No one sits back in a hammock as a child and thinks, “One day, I’m going to be multiply addicted to both alcohol and pain pills!” At the same time, it’s not uncommon for addicts to have grown up or—become enmeshed in a peer group—that normalizes substance use and abuse. Particularly with alcohol, whose presence in our lives is an accepted part of the societal contract, a person can begin to show signs of alcoholism that might not be as dramatic but are incredibly important.
For example, if you have developed problem drinking habits but have grown up in a family of hard-partying drinkers, you may not have the support system to acknowledge your struggles. They may just see your drinking as being “part of the family.”
On the other hand, many substance abusers take great pains to appear normal in their interactions and use in secret. Some are so successful in the endeavor that even their spouses are surprised by the amount they actually consume—how deep the problem truly goes.
Five signs when considering rehab
1) Despite bargains with oneself to drink less/quit, multiple efforts have failed.
Every addict plays the game of planning to cut back or reducing their use for a time. This is a strategy that only buys a bit of breathing room and false confidence that they can keep their addiction hidden forever, and gradually stop. Except in the rarest of occasions, this does not work. In reality, it negates the impact of consequences and warning signs entirely. This makes it less likely that the person will truly stop on their own.
2) When the addict DOES follow through with stopping use, withdrawal occurs.
You will know withdrawal when you feel it. A hangover (though a form of withdrawal) is not what we’re talking about here. When withdrawal hits, it is debilitating and dangerous. In some cases, it’s more dangerous for the addicted person to quit than to gradually detox. Thankfully, in this case, rehabilitation centers like True Recovery offer medically assisted detox to ensure the client is safely cared for in the earliest stages of recovery.
3) Misreporting or omitting substance use to doctors and therapists.
Though doctors and psychological counselors are keenly aware of physical symptoms of substance abuse, the sheer volume of their caseloads sometimes makes it harder to take the time with each patient to pinpoint addiction as the cause of the physical or psychological problem. These medical professionals depend a great deal on the patient’s self-inventory to draw conclusions. If you find yourself being less than truthful in this case, you’re only hurting yourself. Your care providers are there to provide a safe space to discuss the problems and solutions.
4) Your responsibilities have dropped away.
Here, we could be talking about something fairly minor, like forgetting to show up to a party to a friend (or being too intoxicated to attend); or, we could be discussing a critical lapse in judgment, such as avoiding work and school entirely. For a time, you can ride on the goodwill of friends and family. But your employer, daycare administrator, or professor might be at their wit’s end. Whether they would be open to hearing about your substance abuse struggles or not is up for debate. What is not up for debate is the need to make rehabilitation a priority to ensure that an addicted person does not lose life opportunities in the future.
5) You want to stop, don’t know how, or are too afraid.
Count yourself among a massive group of people who have made it to this point. If you are actively wanting to stop but feel paralyzed by the fear of looking for help, only to find it too expensive, time-consuming, restrictive—stop. Don’t see the prospect of rehab as something to be afraid of. See it as an open doorway that you can choose to access at any time.
Living with addiction personally (or close by in the personage of a friend or family member), it’s often difficult to balance our concern with our relationship with our addiction or our loved one in need of sobriety. In either case, it takes a great deal of courage to point the way home to a sober life that we can be proud of.
At True Recovery, we believe that freedom from addiction takes a village of support, both onsite and in the personal lives of our clients. We can open up to who we really are. Find true recovery for yourself and those you love. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.