Ask the average person on the street what addiction looks like, and they will most likely give you descriptions of a devastating worst-case scenario. They might conjure images of a homeless man on a park bench gripping his bottle, or a drug addict passed out with a needle in her arm. While these descriptions are sad realities for a small portion of people struggling with addiction, there are far more cases where addiction is much more subtle, and even invisible. Unfortunately, there is a commonly perpetuated myth surrounding addiction recovery that a person must “hit rock bottom”, an expression that describes the most devastating consequences of severe addiction, before they can begin the process of recovery. This myth is dangerous and irresponsible, and prevents many people from seeking help when they first begin to question their relationship with drugs or alcohol. By dismantling this belief, we can begin to stop addiction in its tracks before any irreversible damage is done.
Your Health Can’t Wait
People who use drugs recreationally or only drink on the weekends may incorrectly assume that they aren’t going to experience any serious health issues as a result of substance use. Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately predict what long-term implications drug and alcohol use may have for your physical health. There are many variables that influence when you will begin to see your health decline, and in what ways. For example, women’s bodies tend to have a harder time metabolizing alcohol, and may be more susceptible to liver damage and heart disease as a result of heavy drinking. Studies have also found a link between common cancers such as breast cancer, and alcohol use. Alcohol is a carcinogen, and even occasional drinking has been shown to increase your likelihood of developing cancer at some point in the future. If you are abusing alcohol, you will almost certainly see your health deteriorate as a result. It is not a question of if, but when. Some people may tell themselves that they will seek help for their addiction if they begin to experience health issues, but by the time symptoms begin, they may find it is too late to reverse the damage. Waiting until you hit rock bottom to get sober and begin recovery means taking a serious risk when it comes to your health.
Your Loved Ones Can’t Wait
One of the first noticeable consequences of addiction is the decline of your relationships. Addiction does not only hurt you, but seriously impacts your loved ones. As you decline further into your addiction, your partner, parents, children, and friends, will growing increasingly concerned. They may begin to feel frustrated, helpless, and even angry at your inability to stop abusing substances. Under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is very common to lash out in anger at the people you love, or to behave in a way that embarrasses and hurts them. All too often, people who are still in denial about their addiction will tell themselves that they don’t need professional help because they still have functional relationships. In some cases, your friends and family may not even express their concern with your addiction because they are worried about offending you. This is where the challenging practice of accountability comes into play. It is your responsibility to notice how you are treating your loved ones and the ways in which your substance use may be causing them pain. It is selfish and unnecessary to wait until you have lost everyone you love, or until those closest to you are regularly suffering due to your choices, before seeking professional help. A quality treatment program will give you the tools you need to begin to repair your relationships and foster a sober lifestyle in which you can return to being a loving partner, child, parent, and friend.
Your Finances Can’t Wait
Addiction is incredibly expensive. Not only does it require that you to spend a significant amount of your paycheck on drugs or alcohol, but it can become nearly impossible to maintain gainful employment when you are deeply in the throes of addiction. Even if you are currently holding down a job and making ends meet, as addiction escalates it will begin to strip you of your money and decision-making skills. Countless individuals have lost their jobs, homes, and ability to care for themselves as a result of substance abuse. People who are not yet suffering serious financial consequences as a result of their addiction may use their relatively comfortable lifestyle as an excuse for not needing professional help. This is simply another form of denial, and by investing in a recovery program as soon as you begin to recognize your addiction, you are making the wisest possible financial decision for yourself and your family.
If you believe you or someone you love has developed an addiction, now is the time to seek help. At Burning Tree, you will find knowledgeable and compassionate professionals that structure treatment to fit individual needs, including the identification of co-occurring disorders. Through accountability and commitment to the 12 steps, each client will develop the tools to create a sober lifestyle and find lasting recovery. We specialize in the treatment of chronic relapsers, and believe with the right support you can experience true and permanent healing. For more information, call us now at 512-285-5900.