THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEKING HELP IN THE ADDICTION PROCESS

People who are addicted do not realize that they need to seek help before it is too late.

Hence, a good number of them would wallow in their addiction till it begins to affect their overall state of health. Unless addicts are helped, it is usually hard for them to break free from their addiction problem.

Addicts have this stigma that they deal with and this is why they rarely seek help. In times past and even till now, people treat addicts with contempt, trying to keep their distance from them as much as possible. Addicts too realize that this distance has been created and they stay further apart as well.

Now, one of the major reasons why people keep their distance is because of series of unpleasant behaviors they notice in the addict.

If you look at it critically, you will realize that it is not the fault of the addict either. When an individual is addicted, their behaviors, emotions and thoughts are affected. It looks as if they are in another world entirely.

Hence, it is only people who understand the addiction concept that would be able to tolerate them. For people who do not know how addiction works, they will certainly be irritated by their lifestyle.

A good number of times, addicts would prefer to stay on their own and be around people. Their addiction is enough company, comfort and support for them.

It is important to seek help for an individual who is addicted. One reason for this is, you want their life to be on track and this can be possible when they are sober. Someone who is addicted would not be able to work for too long as their productivity will reduce.

Another reason is, addicts have failed relationships with their loved ones because of their addiction. Hence, it is imperative to mend fences by advising them to seek treatment from a reputable addiction recovery center.

Anyone who wants to convince an addict to quit addiction needs to ensure that they have a good idea on the concept of addiction.

DEALING WITH REJECTION AS AN ADDICT IN RECOVERY

Addicts who are in recovery are likely to face rejection. Now, this rejection does not occur immediately, it starts from the point when they started abusing either substances or activities.

Globally, addicts are having a hard time with people around them. Once people notice that you are addicted, they do not want to spend time around you so people do not look down on them.

This age-long practice has produced a stigma that rests on addicted people.

So, even if an individual wants to help out, they would refrain because they do not want other people to mock them. Hence, addicts are always left to themselves to wallow in their addiction without any help.

A good number of times, addicts who have underlying medical conditions are those who are able to break free. The reason for this is, when they go to the hospital, the doctor is able to detect if they are addicted or not. This is particularly common for those who are addicted to substances.

It is advised that addicts are not treated with disdain. All they need is love and care so that they can quit their addictive lifestyle.

Addicts are usually reluctant to open up to people, but they will readily open up to a professional counselor. The reason for this is, counselors are trained professionals that will never laugh at your condition.

Rather, it is the responsibility of the counselor to make sure that you understand the root cause of your addiction. Also, the counselor makes you to have a good view of yourself, that you were just a victim of circumstance.

With time, the counselor helps you reconnect properly with your family and friends. This could take a long while, but it works out eventually.

An addict needs the opposite of rejection which is acceptance. This would go a long way in ensuring that they thrive during the process of addiction recovery.

If everyone could realize this, we would have more addicts who are willing to undergo addiction treatment because the people around them care for them.

Room For Help

One of the emotions that victims of addiction often experience is hopelessness.  This is particularly true after a relapse or slip.  After days, weeks or months of sustained recovery, the addict may find themselves using again.  All of the effort at change and recovery seems to have been wasted.  Just when you thought you were making some real progress in your recovery, you end up back in the same old self-destructive behavior pattern.  It is often at times like this that the victim of addiction begins to wonder if they will ever be free of their drug of choice.

In one sense, many professionals believe that the addict will never be entirely free of their addiction.  This is why many people describe themselves, even after years, as being ‘in recovery’.  In many 12 step programs, members refer to themselves as ‘recovering’, not as recovered.  There are a couple of reasons why this may be a useful attitude.  First, as soon as you think you’re over your addiction, you may let down your guard or even begin to think that maybe you can handle just a little of your drug of choice.  Second, especially in the case of opioid addiction, neurological changes may have occurred which can take years to recover from, if full recovery ever happens.

Even if total recovery never happens and lifelong vigilance is needed, that does not mean we are hopeless.  Victims of addiction can learn the skills needed to manage their lives and make better decisions.  In addition, slips are really opportunities to learn.  The more a victim of addiction can learn about their triggers and weaknesses, the more they will be able to avoid risky behaviors.  A slip is a chance to learn more about your addictive behaviors and patterns.

