Addiction isn’t something that you notice happening right away. It’s like that fable of the frog boiling in water: if you put a frog in boiling water, it’ll immediately jump out, but if you put it in cold water and gradually increase the water’s temperature, it’ll stay and eventually die.
That fable accurately demonstrates how we can’t see the destruction we do to ourselves, and addiction is the perfect way to killing yourself slowly overtime. So how do you know addiction is killing you, especially if you don’t notice the water boiling around you?
Why Can’t You Stop Using Drugs or Alcohol?
Maybe you just started drinking or using drugs as a way to unwind after a stressful day. Soon, you find all your days stressful, and it’s become a routine of yours to unwind and relax. While you’re at it, it seems like a good idea to unwind during the stressful parts of your day, and you feel great, but only when you use.
When you don’t use, you find that you’re stressed, and you sweat and shiver and maybe even feel like life isn’t worth living. The moment you start using or drinking is when you realize you were being silly. Except those stressful times start happening more than the relaxing times now, and it’s not just during school and work, but when you’re not drinking and using.
That’s how addiction starts; it’s not obvious and doesn’t start as a bang but as a slow and gradual climb. The thing about addiction is that it can make you so emotionally unbalanced that it can make sobriety a fleeting fantasy like it’s not within your reach. It makes you believe that the continuous need for that substance is absolute truth; it’s this breakdown that makes getting clean so difficult. Luckily, that’s not reality; the reality is that everyone, including yourself, can get help.
Do You Need an Intervention?
If you find that you’re asking things like “Do I need an intervention?” chances are, you do. One of the greatest powers you can gain over addiction is recognizing you need help. A rule of thumb is if you notice you have a problem, chances are, others have noticed it as well.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to set up a full-fledged intervention, but you should talk to a therapist who specializes in addiction and figure out if it’s something you need. The unfortunate thing about addiction is that it can dilute your understanding of the trouble you’re in; it tells you that everything is ok as long as you get your next hit. Focus on the reality of the situation, realize you need help, and understand that where you’re at in your life isn’t ok—only then can you start to heal.
Of course, not everyone realizes they need help, so don’t be surprised to find your closest friends and family in a room ready to talk about what your substance abuse has done to them. That’s the thing about addiction: it doesn’t just affect you, but everyone closest to you. Don’t take this as a bad thing, but rather a blessing. It shows that your family and friends care about you so much that they want you to get help.
If you do happen to realize your drinking or drug use is becoming a problem, you’re more than likely ready to start receiving help. Of course, help can mean many different things to many different people, and what helps one person won’t necessarily work for you.
Do You Need Treatment?
It may seem like you have a handle on your situation: you know that you have a problem and you’re aware of what needs to be done: don’t drink or use drugs anymore. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.
Addiction isn’t a symptom of low morality, and it’s not just a simple character trait that can be fixed with realization and a strong will of mind. It’s a disease that physically alters your brain chemistry, perverting your thoughts into thinking that nothing but drugs and alcohol is all you need.
Full disclaimer: you can’t be cured of addiction. It’s a lifelong disease and one that you’ll be battling for the rest of your life. As unfortunate as that sounds, you’re not alone. There have been countless others that have been in your shows, and their experience is your gain.
Treatment doesn’t mean the same thing for the same people. Often, a simple outpatient clinic is appropriate. Other times, a more intensive inpatient facility is what’s needed. No matter what though, addiction isn’t something that you’re going to be able to take care of yourself. You need professional help to overcome it.
Where Should You Go for Treatment?
Deciding where to go for treatment isn’t exactly a walk in the park. With countless treatment centers all over the country, it can be tough deciding where the best place for your recovery should begin. For starters, you’re going to want to get some basic information on treatment, as it’s not exactly how it’s shown in the movies.
Inpatient treatment centers are kind of what everyone thinks when they think of addiction treatment. They’re the places you go and live at for a set amount of time, but it’s been suggested that the longer you stay, the better the chances of recovery. Different centers provide different rules, but there are similar instructions between all of them, such as having limited contact with the outside world.
Outpatient clinics do exist; these are rehabs that allow to come and work through the program during the day but allow you to return home at the end of the day. Going to an outpatient rehab allows you to focus on your treatment while still maintaining your life and responsibilities. There is one caveat, and that is that outpatient treatment is typically seen as less successful than inpatient treatment.
One thing you’re going to have to ask yourself is whether or not you should travel for treatment. It can seem daunting to leave the comfort of your home and travel to someplace unknown, but for many, traveling out of state to a treatment center can be just the jump they need to begin a lifetime of recovery.
The final decision of where to go for treatment ultimately must be decided by you. Only you know what will help you in your time of need. Finding out you’re suffering from an addiction is hard to truth to come to; admitting it will be even harder. Know, however, that you aren’t alone. Don’t worry: you can get through this. It’ll just take time.