The Road to Recovery Begins with the First Step | News, Sports, Jobs


HOUGHTON – For many people with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), one of the most difficult conversations they will ever have will be with themselves. The conversation begins with the question: “Am I an alcoholic? “ Where “Do I have a drinking problem? “

The American Addiction Center, on Alcohol.org, says these are questions that a person who drinks frequently or has problems with alcohol may ask.

“The short answer is that anyone who has concerns or problems with drinking alcohol probably has a drinking problem. “ suggests the website, adding that “However, a drinking problem does not necessarily make a person an alcoholic. Exploring the differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism can help people determine if they are addicted.

This is the start of the inner conversation that no one wants to have. The American Addiction Center helps guide the conversation.

“If your life and relationships are negatively affected by your substance use,” the website says, “You probably have an addiction. “

Drug addiction is diagnosed on a spectrum, the site says. The addiction criteria can help determine whether a person’s addiction is mild, moderate, or severe. There are a total of eleven criteria, including:

– Lack of control

– Desire to stop but impossible

– Spend a lot of time trying to get the stuff

– Cravings

– Lack of responsibility

– Relationship problems

– Loss of interest

– Dangerous use

– Worsening situations

– Tolerance

– Withdrawal

“Severity is determined by the number of criteria you meet” the center declares. “For example, if two or three of the criteria apply to you, you would have a mild substance use disorder. But even if you have a mild diagnosis, you should still seek help to get sober. “

This, however, may not be as easy as it sounds. Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., in his article, The Role of Denial in Addiction: Denial is a key obstacle to recovery, published November 13, 2018 on the Psychology Today website, suggests that the reason the conversation is so hard to get started is denial, one of the hallmarks of addiction.

“Drug addicts are notoriously prone to denial” Heshmat states. “Denial explains why drug use persists in the face of negative consequences. Addiction has cost them their jobs, their health or their families. If they remain unaware of the negative consequences of their actions, then those consequences cannot guide their decision making.

In short, denial is the refusal to recognize the reality of your situation, he says.

“To maintain a positive image of themselves, people revise their beliefs in the face of new evidence of good news, but ignore the bad news.” Heshmat explains. “Psychological processes such as distraction, forgetfulness and repression can serve as a variant of denial. It should be noted that these psychological processes may or may not be conscious processes.

In a September 23 article in the Daily Mining Gazette, former District Judge Linda Davis and co-founder of Families Against Narcotics, said that for those who need to have a conversation with themselves, the stigma is the first obstacle to treatment. However, this stigma can come from within.

“People with substance use disorders get sick of themselves”, she said. “They hate the choices they made; they feel like there is no way out, so when we shame them and make them feel unworthy, because of the stigma around addiction, they often feel like there is no way out. There is no help available to them, which is totally the wrong message we want to send people.

Heshmat, in his article, also touched on the subject of self-stigma, saying:

“Drug addiction can also be a source of terrible shame, self-hatred and low self-esteem” he wrote. “For an addict, it can be terrifying to recognize the harm he has caused by his addiction to himself and potentially to others he cares about. When they are brought up, their fears of inadequacy and unworthiness fade. Users often report sudden dissociation from themselves. For example, alcohol and heroin are often sought after for their numbness.

There is still hope. With whoever initiates the inner conversation that begins with “Do I have a problem? “ this question is usually the first step on a road to recovery, and yes; recovery is possible.

“The first step is recognizing the problem” states the American Psychiatric Association. “The process of recovery can be delayed when a person is unaware of their problematic substance use. Although interventions from affected friends and family often result in treatment, self-referrals are always welcome and encouraged.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) proposes the following definition “

Recovery is a process of change whereby people improve their health and well-being, lead independent lives and strive to reach their full potential. There are four main dimensions that support recovery:

– Health – overcome or manage disease (s) or symptoms and make informed and healthy choices that promote physical and emotional well-being.

– Home – have a stable and secure place to live.

– Purpose – to carry out meaningful day-to-day activities and have the independence, income and resources to participate in society.

– Community relationships and social networks that offer support, friendship, love and hope.

“The hope, the conviction that these challenges and conditions can be overcome”, SAMHSA goes to the state, “Is the foundation of recovery. The recovery process is very personal and takes place in many ways. Recovery is characterized by continuous growth and improvement in one’s health and well-being, which can lead to setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural part of life, resilience becomes a key part of recovery. “

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