It is a matter of where your focus is.  If you focus on the slip or relapse, you may likely begin to feel hopeless.  If your focus is on moving forward into the future, then that slip or relapse is a chance to learn how to do better in the future.  You can look backwards and be tempted to despair or you can look forward and renew your hope.  Remember that you cannot change the past but you can change the future.  Our God is the Lord of History, past, present and future, but He will not undo our past.  He will empower us to move forward in hope if only we seek His grace.

Here’s a link to a website with more to say about the importance of hope for recovery:  http://www.recoverytimes.com/newhopeda.html

12 Step Programs

When they hear about 12 step programs, many people assume it is a reference to Alcoholics Anonymous.  This isn’t surprising, since a majority of 12 step programs are directed towards alcoholics.  More and more, however, 12 step groups for victims of drug addiction have become more popular.  Groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can now be found in more and more areas.  Similar groups such as Smart Recovery are also becoming more prevalent.  The genius of these groups is that they provide a mutually supportive environment for people who are struggling with addiction.  Professional treatment of various kinds is available, but access is limited.  Generally speaking, you can’t just call up your counselor when you are having a difficult craving.  12 step programs, on the other hand, encourage you to have a sponsor, somebody who is willing to speak to you anytime day or night.  In fact, many sponsors expect their sponsees to check in on a daily basis.  This creates an element of accountability, a great resource for those struggling with addiction.  In simpler terms, the sponsor-sponsee relationship keeps the victim of addiction from excusing their behavior.  The sponsor has been there and knows all about the danger of making excuses.

While 12 step programs have much to offer, in the case of addiction more is usually needed.  The sponsor is able and willing to walk beside the person in recovery, but trained professionals can provide needed guidance for long-term recovery.  Because of their training, experience and education, the counselor or therapist can provide the victim of addiction with skills, insights and guidance as they learn to manage their lives and their addictive behavior.  It is one thing to travel the road of recovery with the victim of addiction.  It is something very different to point out the path they need to travel.  In some cases, the victim of addiction may need the temporary support of medical treatments like methadone.  The use of such medical treatments must be overseen by a medical professional and is something that the sponsor cannot provide.  The sponsor is an important asset to recovery, but a professional is often essential to recovery.

One of the things that separates groups such as NA from other 12 step programs is the spiritual element.  The acknowledgement that our lives are out of control and only God can help us is very important.  As helpful as a sponsor can be and as valuable as a professional counselor can be, we cannot recover without the help of God.  His grace is essential if we want to recover from addiction.

For more information about treatment and 12 step programs, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment/5-how-do-12-step-or-similar-recovery-programs-fit-drug-addiction-treatment

Getting Help

There are more than 14,000 facilities in the United States where victims of addiction can get treatment.  That’s a lot of places.  For obvious reasons, metropolitan areas are more likely to have a n

 

 

umber of treatment facilities than rural areas.  Facilities differ in how they approach treatment.  Some facilities are residential, meaning that the clients live at the treatment location.  Others ask clients to be present for a given number of treatment sessions during the week.  Some facilities focus on individual treatment sessions while others prefer group therapy sessions.

There are a variety of reasons why different facilities provide different approaches to treatment.  The more severe the addiction or the more frequent the relapse, the more likely it is that the client will need a more intensive style of treatment.  No matter what style of treatment is used, the purpose is to enable the client to manage their behavior and avoid further use of drugs.

Learning to manage their behavior involves more than a certain number of days of being drug free.  The use of drugs becomes a habitual way in which the person responds to pain, whether that pain be physical, emotional or psychological.  When the individual encounters pain again, their habitual response will be to return to the use of drugs, to that previous behavior.  Therefore, beyond avoiding the use of drugs for a certain period of time, the victim of addiction must learn different, better ways to respond to pain when it comes.

During treatment, the victim of addiction will have the support of counselors and therapists, as well as the encouragement of other people in treatment.  Once treatment is completed, however, this support will be more difficult to find.  That does not mean that the victim of addiction will not have the support they need.  Believers, because of their relationship with Jesus Christ, will have powerful and lasting support.  It is this relationship that the victim of addiction must cultivate if they want to remain successful in their recovery from addiction.  Counselors, therapists and friends may not always be there when they’re needed.  Jesus Christ will never abandon us.  His grace and strength will always support us in our recovery.

