Today’s blog is the final in a 3 part series on addiction. This series is to help you gain a better understanding about what addiction is, signs and symptoms of addiction, and help available to those struggling with addiction as well. Please click here to read the initial installment in introduction to addiction, and click here to read about sign and symptoms of addiction. Today’s focus is on help available for those struggling with addiction, and some do’s and don’ts of getting and accepting help for addictions.
As I mentioned previously, addiction is very much stigmatized. This is very unfortunate for stigma often results in people not seeking or accepting help that is very much needed and recommended. Furthermore, many people struggling with addictions will minimize and rationalize by making statements like “I am not as bad as the person who injects drugs since I only snort them” or “using is better than harming someone when I get mad”. Others may believe or at least say that they can quit anytime as Nikki Sixx’s quote says “Addiction-When you can give up something anytime, as long as it’s next Tuesday.” One may laugh at this but this is often said by people struggling with addiction but who are not ready to admit or accept their struggle with addiction or accept help.
To begin, it is very important to know, understand, and accept that recovery is a life long work in progress and to become complacent often results in relapse whether it is drug use, alcohol use, gambling, shopping, etc. Seeking and accepting help with addictions can be internally or externally motivativing and sometimes a combination of both internal and external motivation. An example of internal motivation is wanting better health. An example of external motivation is legal obligations and compliance.
Cirque Lodge has shared some do’s and don’ts of seeking and accepting help with addiction as listed below:
1. Keep working on recovery efforts such as therapy and 12 step programs and remember to include others in your recovery efforts
2. Involve others in your recovery program such as going to 12 step meetings and participating together in counseling sessions
3. Participate in positive activities that you enjoy such as gardening, doing volunteer work, reading. These are different for everyone, so be sure to find ones that work best for you!
4. Maintain boundaries such as saying no to things you don’t really want to too.
5. Maintain good health such as balanced diet and regular exercise as well as completing wellness exams for good health is a significant part of recovery.
1. Minimize addiction…it is very powerful and can affect anyone!
2. Replace your addiction with another addiction, such as no longer drinking but now spending excessive amount of money shopping. This is called Cross Addiction.
3. Participate in activities or with others who trigger your addictions, such as going to a bar or going on shopping trips.
4. Dwell on relapse if it happens. Instead, learn from it and move on and refocus on recovery efforts.
5. Let fear or doubt keep you from setting goals and and working on them.
Treatment is becoming more accessible to people who struggle with addictions and an overview of the level of cares is as follows, starting with the lowest level of care:
1. Community supports such as 12 step meetings
2. Outpatient Therapy-9 total hours or less of therapy a week completed in both group and individual counseling sessions (This is the level of therapy our office offers).
3. Intensive Outpatient Therapy-9 or more hours a week completed in both group and individual counseling sessions
4. Partial Program-a step down from inpatient treatment consisting of 20 or more hours a week of individual and group counseling
5. Detox-inpatient program that is 24 hours a day which provides medical monitoring and clinical services to help someone safely “cleanse” their bodies of substances such as alcohol, Opiates, and Benzodiazepines
6. Inpatient-24 hours a day treatment that provides medical and clinical care; typically 28 days or longer
7. Medicated Assisted Therapy is on an outpatient basis where people struggling with Opiate Dependence receive medication on a daily to monthly basis which also includes outpatient level therapy.
**More information about the levels of care can be reviewed in American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) website.**
Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, stated “Believe more deeply. Hold your face up to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.” This has been a brief introduction to strategies to get and accept help for addiction. I will conclude with a quote by Walt Disney that really sums it up….”The way to get started it to quit talking and begin doing”. If you or someone you care about struggles with addictions, please contact us. We care and we are here to help you!