What is addiction? Addiction is a very complex chronic disease, which severely affects the functions of the brain and the body. It very often causes serious damage, not only to yourself, but to your family, relationships, and outside commitments like school or work. Addiction causes a person to lose all self-control when it comes to drugs and alcohol, any mind-altering substance, and causes continued use despite any consequences they face.
People who suffer from addiction and alcoholism become so fixated that it takes over their life. It is accompanied by failed attempts to quit, high tolerance to the substance, and physical withdrawal. The good news is, addiction and alcoholism can be effectively treated and managed with combined help from medical professionals and family/peer support.
Can you Recover and Succeed?
To put it into the simplest of terms, yes you can recover. You are not doomed for failure in your fight against addiction or in life. Like many other diseases such as asthma or diabetes, addiction can be managed successfully. Going to treatment and being involved in a program of action enables a person to counteract the powerful hold that addiction has to their mind and body and regain control of their lives. Being an addict or alcoholic does not mean your life is over. It does not mean you have doomed an addict/ alcoholic death. You absolutely can have the life you always wanted. All it takes to achieve sobriety and lead a productive life is willingness, honesty, and effort.
On the other side, the brutal honesty is that relapse is very common. It is a similar situation to those with other diseases, like diabetes. The way to lead the healthiest life is to follow a strict diet. But slip-ups do happen. The same is true with addiction and alcoholism. Unfortunately, when relapse does occur, many people automatically deem treatment failure or that they are a failure. This just is not the case. Successful treatment and recovery require constant evaluation of self and modification when necessary. In treatment and outside of treatment evaluation and modification are necessary. In treatment, it involves things like modification of medication you may be taking or therapy you are involved in. Outside of treatment, it involves things like evaluation and modification of behaviors, actions, or thoughts.
Setting Goals in Sobriety
For example, if a person discovered they had an allergy to shellfish, they wouldn’t continue eating at a seafood restaurant. They may love seafood, but they know it could kill them. The same is true for addicts and alcoholics. You can’t continue the same behaviors and patterns as before when you were using. You have to take whatever steps are necessary to line yourself up for success.
At this point, you may be asking yourself what the best course of action is to treat addiction or alcoholism. The first step is to recognize that there is a problem. It may seem that this step is very small, but without accepting the problem, you will never be able to face and recover from the problem. If you do recognize the seriousness of your disease, a detox program is the next best step to take. Detox involves removing the drugs and alcohol from the body in a safe and monitored environment in order to safely manage the withdrawal symptoms. Medications are used to control drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
What is the Next Step for Recovering Addicts?
The next step is going to one of the many inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, depending on your specific situation. This is a good way to slowly regain the freedoms of the outside world while continuing to have the accountability and support you need. You will be a part of one on one and group therapy sessions with people dealing with the same struggles as you.
Once you have re-entered society and your life, it is important to continue on with a program of action with self-help groups such as AA, NA, or CA. This is the best way to ensure a life long recovery so that you are not “doomed for failure”. Self-help groups are a safe place to go and continue on with your growth as a person and in your recovery.
If you or someone you love are struggling with substance abuse disorders, our addiction professionals at Recreate Life Counseling are here to help. You are not doomed to be a failure just because you are an addict. Let us help you and give you the tools and set your life up for success.