Treatment will provide knowledge and skills which will help the victim of addiction to understand and change their behavior.  Therapy will help the individual to move forward in their recovery.  Sharing with other victims of addiction will help them to realize that real change is possible.  All of this is very important in the process of recovery.  Nonetheless, ongoing help is very important and those who truly believe in Jesus Christ, those who have developed a personal relationship with Him will have the most important help of all.

Samhsa.gov has a great link for finding treatment, plus lots of other great information:  https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help

Dealing With Pain

 

 

 

What drove you to begin using drugs?  Were you trying to fit in?  Perhaps you were looking for a thrill of some kind.  Naturally, drugs provided a feeling of euphoria or excitement.  Some people claim that they can think more clearly when they are high.  Many people begin using drugs medically to manage chronic pain.  Whatever the particular reason, most people begin using drugs because they like the way they feel when they are using.  Unfortunately, drugs are actually a trap, not an escape.

The problem is that whatever enjoyable result they initially received by using drugs fades quickly, requiring the user to increase the amount of the drug they are taking in order to get the same result.  This is the primary reason why victims of addiction progress to stronger and stronger drugs.  Smaller doses increase to higher doses; pills increase to injections; and a point is quickly reached where the victim of addiction is using drugs not because they get a feeling of euphoria but just to escape pain.

A good example is opioids.  A person might start by using a small dose of medication in order to alleviate pain from surgery.  Before long, they need a stronger dose to alleviate their pain.  As the time goes by, they switch to stronger opioids such as fentanyl or even illegal drugs such as heroin.  The victim of addiction eventually moves on from taking pills to injecting drugs directly into the bloodstream.  There is actually a neurological reason for this.  Opioids mimic the brain’s own neurochemicals that a part of the brain’s reward system, especially serotonin and dopamine.  The brain, however, quickly adapts.  As more opioids enter the brain, it responds by lowering the impact of its own neurochemicals and of the opioids.  As the brain makes this adjustment, more of the chemicals are required to achieve the same result.  This is why victims of addiction use increasing amounts of opioids, because lower amounts are no longer as effective as they used to be. Nobody likes pain.  It’s no surprise that people are using drugs to alleviate their suffering.

The problem is that the use of addictive chemicals to alleviate pain brings its own kind of suffering.  In addition, the brain’s ability to adjust its response to pain-relieving chemicals makes it more difficult to alleviate pain.  In addition, the brain is able to create a kind of illusory pain in order to get the chemical it has become addicted to.  It is essential that people learn other ways to manage pain that do not involve the use of addictive chemicals.

Here’s a link to a website with information about managing chronic pain:  http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/11-tips-for-living-with-chronic-pain#1

You’re Better Than That

Not long ago, suffering from drug addiction was often described as ‘having a monkey on your back’.  The point here is that you are being used by the drug, not unlike somebody riding a horse and using the reins to control the horse.  There is a grain of truth here.  People who suffer from chemical addiction often feel like their lives are out of control or that their drug of choice has some kind of domination over them.  Many victims of addiction will sacrifice other parts of their lives in order to get the drug they are addicted to.  We’ve all encountered people who lose employment, home, health and even family because of their pursuit of drugs.

The phrase ‘hitting bottom’ attempts to capture this reality of losing everything in order to get the drug of choice.  Different people, as you know, have different ‘bottoms’.  It could be losing your home; losing your family; waking up on the sidewalk knowing that you have nowhere to go; or even going to prison.  Whatever the particular situation, the person who hits their ‘bottom’ realizes that their lives are out of control and that they have left sometimes horrifying amounts of wreckage in their wake.  They may have mistreated their children or had them taken away by the authorities.  They may have destroyed once-promising careers.  They may have brought great suffering to friends or family members.  They may even have seriously damaged their own health.

The saddest part of this is that you deserve more for yourself.  As a child of God, as a person whom God has loved into existence, you have been given abundant gifts and talents.  God has planned a life full of blessings for you.  Instead of accomplishing great things, the addict has allowed themselves to be trapped into servitude to a chemical.  The victim of addiction deserves much more than they are settling for.  It’s time to claim your dignity and reject the dominion of addiction.

You can make it happen.  You don’t have to be a slave to a drug.  You don’t have to let addiction control your life and take away your potential.  You can regain control of your life.  Instead of living on the sidewalk and allowing your health to be destroyed by addiction, you can stand up again and do something better.  It’s not too late.  Start now, because you can still do amazing things.

Here’s a link to help you learn more about respecting yourself:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/self-esteem