Addiction can begin in many different ways. For some individuals, addiction began as taking an extra prescription pain medication here and there when symptoms of a painful condition would flare up, needing more and more of the medication over time until it becomes unbearable to not take large doses of the medication. There are also those who start out as the occasional recreational substance abusers, binging on alcohol and party drugs only on occasion, but the fun becomes increasingly frequent while also getting to be less fun. Then there are those who use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, either due to day-to-day stress or an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness or for some physical condition that’s gone unnoticed for a long period of time. No matter how it began, addiction becomes the same thing for everyone in whom it develops: A chronic relapsing disease that’s characterized by a physical, mental, and emotional need for alcohol or drugs, causing the individual to compulsively, obsessively seek and imbibe their substance of choice. Finding freedom from addiction is not easy.
In the early stages of addiction—and, for some, even through the later and more mature stages of addiction—individuals are under the misguided pretense that they are still in control of their substance abuse, believing that they continue using only because they enjoy it and because it’s their choice to continue to use rather than admitting to being under the thrall of active addiction. It’s no coincidence that one of the first steps required of an addict in many recovery programs and support groups is to admit the presence and reality of their addiction. While this might sound simple, this is actually a rather difficult and big step as it confronts years or even decades of active addiction and denial, during which time most addicts continue telling themselves that they could stop abusing their drug of choice whenever that want. Admitting powerless to addiction, recognizing that alcohol or drugs have been holding the individual prisoner for an extended period of time, makes the individual feel impotent, defenseless, helpless, and incredibly vulnerable, but it’s necessary finding freedom from addiction.
The Essential Steps Freedom from Addiction
As the loved ones of addicts undoubtedly known from firsthand experience, no amount of encouragement, pleading, begging, persuasion, coercion, aggression, or threatening can force an addict into recovery unless he or she is ready and willing to receive treatment for addiction. Take incarceration for example: It may force addicts into abstinence, but it’s estimated that two out of three individuals who are released from prison due to drug-related crimes will end up back in prison within three years. If an addict isn’t ready to participate in treatment, freedom from addiction isn’t a possibility.
As such, an essential precursor to recovery entails the addict accepting the reality of his or her addiction and deciding that he or she would prefer to rehabilitate rather than continue to be in the throes of addiction. Sometimes this happens on an addict’s own accord, but it’s also common for loved ones to stage an intervention, which is a non-aggressive confrontation during which the addict is confronted by the effects that addiction has had on the addict and those that he or she loves in the hope that this will encourage the individual to enter a professional recovery program. No matter how it happens, this is an essential preliminary step toward freedom from addiction.
Just as there’s very little that addicts wouldn’t do in order to get high on alcohol or drugs—which can include lying and stealing from even their very own loved ones—an addict who has chosen recovery must commit to rehabilitation by being ready and willing to do anything that it takes to achieve sobriety and maintain it for the long-term. Depending on the length of time spent in active addiction, the substance or substances to which the addict is dependent, and the severity of the addiction based on other factors, this might mean spending months in an inpatient or residential treatment, an extended period in a sober living facility or halfway house, daily support group meetings, frequent psychotherapy, and a number of other treatment possibilities.
Freedom in Recovery
Ask any recovering addict and they’ll tell you the same: Recovery isn’t easy. It requires ongoing work and effort in order to sustain sobriety long-term. However, the fact that it’s difficult doesn’t mean that the effort isn’t worth it. Living in active addiction requires a lot of sacrifice; oftentimes over the course of addiction, addicts will give up well-paying employment, lost cars, and homes, destroy relationships and friendships, lost professional opportunities, and so on. As an addict in recovery, individuals have a second chance at life, allowing them to be successful, make accomplishments, set and achieve goals, and get many other benefits that wouldn’t be possible while being physically dependent on alcohol and drugs.
Additionally, over the course of addiction recovery treatment addicts learn about addiction and are guided through the process of identifying the pivotal choices and contributors that led to their becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs. This might mean coming to terms with experiences in childhood such as physical or emotional abuse, having one or both parents who were addicted to alcohol or drugs, traumatic accidents such as car accidents, and a variety of other factors in an individual’s childhood and the past. For dual-diagnosis patients, addiction treatment will educate on the complex relationship that addiction has with other mental and emotional disorders, providing such individuals with the necessary treatment to keep addiction and the comorbid, or co-occurring, disorders under control.
Although the journey of recovery means admitting that the addict is powerless in the face of alcohol or drugs, this isn’t equivalent to admitting that the individual is hopeless. Those who are in need and willing to receive help for addiction will find that there are a number of effective treatments available for alcohol and drug addiction. In addition to inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, there are twelve-step programs, support groups, sober living facilities, and a variety of aftercare options that help individuals to find freedom in recovery.
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction to alcohol or drugs, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help to end the suffering due to substance dependency. Don’t wait; call us today.