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Friday, August 2, 2019

Understanding Why Addiction Isn’t a Weakness

Many people remain in denial about their addiction for years by hiding it behind normal, everyday activities like holding down a good job, exercising and spending time with their families. The reality is that anyone can wear a mask when interacting with others, but how you behave when you’re alone says it all. Perhaps you stay up drinking alone, long after everyone else in your household has gone to bed. Or maybe you leave work in the middle of the day for a “doctor’s appointment” and spend the rest of the afternoon getting high.

Only you know how hard you need to work to seem “normal” so no one will suspect the extent of your problem. You may even fool a therapist if you enter a program to deal with your illness. In others’ minds, you are nothing like the “rock-bottom” stereotype of people who have lost their homes, jobs and families, but you know you can’t stop drinking or using drugs on your own.

Suffering in Silence

Individuals who get caught up in substance misuse often view themselves as falling short of their standards. Feeling guilt about your perceived shortcomings leads to a negative mindset, and the public stigma around the so-called “failings” of people with addiction doesn’t encourage anyone to seek treatment. You also know being honest with other people about your addiction might cause them to treat you differently. For example, if you tell your boss you are going to rehab, you could put your reputation and your job on the line. Many people living with an active addiction do not want to take these risks, so they stay quiet and struggle alone.

Even people who exert strong ambition and willpower in other areas of their lives have trouble saying no when an addiction takes hold. That’s because of the way drug and alcohol use impacts your brain chemistry, creating powerful feelings of fulfillment and well-being that become increasingly difficult to resist. Media depictions of addiction often portray addicts as people who have lost all hope, but who choose to keep using regardless of the harm they are doing to themselves and others. The reality, however, is that once you become physically and psychologically dependent on drugs or alcohol, it can be a nearly unsurmountable challenge to walk away without professional help.

Don’t Let Your Addiction Define You

Substance addiction can transform you into a different person. Your illness might make you lie, steal, mislead others and rob you of everything you love – all because you can’t stop using your drug of choice on your own. Because of the behavioral problems associated with addiction, most people find it difficult to view the addiction and the individual separately. Instead, they conflate the two and assume addicted people have no willpower or sense of morality.

At Canyon Crossing, women can find a new meaning to their lives by separating themselves from their substance misuse issues. In our transitional living program, you will find the compassion you need to work through your challenges in a supportive environment. Admitting you need help for your addiction is not a sign of weakness, but of courage. When you are ready to make a second start in life, we are here for you.

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