You’ve just had a stressful day at work. For the past 8 hours you’ve been imagining yourself unwinding on the couch at home, your favorite show turned on and a glass of wine in hand. Now you’re here, everything is just as you imagined it. Finally you can relax.
Except, you don’t want to keep going to the kitchen to refill your glass, so you bring the bottle with you. Good thing you planned ahead because that first glass was gone before the intro was even over. Now on to your second drink, and your evening Xanax. By the time you’re halfway through the third that annoying internal dialogue starts up, as it often does – “Do I have a problem? No, definitely not. People with drinking or drug problems wouldn’t even think to ask themselves that question. I’m definitely in control.”
4:00 a.m. rolls around and you wake up to realize you passed out on the couch again…
Maybe that sounds a lot like you, or maybe your situation differs in regards to what you’re altering your state of mind with and why. Regardless of the specifics, are you ignoring the reality that you may have a drinking or drug problem?
I’m Not Addicted…
The Lie: I can stop whenever I want.
The most common lie addicts will repeatedly tell themselves, and others, is that they can quit whenever they want. They believe they are in control of whatever drug they are using, and they can stop and start as they please. This can be especially deceptive if the body isn’t actually experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the drug or drink isn’t taken. “Weekend or evening use only” often makes a person feel in control….until it’s not weekends or evenings anymore.
The Truth: The vast majority of drugs target the brain’s reward system, causing an overflow of dopamine – a neurotransmitter present in areas of the brain which regulate emotion, motivation, and pleasure. This over-stimulation leads to the euphoria associated with the drug taken. The brain takes note of activities which lead to stimulation of the reward system, teaching us to repeat them over and over.
Substance use disorder —or drug or alcohol abuse— is a learned behavior. In order to regain control over your brain and body you have to go through a process of reconfiguring.
The Lie: I would never do what they did for drugs.
There is a general association that pops into our minds when we hear the term ‘drug addict’: homeless, criminals, shady. That doesn’t describe the majority of people struggling with addiction. They have families, lives and jobs. Because of this disconnect, many users will tell themselves that they don’t fall into the ‘addict’ category.
The Truth: Yes, there are people living in the streets, giving their bodies, stealing and abandoning their children in order to maintain their drug addiction. There are CEOs, doctors and government officials maintaining their addictions as well. What you’re doing to get your fix doesn’t decide whether or not you’re addicted.
The Lie: I’ll quit right after _____.
My birthday, Halloween, the wedding, Christmas. You fill in the blank. There is always going to be an occasion coming up where you don’t want to be the only one sober. It’s easier to deal with people, or feel comfortable, when you’re intoxicated.
The Truth: All you’re really saying is that you can’t quit right now. This is another scenario wherein an addict believes that they are in control of their drug abuse. The fact is, until they make the decision to detox and begin recovery, the drugs are in control.
The Lie: I’m just under a lot of stress at the moment.
Explaining drug abuse away is a common tactic for getting family, friends, and even the addict themselves to stop eluding to the possibility of addiction. Work, kids, holidays, there is a never ending list of things that cause stress on a day to day basis, so it’s easy to keep this act going
The Truth: Drugs and alcohol make it impossible for us to learn to handle issues in a healthy manner. Like covering an infected wound with a bandage, the problem will continue to fester and worsen. Using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism is addict behavior.
The Lie: As long as I don’t need to seek treatment, I’m okay.
So many people have this misconception that they aren’t truly an addict if they never have to seek out help. They mistakenly think that only people with real problems are the ones who enter long term addiction recovery treatment centers.
The Truth: Those who choose addiction treatment are brave enough to see that they have a life controlling problem and want to make a change. Their lives are forever impacted by a single decision. The person addiction turned them into fades away, and they rediscover who they were meant to be. Treatment is for all types ofpeople, from all walks of life.
It’s Time to Turn Your Life Around
Have you been trying to ignore the signs of addiction in your life? It may be time to stop ignoring, and start recovering. A life free of drugs and alcohol is available to you. Today is your opportunity to take it. Contact The Shores Treatment and Recovery today to speak with one of our caring staff members. We would be glad to answer any questions you may have and help you get started on your road to recovery.