One of the most challenging aspects of treating an addiction is being able to identify it in the first place. How do we know exactly when an addiction is present and, if it is suspected, when do we seek treatment for it? At first thought it may be hard to imagine that someone wouldn’t realize that they have developed an addiction. How could someone not recognize when that is happening? Denial, avoidance, and normalizing of behavior can be a strong trio that keep people from seeing their addiction for what it is. In addition, due to the stigma involved with having a drug or alcohol problem, many individuals will turn away from the reality of their situation. This reality might look like a significant increase in frequency and amount of drug or alcohol use which is resulting in adverse effects on the person’s life. Usage starts to impact the individual personally, professionally, financially, physically and more. The negative repercussions are often the case because in order to continue their habit, there will likely be a significant amount of deception occurring in their relationships at work, home, and socially. Not to mention the lies they may need to be telling themselves, one of which being that they are fine and they don’t have a problem. In reality, a problem is forming all around them.
There are many signs which indicate that substance abuse has become a concern. The question is whether someone chooses to acknowledge it or not. Once someone begins to see issues, they might be ready to ask themselves some tough questions like; do I feel capable of managing my substance use? Have I become preoccupied with using drugs or alcohol? Am I developing a dependency on it? Am I able to go a week, a day, an hour without it? These are all significant questions to ask when determining if addiction may be present. Sometimes the problems will become so apparent that the individual doesn’t have the luxury of quiet contemplation. Their behaviors may become very evident to those around them leading to expressed concern and desire or even demand for treatment to be sought. Once these conversations come up, the question of, “Should I go to rehab” becomes a matter of necessity. The change in behavior and resulting ramifications can no longer be overlooked and are affecting people in the person’s life. When an addiction reaches its peak, it often involves a lot of wreckage surrounding them. Relationships and jobs lost, damage and loss of possessions and money among many others. There are often a few rounds or attempts to decrease substance use on one’s own before going into treatment. However sometimes the situation is so severe that it is evident that a professional, controlled facility is the only answer.
It’s never easy to admit that we have lost control over an aspect of our lives. Pride will often take addicts to their grave as they simply cannot bare to concede to something being out of their power to manage. Especially when the admittance will dramatically change their lives. The tricky thing about addiction is that it grows out of something that often begins as a cherished and pleasurable past time. The decision to go to rehab takes great courage and can feel like a huge sacrifice and terrifying admission. However, the truth is that it can also feel like a huge relief for anyone who has been in the exhausting cycle of addiction for any period of time. Addictions are grueling. The thing that once provided great relief and even euphoria and joy will come to cause great misery and suffering. All addictions seem at first to serve us until we become a slave to it. There are many resources out there for anyone struggling with addiction, both to gain insight and seek help.