Many sufferers of Addiction find themselves hopeless, helpless and unsure of what to do.
The nature of the disease means that highly intelligent people make illogical and irrational decisions when it comes to their addiction. This can lead to anger, frustration, confusion and shame.
Often people will turn to prescription drugs. However, this can sometimes result in an exacerbation of the problem. It is not uncommon for prescription drugs to become an addicts ‘drug of choice.’
The first step into recovery is to realise you need help. To the uninitiated, that may seem simple. After all when someone is told they have cancer they go and see a doctor.
To an addict, it is not quite so simple.
Am I an Addict?
It may be useful to use this questionnaire (pdf download) as a formal way to examine your habits and behaviours around your relationship with the substance or behaviour that is proving destructive.
An honest and thorough response may set you on your path to recovery.
Disease of denial
What is unique about addiction is that it is a disease of denial.
An alcoholic will look for justifications as to why they drink too much and a cocaine user may tell themselves everyone is doing it.
The strength of their denial can sometimes take them to the darkest of places and suffer physical, mental and psychological consequences. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there is an ability to say things are not that ‘bad’………yet.
It is also important to appreciate that whilst from the outside the addiction can appear nothing other than destructive…The sufferer still feels it serves a purpose.
To an alcoholic life can become more overwhelming without alcohol. The only thing worse than life with alcohol is a life without alcohol.
It is perceived by the sufferer as the only way to cope with life.
There is hope
The reality is very different.
In finding the courage to take that first step a feeling of hope can emerge.
It is common that the extent of the illness means that you feel alone. Addiction is often described as a feeling of being ¨Terminally Unique¨. No one will understand me is a common fear.
In discussing and exposing the illness these misconceptions soon evaporate. In speaking to people that understand a great weight can be lifted and hope found.
There are many places someone can ask for help:
- 12 Step fellowships are universally available nowadays and provide an open forum and support network in which to understand and share your illness. Don’t be afraid to attend a meeting and observe. Even those who have been in recovery for years attended their ´first meeting´ and understand how you are feeling.
- Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Clinically trained professionals in the addictions field can provide insight into emotional, mental and pharmacological solutions. In doing so they can make suggestions of the best course of action to combat the destructive nature of addiction.
- Treatment centres exist in Europe and further afield that will use many forms of therapy to address the addiction and associated underlying issues. Camino Recovery uses EMDR, EAP, Group and individual work to explore trauma and anxiety as an antidote to relapse. An intensive residential program can often have amazing results.
- Take time to appreciate the impact your addiction is having on your life…Are you missing days from work? Are you having personal relationship issues? Are you having legal issues as a result of your using? Are you depressed or Anxious?
All of these questions can be strong indicators as to whether an addiction has got hold of you and give you the willingness to take the next step.
Visit your doctor- Ask your doctor to check up on the physical effects and implications of your addiction.
A new way of life
It is natural for us to want to find an easier way to resolve these issues but experience has shown that whilst it can be a challenging and highly emotional process the rewards are many.
A new life unencumbered by addiction or the fear of returning to it is possible.
Physical health will improve.
Mental wellbeing means life will become less daunting
Recovery will open up new and exciting experiences.
A zest for life will return.
Don’t be afraid to take that first Step – despite what you may think you are not alone.
There is a way out.