It is one of life’s ironies that the best way to recover from an addiction is to make sure that everyone in your life knows about it, and is thus able to support you. However, at the same time, talking about addiction is such a taboo.
Although, in the medical community, awareness and understanding of substance abuse disorders is increasing, there is still a heavy stigma attached to those who are suffering from addictions. People tend to view addictions as the fault of the addicted, and many believe that the person could ‘just stop’ taking the substance if they really wanted to.
This means that those who come clean about their addictions may actually face more criticism and difficulty at first than they are already suffering thanks to their addiction. Many doctors will discriminate against those who are using substances, so that if you admit to your doctor that you have an addiction you might struggle to obtain prescriptions for genuine medical conditions. You could be viewed with suspicion when trying to get help, even for things which are unrelated to your addiction.
It can also be difficult to come clean to friends and family when you have been keeping secrets from them for such a long time. So how do you know that your substance use has reached a point where the pros of opening up to your GP, friends and family now far outweigh the cons?
Here are some signs of an addiction:
- You take drugs or drink more than your friends and family
- You are letting responsibilities fall by the wayside, favouring alcohol or drugs
- You don’t know how to have fun without taking substances anymore
- You use alcohol or drugs as your sole coping skill for any negative emotion
- You are unable to limit how much or how often you drink or take drugs
- You are losing friends or relationships because of your substance use
- You are stealing or behaving criminally to fund your habit
How To Approach Admitting An Addiction
Just say it
Even if you can only manage to approach one person about your addiction, just saying it out loud to someone can put you on the right path. Many addicts build up the idea of admitting to their addiction so that it seems like a terrifying thing to do, which will have dreadful consequences. But the fact is, if you are worried about your addiction, chances are that everyone around you is too. That you’ve come forward and talked about it will be more than a relief than anything.
You don’t need to have a formal ‘coming out’ event where you speak to everyone at once. Even just sending a single text to one friend saying ‘I have a problem’ can put you on the right path. And once the door is open you have to commit to being totally honest about what is going on, how bad it has gotten and what you are afraid of. Not only will this help them to understand, but it will help you to come to terms with what you are going through.
Take responsibility for your addiction
Of course, there are a range of factors which lead to any person’s addiction, including genetics, upbringing and mental illness. But you also need to admit that you played a part in getting to where you have gotten to, and all of the things that you have done to maintain your addiction. One of the things that addicts do to avoid getting help and healing from their addictions is to blame them on everyone else. If you don’t feel that you are to blame for any part of your illness then there is no impetus to change.
The only way for you to get help and start to heal is to take responsibility for your addiction, so that you can start to take responsibility for your recovery, as well.
Work on a recovery plan
To ensure that you are held accountable for your recovery, you need to bring others in on what your eventual goal is. This means that whilst you are in the driver’s seat for your rehabilitation, you also have people keeping an eye on you and ensuring that they are not enabling you staying in your addiction.
Friends and family can help you to get the help you need by helping you to find and be referred to a rehabilitation centre, going with you to a doctor to give their viewpoint on your addiction, or just to provide support whilst you go through the process.
Letting your loved ones know what your plan is for a permanent change will also help to reassure them that you are serious about recovery and help to heal some of the wounds that your addiction may have caused over the years.
How To Get Referred For Rehab Services
There are a wide range of treatment options available for addicts, depending on your resources and circumstances, and the first step is usually seeing a doctor to discuss what options you have available to you. Depending on what stage you are at with your addiction, you may need additional health services to help you to get your body fighting fit again, and some counselling or therapy sessions might also be required to get to the root causes of your substance abuse.
Your doctor can let you know what options are available to you, including residential rehabilitation, drug testing services, and physical and psychological assessment and treatment services. There are often free groups and meetings available where addicts can discuss their issues and get support from like-minded people, and your GP can help you to find these.
You don’t necessarily always need a doctor’s referral for rehabilitation services. At Cassiobury Court you can self-refer by calling 01923 369161, or you can text HELP to 83222. A dedicated team is available to talk you through your options and help you to decide on your next move. If you decide to attend our rehab service you will be supported through detox and rehab by professional staff and a range of complementary therapies, including individual and group counselling sessions. At the end of your rehab, we offer 12 months recovery aftercare for free, with 24 hour phone support.
So make a decision to talk to someone about your addiction as soon as possible. Not only will opening up about your secret take a weight off your mind, it could change your life, for the better, forever.