Addiction comes in many different forms. Whether it is addiction to drugs like heroin, alcohol, food, gambling or one of the other many ways that addiction can take hold, it’s effects can be devastating and ruin lives.
Some drugs require a specialist detox due to the physical dependence, the heroin detox process can lead to lack of sleep, restless legs and other symptoms. Alcohol can also be life threatening to withdraw from If not done with professional medical attention.
One of the cruellest things about addiction is that it will often make us work against ourselves in order to tighten its grip around our lives. We can end up talking ourselves out of the fact that we have a problem, or that we might need help – and in the meantime, the problem intensifies.
It is important to be aware of the little things that we tell ourselves about addiction that may delay our recovery. Once we learn what isn’t helpful to tell ourselves, we can work on what is helpful and start winning the battle against it.
Let’s talk though some of the common paths that addiction leads us down, and identify how we can avoid them.
“I can stop by myself any time I want”
You’ve probably heard the phrase “the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem”. That’s because recovery is pretty much impossible if the sufferer isn’t fully committed to treatment – why would you commit to treatment if you don’t see your illness as a problem?
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common things that people suffering from addiction tell themselves, and it’s the biggest barrier to recovery. It is either said by people that may well know that they have a problem with addiction, but aren’t able to admit it, or by people that are unaware of the grip that their addiction has on them.
The best judges will be the people around you, so open up to friends and family and talk to them honestly about how you feel. If they show concerns, it is time for you to seek professional help and begin the road to recovery.
“My addiction is part of me. If I stopped, I won’t be myself anymore”
Whether it is because of social groups, or just how we see ourselves when we succumb to our addictions telling us we are more fun when we drink, we can feel that if we took away the source of our addiction, we wouldn’t be the same person anymore.
If anything, the opposite is true; the addiction is stopping us from being our true selves, and the best possible version of ourselves. It may be that the addiction is covering other aspects of our mental health that need to be addressed. With professional help, not only can you be cured of your addiction but you can address other barriers to your happiness.
“I can still function perfectly fine”
Many sufferers of addiction are able to continue to hold down jobs and an active social life, and so we convince ourselves that our problem can’t be that serious. The image of an ‘addict’ that is portrayed in the media is often someone lonely, unemployed and with no fixed abode.
In truth anybody, no matter what their social status, can suffer from addiction. According to the NHS, addiction is defined as ‘not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you’. One in three people in the UK are addicted to something, which covers people in all walks of life.
“Nobody has noticed”
Another trick addiction can play on us is making us believe that if we can hide the problem away from other people, then it doesn’t exist. We tell ourselves that if we really had a problem, everyone would know about it and they would say something about it.
Jason Shiers Certified Psychotherapist says “The truth is though, that addiction can make us deceptive. We get highly skilled in disguising our problems and end up playing a character in our own lives.” The longer it goes on, the better we get at playing this role. It is important to open up to people you trust before it all comes to a head.
“I’m only hurting myself – it’s no one else’s business”
It’s our bodies, our minds, our lives – who cares what we do with it, right?
Actually, the grasp of addiction reaches far wider than the sufferer themselves. There might be people you have distanced yourself from because they might find out, people you have let down – partners, colleagues, family members. People that care deeply about the real you.
There are also people in your future, people you haven’t met yet, that are waiting to meet you. New friends, maybe a partner, maybe even your unborn children – they will want to meet the best version of you.