Ending Alcohol and Substance Addiction Stigmatization
When we choose to face our alcohol or substance addiction, we can feel isolated from our loved ones. Admitting we have an addiction is a positive step towards seeking help through individual or group therapy. Our fear, shame, or guilt about our alcohol or substance addiction can feel overwhelming, but we must realize we can find inspiration in the knowledge those before share.
“When we think of addicts, we seldom associate the word discrimination.”
― Asa Don Brown
Thoughts on Sobriety
Sobriety doesn’t mean life becomes serious, and the fun stops. An essential part of recovery is realizing joy doesn’t come in a bottle or substance. Healthy habits, socializing with those who care, or learning new activities is freedom. Those who live a sober life enjoy or engage in their life because they are clean. Alcohol or substances clouds the mind, body, and spirit. A person who realizes their life revolves around seeking a drink, or a substance often is ready to enter treatment.
Admitting to an alcohol or substance addiction is the beginning of a new, healthy lifestyle. Therapy sessions help individuals understand why they felt an urge to drink or use substances to mask their feelings. Those who think “one more” will fix how they feel chase a feeling they felt the first time they drank or used a substance. People seek solace in alcohol or substance; they wonder why they continue to feel lost, empty, depressed, or anxious.
Admitting to yourself or others that you are struggling with alcohol or substance use is extremely difficult and requires an unfamiliar degree of vulnerability. People can feel ashamed, afraid of their loved one’s response, or embarrassed. Some people believe that seeking help for their alcohol or substance addiction can affect their social lives or careers. They fear being labeled by others because of their mental health or alcohol or substance addiction issues. Increased awareness about mental health and addictions is vital to decreasing shame, fear, and embarrassment.
Alcohol or substance addiction often occurs because of mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Addressing co-occurring mental health disorders as a part of alcohol or substance use disorder treamtnet aids in creating a comprehensive treatment plan. A treatment plan that consists of individualized therapy sessions with a therapist concentrates on the person’s mental well-being. Therapy combined with holistic modalities of treatments focuses on the person, not the disease.
Alcohol or substance addiction does harm the connection between the body, mind, and spirit. Physically we suffer from various illnesses, including:
- Heart disease
- Pulmonary issues
- Liver disease
While our bodies attempt to heal from alcohol or substance addiction in treatment, we can take the time to understand how addiction, whether alcohol or substance, affects the areas in our brain that are integral to our mental health. Individual and group therapy sessions emphasize connecting mental health with alcohol or substance addiction. A comprehensive treatment plan includes consideration of how to integrate healthy habits best and determine genetic abnormalities or nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to the state of one’s mental health. With a treatment plan tailored to address a person’s individual needs, understanding how they became reliant on alcohol or substances becomes easier.
The Effects of Alcohol or Substance Addiction
We can lie to ourselves about why we are drinking or using substances, but we know the truth in our hearts. We are masking emotions, hiding from something that fundamentally affects our well-being. Alcohol or substance addiction isn’t a way to hide from something – it is a way to hide from ourselves. Maybe we hide for a while, but continued use of alcohol or substances leads us to destruction.
“Addiction is a family disease because one person uses, but the whole family gets sick.”
― Toni Sorenson
Alcohol or substance addiction takes away our ability to build strong bonds with our family members and friends. Our actions, the urge to numb our emotions, or push those close to us affect how we feel. We can feel isolated, lonely, unloved, or hated because alcohol or substances drag us down. Negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder create an urge to drink or use substances. We seek what is harmful while also wanting to change.
We can experience conflicting emotions about when or if to seek aid. Sober groups, treatment centers, and therapists ground us and help guide us out of the abyss. Hearing others talk about their struggles assists us in realizing we aren’t alone. We can seek help, face our demons, and change our lifestyle because we find inspiration in others’ journeys. Recovery doesn’t end after we leave treatment, join a group, find a mentor, or participate in post-treatment therapy. Our recovery odyssey is something we take day by day.
A sober life is a life that encompasses learning, love, and understanding. Sobriety expands a person’s ability to address their mental, physical, and spiritual health. Individual, group, and holistic therapy is integral to a comprehensive approach to treating the person, not the disease. Mental health and addiction do not define a person. A person is their strength, ability to admit they need help, and seeking treatment. We can fear change, but beginning the journey to sobriety starts a healthy relationship with our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Addiction to alcohol or substances is no longer a source of shame. We can discuss our addiction, feelings, and needs with our friends and families. When we include our loved ones, we increase our ability to remain sober. We can’t begin or continue our treatment journey alone. We need to recognize the benefits of individual or group therapy. Therapy provides us with insight and the coping mechanisms necessary to stay on track. If you think you have an alcohol or substance addiction, call Achieve Medical Center. We are available 24/7. We can assist you with scheduling an appointment—Call (858)-221-0344 to start your journey to recovery.