Why Is It So Hard to Ask for Support for My Addiction?
The first step toward getting help for your addiction is admitting that you have a problem. However, taking that first step to seek support could be the hardest step.
It is easier to justify that using drugs and alcohol is just something you want to do. For this exact reason, many people prefer to live with addiction even after it has plunged them into financial and relationship disasters. A lot has to happen before one comes to the full realization that addiction is a problem. Why is that?
Why Is It Hard to Admit Addiction?
Admitting the fact that addiction is a major problem in your life can be humiliating. The ego cannot simply live past itself, and you might well be your own worst barrier towards truth. This addictive mindset is highly skilled at self-deception. It gives many excuses to oneself and others. Regardless of what triggers addiction in the first place, you might find it easier to self-soothe by drinking and using drugs than facing reality. This escapist route seems to be easier than having to deal with your true self.
If you are an escapist, you could be haunted by fear, including the fear of self-denial and rejections by others. You may think that by pretending everything is fine and your behaviors are normal, others will also see you in a similar light. You might yearn for social approval but believe the way to get that kind of approval is to pretend and lie. For this very reason, suffering from addiction can lead to habitual lying. Self-deception under these lies can make you believe that you are living a normal and responsible life.
This denialism leads to more dependency on drugs and alcohol. Long-term substance use then makes certain neuropathways in the brain so hardwired that you begin to see a decline in cognitive functions and emotional vibrancy.
Struggling with addiction can lead you to feel detached from family and friends, always living in a kind of fog. Your behavior can also become erratic and compulsive because addiction can lead to co-occurring mental health problems. These may all make your potential denialism go full-scale, but the damages on social relationships can be felt by both family and friends.
How Does Admitting the Problem Change the Situation?
If you struggle with addiction, there may come a point when you awaken to a need for change. You might even hit rock bottom and then think: “I’ve had enough,” or “Can I change?” Alternatively, you may be coerced by loved ones to face the reality. Some helpful questions that loved ones can ask to reveal addiction as it is, includes:
- Has your use of drugs and alcohol escalated since you began using?
- Has substance use prevented you from having a healthy lifestyle, including a good diet, sleep, and exercise?
- Has it caused you to miss school, work, or other obligations you used to commit to?
- Do you seek drugs and alcohol as the main way to self-soothe when stressed?
- Has your drinking or drug use gotten in the way of family relationships and friendships?
These and similar questions can serve as a mirror to you about your true state of being. In order to be supportive, it is important for your loved ones to try not to reproach, but to encourage you honesty and humility. The purpose of such conversations is not to crush you, but to allow you to see truth face to face. Another option is to find a trained interventionist who knows how to do recovery coaching in the denial or pre-intervention phase.
It is common to think that admitting to having an addiction seems to indicate weakness and worthlessness. However, the exact opposite thing is happening. This is the counter-intuitive part: by admitting that you are helpless and weak under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you are actually becoming stronger. That is because you have passed the test of an addictive mindset or your self-deceiving ego. Taking this first step simply means that you now have the courage to face your fears.
How to Seek Support, Moving Forward
After this initial step, you will feel more humbled and motivated to reach out to others, including health professionals. You have gone past the lowest point of denialism. You are ready to take on personal responsibilities, moving forward – and that is a big milestone worth celebrating.
From now on, you should let self-honesty and humility guide the path of your future recovery. A counselor or a cognitive-behavioral therapist can help you discern other remaining negative self-identity problems, such as feeling unworthy of being sober or living a normal life. They can educate you to work with past trauma and manage cravings. Participating in a 12-Step program can help you better deal with the shame related to addiction. You will gradually mature in your way of handling post-sobriety life without drugs or alcohol.
Why is it always so hard to make a person realize their problem of addiction? What can we do about the pervasive denialism? Experienced interventionists can share with you that taking the first step of admitting the problem of addiction is often the hardest. Thankfully, there are ways to help your loved one face reality and seek help. You can work with parent coaches to begin this intervention. At South Florida Intervention, we have walked alongside many parents to care for their teens and young adults. We know how to plan pre-intervention strategies so that the person with addiction can turn around and participate in their recovery. It is our commitment to provide you with the best service possible. Our parent coaching program, for example, can restore your family’s healthy dynamic that is conducive to long-term recovery. We also offer recovery coaching at all stages, case management, and escort service. Call us at (202) 390-2273.