It’s a tragic fact that only about 10% of people with addictions enter rehab and get help for the problem. There are varying reasons for this, but one thing that keeps some people from getting help is believing that their addiction isn’t “bad enough” to warrant treatment yet. So they keep going, using, waiting to hit bottom before seeking treatment. It is a destructive path to take, as waiting until addiction gets bad enough costs many addicts their lives. The truth is, if you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, you’re in a dangerous position in the first place. Waiting to get help can rob you of everything you love, and in the worst-case scenario, it can suddenly rob you of your very life.
When assessing the severity of their addiction, many people mistakenly think that you only have a severe addiction if you’ve lost a job, a home, and a marriage or other treasured relationships. In early addiction, you may not have lost any of these things. Does that mean you don’t need treatment? Absolutely not. It means that so far, you’ve lucked out on not losing facets of your life, but every time you abuse drugs or alcohol, you are risking the loss of your most valuable asset: your life itself. Overdoses and alcohol poisoning ruthlessly kill thousands of people a year. If you’re abusing illicit drugs or drinking to the point that it could kill you, your addiction is very much bad enough to get treatment.
ASSESSING THE LEVEL OF ADDICTION
When asking yourself if your addiction is bad enough to get treatment, you need to look at more than just material facets of your life. You need to look at the way you feel, the way you treat others, and the amount of drugs or alcohol you’re using. If you feel so uneasy about your addiction that you’re asking if it’s bad enough to seek treatment, it is likely bad enough to get treatment. If you’re unsatisfied with your life, recovery can help you get back on track and leave behind the substances that are making you miserable. Look at these few things to see how bad your addiction might be:
- Loss of control
- Personality changes
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Helplessness to quit even though you want to
The fact is that you don’t have to lose everything you have to need treatment for your problem. If you’ve lost control over your life and your feelings, if you feel uneasy about the path your life is taking, and you believe that quitting drugs or alcohol will change the course of your life, you’re ready for treatment. Addiction doesn’t even need to be bad to warrant help. If you want to quit because of financial matters, but can’t, treatment is your option. If you want to stop because drugs or alcohol affect something like your weight or your disposition, then it’s “bad enough” to get help if you try to quit on your own and can’t.
FRIENDS WHO DISCOURAGE TREATMENT
There are many people out there who believe addiction itself looks like a sure thing, and if you’re not in that range of use, the people might lay off your problems to something else. Remember that for some friends you’ve been around, drug abuse and alcoholism are a part of their everyday life. They may view using drugs and alcohol as normal. With friends like that, who needs enemies? While you may appreciate the friends you’ve met in addiction, they’re not the best people to ask for help or advice about a substance abuse problem (primarily because they have one).
If you are being told that your addiction isn’t a big deal by people who actively use drugs and alcohol themselves, it’s time to get a new perspective from other people who don’t use drugs and alcohol. Has your family mentioned personality changes? Do you feel yourself changing? Have you hidden your drug and alcohol abuse from others? You’re the person who knows when you have a problem. If you believe that you have an addiction and want to quit but can’t, treatment is a wise idea. The fact is that professionals know that any abuse of drugs and alcohol can destroy a person’s life. You can have a very early addiction and stop it before it gets “bad enough.”
PREVENTING A NIGHTMARE
Even though your addiction may not have progressed to the point that your life is devastated, we have a substantial body of research that shows the trajectory of addiction. Even if you haven’t lost a home, friendships, your job, or schooling, you can rest assured that if you continue using illicit substances and drinking far too much, all of those things are in your future. Your own experience may be very early, but it’s heading toward all the things that come with drug and alcohol addiction. Why wait until everything is gone when there’s a way to get help early?
The world of addiction can get very scary indeed, and by the time that it does get to the point that your life is destroyed, it’s too late to prevent the nightmare from happening. Some people believe that because they have a successful career or a great marriage with a partner who accepts that they use, they don’t have a problem that’s bad enough. And it may be true. The problem isn’t bad, yet. If you’re unhappy with your use and you want to quit, and you find that you try to stop and can’t, then it’s bad enough to get treatment. You might not be inside a nightmare yet, but you’re heading there, albeit a little more slowly than some people reach that nightmare.
THERE’S HOPE, AND THERE’S HELP
Anyone who wants to get help will find a safe haven inside one of the thousands of rehab centers in the United States. These places are a safe place to get well, and they’re staffed by compassionate, helpful professionals who have one goal: to help you. Talking to a counselor can help you decide whether rehab is right for you. Just remember that your addiction doesn’t have to be “rock bottom” before help is wise. By reaching out for help before things get bad enough, you’re happily depriving yourself of all the horrible things that come with long-term addiction.
Age doesn’t matter either. If you’re a teenager admitting you have a problem, you may feel like it’s too early to give up your lifestyle. Maybe you think you’ll never reach the depths of hell like so many other addicts. Rest assured that the day is coming, and by going to treatment, you’re going to be able to feel better and leave that lifestyle behind for one of recovery. People of all ages have addictions, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. No matter where you are on the road of addiction, there is help and hope out there waiting for you within the walls of treatment centers.