You Can Recover!
Millions of people suffer from addiction, which is a disease not a moral shortcoming or character flaw. Let’s be very clear on that!
This disease is primarily caused by genetic and environmental factors:
- A person can be born with a disposition to addiction; the first time they consume alcohol or drugs they find they cannot stop.
- Others may use alcohol or drugs recreationally or socially for a time and then become addicted.
- Still others may abuse substances for a period of time and never become addicted.
- Some believe they are simply depressed when, in fact, depression is often co-occurring with addiction.
Regardless of the reasons, once a person becomes addicted they will always have the disease. Currently it cannot be eliminated although it can be put into remission.
By Kari Mackneer, Clinical Director, LMHC
Heart breaking stigma
In our society, no one wants to admit they may be an alcoholic or addict. The stigma around addiction is heart breaking, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. Few are ashamed that they have diabetes, congestive heart failure or cancer. Why this stigma persists is puzzling as more and more science comes to light around this incredibly destructive disease.
Denial is commonplace among addicts. Many have been to numerous treatment centers for inpatient and outpatient services, suffered unimaginable negative consequences. Yet they still don’t believe or can’t accept that they have a disease that is simply not going to go away.
Signs of Addiction
How does someone know if they are an alcoholic and/or drug addict? Ask yourself these questions:
- When I consume alcohol and/or drugs, do I have trouble controlling the amount?
- Do I have difficulty controlling the frequency of alcohol and/or drug use?
- Do I plan work and activities around alcohol and/or drug use?
- Am I thinking obsessively about using alcohol and/or drugs?
- Do I experience physical cravings for alcohol and/or drugs?
- Do I have an inability to focus without the use of alcohol and/or drugs?
- Has my hygiene taken a dip as the result of using alcohol and/or drugs?
- Am I experiencing relationship difficulties as the result of using alcohol and/or drugs?
- Have I been late to work, missed work or failed to accomplish required duties at work?
- Am I isolating in order to use alcohol and/or drugs alone?
- Do I shake in the morning after a night of drinking and drug use?
- Have I lost the ability to enjoy normal life activities without the use of alcohol or drugs?
If you answered most of these questions affirmatively, there is a distinct possibility that you may have the disease of addiction.
It can be treated
The great news is that addiction can be treated, and there are many different types of programs – inpatient, intensive outpatient and outpatient with various lengths of stay.
It is absolutely essential that you find a program that truly works so please do your research as thoroughly as possible.
What is life like in recovery?
The truth is that people in recovery often have lives that are vastly superior to their lives prior to addiction. There are many reasons for this:
- People in recovery tend to put the needs of others ahead of their own. For many, this is the secret to a very rewarding life. They continuously help others and spend a great deal of time helping suffering addicts recover.
- They learn to deal with life on life’s terms. When they return to work, they are often more effective then prior to their addiction.
- For many, a power greater than themselves is recognized, and they ask this power for help in overcoming their addiction.
Finding an effective treatment program is crucial. Strong programs will contain deep clinical work – groups, one on one’s and case management sessions are essential.
In any successful recovery program, the suffering addict must understand that they have a disease, and it has to be effectively treated. Their lives are unmanageable and must be set right.
As noted, many programs promote a belief that there is a power greater than themselves, a power they define on their own. They can tap into this power to help them overcome their addiction.
A number of programs strongly recommend an inventory process. Meditation and prayer are often utilized. The idea of helping others with addiction is also common – the idea that to keep what you have it helps to give it away.
Many 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.
Do your research
When selecting a recovery center, the Internet can be a great resource. However, you should also call these programs, ask detailed questions and inquire about references. Remember, this could very well be a life or death decision you are making so be very thorough.
Also, feel free to ask those with a strong recovery program to help you. These people can be invaluable resources. It is important that you find the right program and that the people who run the program truly care. This should become evident as you do your research. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Continue your research so long as time permits, and there is no undue or immediate risk to your health.
Maximizing results not revenue
We set out to design a treatment program that was not based on maximizing revenues but based on what would truly work.
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 this approach with deep clinical work provides an excellent framework for reprogramming the mind as it heals. We also offer monitored community or transitional living at every level of care. This, we believe, further increases the chances of successful recovery.