Many people with addictions to substances such as drugs and, especially, alcohol are unaware of the seriousness of their problem. For those with an alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to spot that their habitual drinking has developed into a dependence on the substance.
They may be aware that they are drinking more than they used to, but if they are still functioning well, they could be oblivious to the damage their addiction is doing to their health. Not everyone is ready for recovery when they first acknowledge their addiction problem. This is why they need all the help and support we can give them.
Hitting Rock Bottom
Many believe that an alcoholic must hit â€˜rock bottomâ€™ before deciding to get help. However, rock-bottom is not the same for everyone. It is the point at which the affected person decides enough is enough and are ready to get help. It does not have to be at a point where that person is perceived to be unable to go any lower.
Some people realise quite early in their addiction that they have a problem while others can carry on practicing denial for a long time. Some individuals will only accept that they have a problem that needs help when a loved one issues an ultimatum or when their doctor tells them that if they carry on drinking, they will face serious health consequences.
Ready for Change
Those with addiction are ready for recovery at different times. Two people who became addicted to alcohol at the same time may not be ready to get help at the same time.
There are five stages on the road to recovery:
- Pre-Contemplation – This is the stage where the addict is oblivious to the fact that his or her drinking or drug-taking is a problem. The individual does not see anything wrong with the habit and has no intention of changing his or her behaviour.
- Contemplation – At this stage, the addict has an idea that the drinking or drug taking may be causing problems in his/her life.
- Preparation â€“ This is the point when addicts readily accept that they have a problem and will begin the process of finding out how to rectify it.
- Action â€“ Once the addict has accepted that he or she has a problem, it will be time to take action. This is the point where the individual begins a programme of detox and rehabilitation in order to start the journey towards sobriety.
- Maintenance â€“ Once detox and rehabilitation are complete, the recovering addict will maintain their sobriety going forward. This is essential as addiction cannot be cured â€“ only treated. Recovering addicts will be at risk of relapse for the rest of their lives and will have to work hard to ensure that they stay on the right track.
Every person with an addiction who eventually seeks help and makes and effort to overcome their addiction will go through the five stages above. Nevertheless, some people are simply not ready for change and even if they attempt rehabilitation, they will quickly revert to their old ways once they are back in the real world.
For family members and friends of addicts, it can be incredibly frustrating to watch their loved ones as they struggle with this destructive illness. Nonetheless, no matter how much they want their loved one to get better, they cannot force them to do so until they are ready for it.
If a person is ready for recovery, they will be motivated to work hard and will want to do everything they can to make a positive change in their lives. If someone is only entering rehab because they have been forced into it by their loved ones, though, they are unlikely to succeed.