If you are struggling with an addiction, you are suffering. You are suffering from the consequences of your addiction as well as from something which preceded it. When you hear from others that you need to stop this behavior, it sounds almost as if they are telling you to stop breathing. You cannot imagine a life without your using or acting out, as that is possibly the only thing which allows you to feel comfortable with yourself.
You may be slightly aware that you need to do something about your escalating negative behaviors, but it is extremely difficult to admit this. Denial is the mind’s way of telling you that you are ok and to help you avoid the uncomfortable reality that you are an addict. You may be telling yourself, “I still have my job, so I can’t possibly be an addict” or “I am still in a committed relationship, so I can’t possibly be an addict”.
While it is often true that addicts will have lost their jobs and destroyed their relationships, that happens in the later stages of addiction. While early on you will have suffered some negative consequences (and it is only a matter of time before that progresses into the later stages), by no means does your life have to be falling apart in order to have a problem with addiction. If you are already at the stage where the consequences are becoming greater-problems at work, ruined relationships, deteriorating health, legal issues or financial difficulties- you tell yourself that these problems are in no way related to your addiction.
Healing cannot begin until you break through your denial and recognize the severity of your disease. Nobody can convince you to seek treatment unless you have hit “rock bottom” and you have come to the conclusion that you are unable to continue living this way. By nature, humans will always do what they perceive to be the lesser stress. When you use, you believe that the negative effects of using cause fewer problems than if you wouldn’t, and have to live life sober. The emotional pain and anxiety that you will encounter is perceived to be worse than whatever problems you face because of your addiction. It is therefore only once you reach rock bottom, and realize that your addiction is causing you more grief and anxiety than any difficulties you can possibly have as a sober individual, that you can make the decision to treat your problem.
Once you make the decision that will save your life, I will guide you through the journey of recovery. We will begin with the recognition that you need to remain abstinent. Although abstinence is necessary, it is only the beginning of the process of recovery. True recovery is obtained by a total lifestyle change. Together we will work to understand the root of the addiction, which will allow us to work towards creating living patterns which don’t require mood-altering drugs or other obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Depending on the situation, you may need to enter an in-patient treatment center for which you will need support and guidance as well.
If you are still in the denial stage, it will be very difficult to convince you that you need to do something about your addiction. After all, you believe that it doesn’t exist! I will tell you though, that if it has not happened already, your life will begin to fall apart at a rapid pace as a result of the control that the addiction has over you. I hope that you will save yourself by taking the chance by choosing to talk to an experienced addiction professional about your current situation. You deserve to be able to experience the freedom of being well. I know that it is impossible for you to imagine your life becoming happy, meaningful, and fulfilling, but it is possible.
Make that decision today!