Addiction is a struggle to survive, let alone overcome. Physical and mental pressure drives you to use and punishes every effort to free yourself. However, the biggest obstacle is the stigma society has placed on addiction. The common view of addiction seems to cast it as a weakness, a lack of willpower or moral fiber—as if substance abuse were a choice and not a compulsion. “You could stop at any time if you really wanted to.” This misconception is so common that even most addicts believe it about themselves.
The terror of being outed that results from this stigma stops many addicts from seeking help. This makes recovery more difficult or just plain impossible. You might believe that if you admit your addiction to anyone – or worse, someone else discovers it – you will lose everything. Family members will disown you. Friends will abandon you. Your career will nosedive. Moreover, you fear you will become a pariah of your community. It is not just fear for your own reputation that motivates secrecy, of course; you might worry that exposing your addiction will bring shame and hardship to your family too. You are likely refusing to admit you have a problem even to yourself.
You are not the only one hurt by your addiction, though. Even when family members already know about their loved one’s substance abuse, they too may feel forced to keep quiet about it for many of the same reasons. Your family might be unwilling to acknowledge the problem even when it harms you or them directly. They may even feel that the problem is their fault, that it means they are defective or deficient as a family. The stress and anxiety of living with an addict becomes a part of their daily lives. To cope with these difficulties, they develop defense mechanisms that allow them to keep functioning. They avoid bringing the problem into the light. Denial and secret keeping will eventually encroach on other aspects of family life as well. Each family member feels isolated and even unable to trust each other.
Instead of protecting yourself and your family, however, avoiding the problem only causes more pain for everyone involved. Addiction is not something you can hide from. It will not just go away. Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to recovering from addiction. It starts with being honest with yourself and admitting there is a problem. It continues with discussing that problem openly with family and close friends in order to repair the damage that denial has caused. The habit of keeping secrets must be broken in order to make a successful and long-lasting recovery. By being open about a substance abuse problem, you will find the ridicule and judgment you feared is not as common. Instead, you will open yourself up to a wide and inclusive community of people in recovery and a vast range of resources to help get you back on your feet – and stay there.
If you are struggling with an addiction to a substance, or even a behavior that you find difficult to avoid, Scottsdale Recovery Center can help. We have years of experience in the addiction recovery field. We can help you break the addiction cycle effectively and immediately, and even provide you with the tools you need to prevent relapse in the future.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 866.893.6816.