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Article Summary

The First Step: Confront the Fact that you have a Problem

When abusing drugs and alcohol, individuals can sometimes live their daily lives in a warped frame of mind. This is mostly the case because to admit wrongdoing or to admit that they have a problem could result in many negative consequences that they don't want to confront at the moment. For example, confronting the fact that you have a drug or alcohol problem could bring shame to oneself and also put the drug or alcohol user at risk of losing their family, job, etc. As a result, when someone has a drug or alcohol problem they tend to come up with excuses about their drug or alcohol use, minimize the problem, or are just in complete denial. So the very first step when someone wants to stop their drug or alcohol abuse and get help is to confront the fact that they have a problem. This needs to be something that truly comes from them if there is any hope for them to get better.

Denial

It is very easy to remain in denial or minimize and explain away an addiction or dependency issue or substance abusive activity such as habitual binge drinking for example. Individuals may need help for substance abuse even if they don't use drugs or alcohol on a daily basis, because even individuals that binge drink on the weekends for example may have trouble stopping this behavior without help. This is a prime example of a situation that can easily be explained away as "normal" but one which can have disastrous consequences if not confronted or intervened upon. Someone who has been abusing marijuana for example can be in denial that they have a problem, particularly with all of the rhetoric in today's culture about how the drug is safe and free of risk of dependency, addiction etc. Marijuana does cause dependency however, and it can also lead to other types of drug abuse which can be far more harmful and destructive in the individual's life. This isn't an opinion, but borne in fact from years or studies and research.

Another very good example is a prescription medication abuse problem, which can very easily spin out of control for both legitimate prescription holders and those who abuse these types of drugs recreationally. This happens at levels one might not expect, because such an issue can be easily swept under the rug. However, prescription drugs are just as powerful as illicit drugs of abuse, and abuse and misuse occurs at the same level as a result. Someone who has been prescribed a prescription pain killer for example may take a certain dose which is enough for pain management, although this dosage may not work forever. Tolerance develops to prescription pain killers at some point, and long-term users have to continuously up their dosage to experience the same pain relieving effects. At some point, there is a very blurry line between a dosage sufficient for pain management and a dosage which result in a high similar to any other opiate high such as heroin. But because prescription drugs are legal, individuals can get away with this type of substance abuse and explain it away very easily to family, friends, and themselves.

Confronting the Problem

However entangled someone is and however they got there in terms of their substance abuse, the very first step of course coming to terms with and confronting the fact that there is a problem. Confronting this reality and taking steps to handle it may be emotionally painful and hard to deal with at the moment, but the payoff will be worth it. It can take a great deal of courage to confront a substance abuse problem and there can be challenges along the way, but dealing with these challenges is something that can be done efficiently and effectively with the help of treatment professionals. Confronting substance abuse doesn't have to be a lonely process, and drug rehab programs can help individuals with mild, moderate and serious drug or alcohol addiction problems. Even if someone feels that their particular case is hopeless, many have felt this way but made it to the other side with effective treatment so they could go on to have a drug and alcohol free life. There is no quality of life when drugs and alcohol are in the picture, so confronting that one has a problem and doing something about it gives individuals an opportunity to actually lead a life worth living. Not just for themselves, but for their family and loved ones as well.

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