Addictions are a wide range of detrimental behaviors that threaten the physical, interpersonal, social, mental, and emotional well-being of people, including addiction to substances like drugs and alcohol, sex, gambling, compulsive overeating, and shopping. The most recent research reveals that approximately 35 million adults suffer from addiction or have a co-occurring disorder, which means that a large percentage of adult American society is addicted to some form of substance, food, or behavior.
Many addictions develop as a result of negative experiences, which are often brought about by negative stressors. Addictions can be caused by the destructive impacts of family, friends, or peer pressure, and may even be the result of an environment that you grew up in. Often, addictions may stem from a difficult relationship, sexual abuse, or sexual dysfunction. People also experience circumstances that alter the way that a person sees their life, and any negative effect that may cause can develop into an addiction. Addiction is difficult to experience, both for the addict and for the people who love them. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Recognize the Problem
The process of recovering from any addiction begins with identifying the problem. First, you must realize that you have a problem—that you have an addiction. This is often the most difficult step to take because it is then that you realize that you need help. Many people do not like asking for help or seeking help. However, once you recognize that you have a problem, it is much easier to go forward towards your recovery.
Becoming aware of your addiction can occur in a variety of ways. Perhaps you or someone you love got hurt while you were under the influence. Maybe you were arrested or did something that was illegal. It’s also possible that you looked in the mirror and didn’t like what you saw. Whatever your reasoning was or is, it’s just important that you recognize that you have a problem and now want to resolve it.
- Take Action
Once you realize that you have an addiction, it is imperative that you take action. There is a complete difference between thinking to yourself, ‘I’ll get sober sometime soon,’ and, ‘Today, I’m talking to someone about my drinking.’ By addressing the situation and speaking to someone about your addiction, you are actually taking a positive step toward recovery. There is a shift in your awareness and your cause. You have now gathered the courage to ask for help. In employing someone else’s help, you now have support to go forward.
It is important to realize that there is no shame in asking for help. If you had a broken foot or had cancer, you wouldn’t try to heal yourself—you would seek a doctor to fix it. The same is true of addictions—addiction is an illness. When treating an addiction, it is also vital to seek professional help. The doctors and healthcare workers involved have experience in assisting people with their addictions, and oftentimes have, in fact, experienced the same problem that you currently wrestle with. They are perfect for understanding the difficulties that you will be going through in your effort to heal. They will work with you with the particulars and guide you in the whole process of recovery, and these helpers can give you the hope you need to know that recovery from an addiction is possible.
- Find a Program
Whatever your addiction is, there is a program designed to treat it. Through speaking with a friend or professional, you can find the specific treatment to lead you to recovery. Many addiction programs are inpatient, which means that you live at the rehabilitation facility. Depending on your addiction, however, there are out-patient treatments too. On an out-patient program, you set up your appointments on a regular basis. Some programs may even incorporate the two for your best solution in healing. From here, you can begin your recovery from your addiction with detoxification.
As you work toward healing and rehabilitation, you will come to terms with your addiction and learn coping mechanisms and skills that will help you manage the changes that come along the recovery process. The first step along your road to recovery, however, is to admit you have a problem. Once that is established, take another step by asking for help. The road to recovery may be long, but you only have to take it one step at a time to be successful.