressed. Knowing that people who care are ready to help is an enormous comfort — even if your loved one isn’t ready to admit it yet.
- It’s My Life. If I Want to Screw It Up, That’s My Choice.
If it was only the addict’s life affected by his/her drug or alcohol use, this might be true. However, drug and alcohol abuse often comes with dishonesty, legal troubles, financial issues, abusive behavior and more. It’s not just the addict’s life being ruined by addiction; friends, families, and coworkers also feel the effects, even if they are not using.
Imagine a family whose children watch one or both parents drink themselves to sleep every night, or having to deal with the challenges of an addicted sibling. Think about parents who are desperate to help their teen avoid the lifelong challenges that addiction presents. Put yourself in the place of a spouse who spends nights lonely and afraid of what might happen after mysterious hours away, and who feels there is no place to turn for help.
These are the addiction stories that happen every day in thousands of communities across America and the rest of the world. It’s clear that addiction affects everyone who knows the struggling person — not only the struggling person himself.
- Detox Is Worse Than Drugs.
It’s true that quitting a well-established addiction to drugs or alcohol without help can be extremely challenging. In general, the longer a person has depended on drugs or alcohol, the more difficult quitting can be. Physical symptoms can last for several days, and in the worst cases, weeks. The emotional and behavioral recovery takes longer and, for many, can be even more difficult.
The good news is that getting help makes dealing with these symptoms much easier. The early days of sobriety, often characterized by vomiting, insomnia, flu-like symptoms and hallucinations, can be eased with medical intervention. Later on, intensive therapy and focusing on a healthier diet and overall lifestyle are powerful weapons in the fight to live a satisfying, abstinent lifestyle.
Nevertheless, the fear or what lies ahead if they choose to get treatment causes many addicts to avoid recovery centers. Urban myths about detox convince many that it is worse than the drugs themselves, so they avoid treatment altogether. In reality, each treatment plan at a recovery center is tailored to the specifics needs of each client. Frequently, clinicians prescribe medications to help ease the symptoms of pain during the detox process. Holistic rehab can also treat the underlying symptoms and behaviors of addiction, which often include depression, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety and more. It can treat the physical symptoms of withdrawal as well as the reasons your loved one relies on substances to relieve stress.
- Getting Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Means I’m Weak.
Where is it written that a person who is struggling with drugs or alcohol must suffer through the sobriety process alone? Nowhere. In fact, many people who were formerly addicted to drugs or alcohol observe that simply admitting they had a substance abuse problem was one of the most difficult parts of getting sober. The fact is that people who refuse to get help and who continue with their addictive behaviors are not yet strong enough to accept and confront their necessary lifestyle changes.
Addiction is a disease that requires great strength and perseverance from the addict and his/her loved ones to overcome. Admitting you have a problem and seeking treatment is not a sign of weakness; it takes a strong person to take on the responsibility of your problem, and of conquering the pain it causes yourself and those around you. That is why admitting powerlessness over addiction is Step 1 of the 12 Steps — once you or your loved one can acknowledge that getting help is necessary, you open yourself up to healing. You’ll be able to begin a new lifestyle based on abstinence, respect for oneself and others, and trust. The strength your loved one will receive from admitting powerlessness will be an important step in the lifelong path to abstinence.
Credited to: 12 Keys Rehab