When Does an Addict Seek Treatment?

Posted by in Addiction

There tends to be a significant barrier to therapy for many addicts. Consider the road that the addict travels. They manage their secret as long as possible, slowly sinking deeper and deeper until one of two things happen. Either they are discovered and face the shame that comes with it – forcing them to seek treatment and rebuild their lives.

Alternatively, they reach a point where their secret is too much for them to handle and the addiction has taken over their life to the extent where they simply can no longer function. In this case, the addict is in the pre-contemplation stage. This is where they he or she knows that an intervention is needed and something has to change. They feel ready to make a change, however, they still need to cross the giant chasm that is moving from thoughts of recovery toward action.

There are a number of avenues for recovery including the renowned 12-Step programs, which can be invaluable to support the addict and their family. The primary barrier for many people this case, however, is being “found out”. To walk into an open meeting, one faces the fear of bumping into their neighbor, pastor pharmacist or child’s teacher.

“How can I seek treatment if it means that word is going to get out?

This might cost me my marriage, job or standing in the community?!”

The important thing to realize in these settings is that it is a safe and confidential environment. The meetings are built upon a fellowship which is aimed at embracing and supporting each other, as everyone else at the meeting has the same secret and is equally trusting you with it. Many have reported that by sharing their addiction with others, it has been liberating, as if a weight has been lifted from them. This is particularly true, in an environment where they feel that others understand them, and without judgment, support them.

Furthermore, in today’s tech environment, those with busy schedules who may otherwise not be able to attend daily meetings can participate in online and phone meetings throughout the day. Though they are absolutely helpful and effective, they still do have the same impact as face-to-face meetings.

Finally, having a properly trained therapist can make all the difference, whether in addition to, or in place of 12-Step meetings. It should be someone you feel comfortable with and are willing to open up to honestly. The types of modalities which have been proven to be particularly effective includes a combination of Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and psychotherapy. The support that the addict receives will be most effective, when in conjunction with therapy or support for one’s family members. Since the recovery process can be a long road which impacts the entire household, thinking about the bigger picture will produce stronger results.

To contact Ari Sytner for counseling, interventions or feedback, please click here.


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