For years addiction has been seen as a sign of weakness, both mentally and morally.
“If you just use more willpower,” is a common thing people say to addicts as though they think that will encourage them. They don’t seem to realize that if trying harder worked, the person would not be an addict.
This makes it harder to ask for help, and the truth is, if you are an addict you will need some help at some point to recover. We have to first admit to ourselves that we have a problem, and that can be hard. To get help we have to admit that to others, and that can be even harder. The road to sobriety begins with admitting there is a problem.
Defining addiction can be difficult because people react to things in different ways. Sobriety even means different things to different people. Even so, if you have tried to quit using a substance and have failed, you might be an addict. if you continue to use the substance even as it hurts you and your relationships, that is another sign. If you cannot control the behavior and are taking needless risks, or obsessing over the substance, you may have a problem.
It may help that many doctors and medical officials are seeing addiction as a physical illness. This does not justify the behavior, but it may help demonize it a little bit less. This could help make addiction treatment more socially acceptable.
Seeing addiction as a physical illness instead of a moral failing may lessen the stigma of addiction. This could make it easier to get help in seeking sobriety or to ask for help with the addiction problem.
What holds you back
Admitting there is a problem. The first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem to yourself. This must happen before addiction treatment can begin. The second step is to admit it to others as you ask for help. Not many people can defeat addiction on their own. If you get to this point, you have started the recovery process.
Pride holds you back. Especially in American culture, you are supposed to be able to handle anything that comes your way, especially if you are male. Pride means you do not want to be dependent on others to get your needs met. It is a lofty aspiration, but the reality is if you are addicted you will need some help. Pride is an obstacle to getting help.
Emotional overload is another reason people may not get help. Many people use alcohol and other substances to cover up their emotional pain. When you are no longer using the substance the filter is gone and those old feelings come back, often strong and uncomfortable. Realize this is part of recovery, and if you expect it, you will be better able to handle it. Part of recovery is finding new ways to cope with old feelings.
Its never too late to get help. Sometimes long-time addicts feel they have been addicted for so long, there is no point in trying. Help like the addiction treatment is still available though, and it is never too late to regain control of your life.
How to ask for help
If you get to the point of realizing you have a problem and are ready to ask for help, you have made great progress. Actually going about getting help can be a little harder, but there are some ways you can take action that could help.
Write an email. Writing helps a lot of people sort out their feelings. It can also help you discover things about yourself. Writing helps us organize our thoughts and feelings. Sending the email is also a point of no return. Once you send it, you have admitted your problem to someone else and have asked for help. That is a huge step.
A second thing you can do is see your doctor. Addiction is being seen as an illness, and a doctor might be able to help. They can also help you get further help. Talking with your doctor is a safe way to tell someone about the issues you are having.
Reaching out to a helpline, by phone or online, can also be a good way to ask for help. There are a lot of websites and resources out there. This can be anonymous and goes a step beyond talking to your doctor about the issue. The more you bring your addiction into the open the better you will be able to deal with it.
Find people who have similar issues. People who have been through it can give you real information that can help. You can then decide if what they did is right for you.
Talking to people you trust is another option. The more you keep addiction a secret, the stronger it gets. The more you talk about it, the more you expose it, the less power it has. Talking to people you trust can be a great help on the road to recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact us today. At Karuna Recovery, we have addiction professionals waiting to pick up your call.