Support from Denial to Recovery

 In After Treatment, All Articles, Before Treatment, During Treatment, Know: Chemical Dependency

find support in the fog of addiction

You are not Alone with Addiction

Admitting drug or alcohol abuse has become a problem can be the most difficult step for a person with an addiction or their loved ones. Overcoming denial will begin the healing process for everyone involved with addiction. Realizing you are not the only people to struggle with this disease and educating yourself on it will help you acknowledge the problem and begin the healing process. Thankfully, a variety of resources exist for both people with addictions and their loved ones. These include support groups, online forums and books.

You may already be familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), and other free, confidential support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) and Cocaine Anonymous (C.A. ). These groups are a place for people to overcome their addiction and maintain sobriety together. Their philosophies approach addiction as a medical disease which must be overcome one day at a time while using the 12 – Step Program as a guide. Step One? Admit there is a problem. Talking to people at various stages of recovery helps those struggling to overcome denial, and convince them to seek a happier healthier life.

Friends and loved ones of an individual with an addiction also need support. Drug and alcohol addiction has far reaching effects. It’s important for those not actually abusing the substance to also acknowledge the problem and stop enabling addiction. Understanding other people’s experiences of addiction may help loved ones realize the gravity of the situation. Support groups, not for addicts but, for someone affected by someone’s addiction include Al-anon (alcohol), Al-ateen (teen alcoholism), and Nar-anon (narcotics). Like A.A., these groups provide a place where people can share their difficulties in a safe and non-judgmental environment. These groups use a variation of the 12-Steps designed for those affected by but not using addictive substances. Step One- admit that alcohol or drugs has become a problem in your life.

Many initially resist going to meetings because of embarrassment  or confidentiality concerns. Remember, these meetings are designed to be non-judgmental and anonymous. If denial is still the greatest obstacle, convince the person to go even with the attitude that he or she does not belong there. Just going to a meeting, even in denial, can help someone realize that chemical dependency has become a destructive part of his or her life.

The internet provides a convenient and, perhaps, more approachable way to connect with others struggling with addiction themselves or of their loved ones.  An alternative to face-to-face support groups are online forums. Excuses such as schedule conflicts or confidentiality concerns are no longer valid. The person seeking help can either actively participate, writing on the forums and responding to others, or her or she can simply read others’ posts. If that is more appealing, you can find blogs that share the details of their or their loved one’s journey to sobriety. These honest and accessible accounts show that you are not alone on the road to recovery. Lastly, as you have already discovered, the internet can help you understand the technical aspects of addiction, assess the extent of drug or alcohol addiction, and the many treatment options available to you.  

Books can provide an unexpected breakthrough. In particular, memoirs can entertain, educate, and enlighten an individual in denial. Someone can relate to these genuine tales of addiction and begin to recognize that something must be done in his or her own life. Caroline Knapp’s Drinking: A Love Story focuses her struggle with alcoholism as a woman.  It is an excellent and compelling depiction of addiction and the recovery process for anyone. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through his Son’s Addiction relates David Sheff’s struggles with his son’s drug addiction, including his own denial of the problem. These highly praised memoirs are only two of thousands which give readers the opportunity to better understand addiction and it’s effects on an individual and his or her loved ones. Libraries and bookstores have many more that appeal to a particular situation.

Denial is the main obstacle to recovery. Overcoming it and seeking treatment will lead to a happier and healthier life for everyone. Treating chemical dependency is a difficult process, but is a rewarding one for everyone involved. Knowing that you are not alone makes it easier. Support groups, online forums, and personal accounts will reinforce your determination to live substance-free and help you through the tougher moments. The goal of recovery, regardless of your role in the situation, is to rediscover the best parts of yourself, rebuild fracture relationships, and return to a happy life.

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