Are You an Addict? Where to Get Help.
Knowing that you have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs can be very scary. In our society, no one wants to admit they may be an alcoholic or an addict. In fact, many have been to numerous treatment centers for inpatient and outpatient services and still do not believe they have a problem.
The stigma that still largely remains around addiction is heart breaking. But there is nothing to be ashamed of and, hopefully, society will evolve completely away from this stigma as more and more science comes to light around this incredibly destructive disease.
Millions of people suffer from addiction. It is a disease, not a moral shortcoming or character flaw. It is caused by genetic and environmental factors. Some people seem to be born with a strong disposition to addiction. The first time they consume alcohol or drugs they are hooked and cannot stop. Others may use alcohol or drugs recreationally or socially for a time and then become addicted. Still others will never become addicted. Some believe they are just depressed when, in fact, depression is often co-occurring with addiction.
There are many different theories as to why and how addiction occurs. One thing is certain, once a person becomes addicted and the switch is truly flipped, they will always have the addiction. Though it can be put into remission, currently there does not appear to be a way to permanently eradicate the disease.
How does a person know if they have become addicted to alcohol and/or drugs? There are a number of simple questions you can ask yourself to help make this determination:
- If each time you consume alcohol or drugs you have trouble controlling the amount you consume, you may be an addict.
- If you have difficulty controlling the frequency of alcohol and/or drugs use, you may be an addict.
- Do you plan work and activities around alcohol and/or drug use?
- Are you thinking obsessively about using alcohol and/or drugs?
- Do you experience physical cravings for alcohol and/or drugs?
- Is it difficult to focus without the use of alcohol and/or drugs?
- Has your hygiene taken a dip as the result of using drugs and/or alcohol?
- Are you experiencing relationship difficulties as the result of using drugs and/or alcohol?
- Have you failed to attend work on time, missed work, or failed to accomplish required duties at work?
- Are you isolating to use drugs and/or alcohol alone?
- Do you experience shaking in the morning after a night of drinking and drug use?
There are many other questions that could be asked and various questionnaires exist to help you determine if you are an addict. If you answer most of these questions affirmatively, there is a distinct possibility that you may have the disease of addiction.
If you have alcohol and/or drug addiction, what can you do about it? The good news is that addiction can be treated. There are many different types of programs – inpatient, intensive outpatient and outpatient with various lengths of stay. People in recovery often have lives that are vastly superior to their lives even before their addiction. There are many reasons for this. People in recovery tend to not think of themselves as much and to think of the needs of others instead. For many, this is the secret to a very rewarding life – helping others and spending time helping those suffering from the very addiction from which they recovered.
People in recovery learn to deal with life on life’s terms. As a result, they become very compassionate and caring members of society. They often return to work and function better than before their addiction. For many, a power greater than themselves is recognized, a power that can help them overcome their addiction.
There can be a variety of approaches at the heart of many programs. Deep clinical work – – groups, one on one’s, case management sessions – are essential. Most try to establish within the suffering addict’s mind that addiction is a problem, their lives are unmanageable and need to be set right.
Many programs promote a belief that there is a power greater than themselves. It is something they define on their own, a power they can tap into to help them overcome their addiction. A number of programs strongly recommend an inventory process. Meditation and prayer is often utilized.
The idea of helping others with addiction is also common – to keep what you have, it helps to give it away. Strong programs also include a nutrition and exercise component. Some programs are clinically based while others can be more faith based. In addition to the help of a therapist, recovering addicts may have sponsors, recovery coaches, life coaches, pastors, and priests as part of their support system.
We utilize a very holistic approach, including unique and deep clinical methodology that blends contemporary and eastern medicine, yoga, massage and meditation. We also blend in a 12-step approach. I find that combining a 12-step approach with deep clinical work provides an excellent framework for reprogramming the mind as it heals.
When selecting a recovery center, the Internet can be a great resource. It makes it easy to research many different programs and approaches. Feel free to call these programs and ask detailed questions. If you know someone with strong recovery and in a strong recovery program, ask for their assistance. In most cases, they will be more than happy to help. If you are trying to find a program for a suffering loved one, ask for that person’s assistance, especially if they are willing to get help. It is important that you find the right program and that the people who run it truly care. This should become evident as you do your research.