We often get contacted by the families of those with an addiction problem asking for help. Every time, we are asked for ways in which we can help and we are happy to oblige. However, the first steps towards recovery begin before a rehab clinic can begin treatment. There is no magic wand to help people recover and a lot of hard work needs to be put in by the patient. This hard work begins with the realisation that they need help and decide that they want to change their life.
Denial is a powerful obstacle that can prevent recovery. It is a natural defence mechanism that prevents people from being able to see the reality of a situation. It functions to prevent the individual having to deal with aspects of their life that they can’t cope with. An addict may admit that they use drugs or alcohol, but claim that it is under control. This may have been true when usage began, but as addiction takes hold it begins to take control of their lives and affects everyone around them.
Effective addiction treatment does not just fix the symptoms, but gets to the root cause of the problems. But before treatment can begin, the individual needs to accept that a problem exists. More than that, they also have to make a conscious decision that they want to change their lives for the better.
Once an addict accepts that a problem exists, their eyes will be opened to the ways that their behaviour affects themselves and others. Only at this point will they be able to make a conscious decision to seek treatment. Until this point, addiction treatment has a very small chance of success. By the time they reach alcohol or drug rehab, they should be ready for the challenges that await and are willing to face them.
What you can do to help
If you feel that your loved one needs help with addiction, you need to make them aware that they have a problem. Some of the signs of denial will include claiming that the alcohol or drug use is under control or that it’s not hurting anybody but themselves. However, the truth is that the families, friends and spouses of addicts are often the ones who suffer the most.
Setting up an intervention is often the first step towards helping an addict admit that they problem. This is an opportunity to calmly explain how the actions of an addict have affected those around them.