You’re an addict. You’ve been using for months, or years, or even decades. From time to time you tell yourself that you are going to get the help you need; you understand it has become a problem and substances are affecting your life in many negative ways. You friends and family have spoken to you about your substance problem and how it is pushing you apart from them; but you just tell them that it’s not that big of a deal and you are handling it. You may have looked into treatment facilities or spoken with a counselor a few times, but that’s it. You may not be convinced it’s time to get help.
But what are you waiting for? To lose all of your friends and family? To hit rock bottom? What if your rock bottom is death? There are no reasons worth waiting to get help.
Committing to treatment and getting help can be frightening. Your substance of choice and your addiction have been a safe place, a warm fuzzy feeling…even a friend for quite some time. Taking the first step and figuring out what route to take, who to speak to, and how to get your affairs in order before you start your treatment journey can be confusing. You also might be worried about giving up everything you have known for so long. Using substances has become a comfort; what if you don’t like the sober version of yourself?
Relinquishing that control is probably not what you want…but it is definitely what you need. If you are even questioning whether or not you need to get sober, then you do.
The experts at Drugabuse.gov posted 12 questions on their site for addicts to ask themselves. If you answer yes to multiple of these questions, it’s time to get help.
- Do you think about drugs a lot?
- Did you ever try to stop or cut down on your drug usage but couldn’t?
- Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without the use of drugs?
- Do you ever use drugs because you are upset or angry at other people?
- Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
- Have you ever taken one drug to get over the effects of another?
- Have you ever made mistakes at a job or at school because you were using drugs?
- Does the thought of running out of drugs really scare you?
- Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to pay for drugs?
- Have you ever been arrested or in the hospital because of your drug use?
- Have you ever overdosed on drugs?
- Has using drugs hurt your relationships with other people?
Even if you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, you still might be hesitant to get the help you need for your substance problem. This is understandable. There are so many others out there in your shoes right now. Substance abuse counselors and doctors are aware that there are stigmas surrounding rehab and addiction, as well as barriers and limitations out there stopping individuals like you from getting the help they really need.
Let’s go into a few of these barriers and how you can mentally and physically overcome them.
The Negative Stigma
Just like with many mental health problems, addiction surrounds itself with negative stigmas that society places upon it. Think of a stigma like The Scarlet Letter. It is a label of “disgrace” or a negative connotation that follows you around because of how you are, what you do, or what you look like. For example, there are negative stigmas surrounding those who suffer with eating disorders and also those with bipolar disorder, which cause many to hide in the shadow with shame instead of getting help, raising their heads high, and advocating for themselves.
That is the unfortunate thing with stigma; it causes groups of people, like addicts, to not get the treatment they desperately need. And consequently, addiction is one of the most highly stigmatized mental health issues.
So, what can we do as addicts and as a society to fight the stigma of addiction? A few options are to advocate, educate, create pro-recovery policies and programs, and engage in a community of like-minded individuals on the topic.Those at Hazelden Betty Ford advocate for addicts and are on a journey to de-stigmatize mental health issues. This is what they had to say:
“Recognizing that public perceptions are swayed by the popular words and images used to describe people and communities, we are committed to de-stigmatizing the language associated with alcohol and drug addiction, and the portrayal of drug addiction in news and entertainment media, as well as within our institutions.”
Other Barriers to Treatment
People may go untreated for multiple reasons, some which may be out of their control at the time; however, some of these barriers can easily be jumped over with the assistance of treatment specialists.
Some examples of barriers to substance abuse treatment include:
- Cost of treatment
- No support system
- Lack of insurance
- Culture or religion
- Bad past experiences
- Lack of knowledge
- Making comparisons
- Privacy concerns
- A change in family status
- Co-occurring disorders
If you are currently struggling with any of these barriers mentioned, there are professionals who can help you get past them and successfully into treatment. Those who work at treatment facilities are very aware of these common barriers to getting help. Helping you is not their first rodeo. With that being said, all you need to do is take the first baby step, which is reaching out to a treatment program over the phone and start asking questions. Being completely open and honest will be your best route, as they need to know where you are at both emotionally and physically.
The professionals who work at Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado are extremely aware that those who call and make that first step are incredibly brave…and also vulnerable and in need of someone to guide them through the process in a respectful and gentle manner. Continuum has various programs to offer individuals at different stages in their recovery. They will meet you where you are at and bring you to where you need to be.
Don’t hesitate! There’s never a bad time to get help. Please contact a representative at Continuum today to see how they can get you started in the process.