Like many things in life, the experience of addiction and recovery will be different for every person. This is true both for people who struggle with addiction and for family members and friends of addicted persons.
Indeed, how people respond to addiction can depend on a wide variety of factors: For example, a person who is able to see how they are personally responsible for their decisions will be more likely to take control over their lives and their addictions.
Why Everyone Has a Different Response to Substance Issues
Because each case of addiction is different, however, there is no one right answer to the question of whether a person has a strong likelihood of overcoming their substance abuse problem.
That being said, there are ways to make a person’s situation more amenable to recovery. For example, an individual who seeks treatment for substance abuse issues can learn many skills related to sober living by working closely with counselors or modeling various healthy coping mechanisms with peers or therapists. With a good treatment plan, a person may also learn more about the root causes of their substance abuse issues.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
In this way, a person who can gain a better understanding of their personal motivations for using substances will be in a good position to address their addictive behaviors.
In many respects, for example, the use of substances is simply a deeply flawed substitute for healthy coping mechanisms. Every person deals with stressors in life; however, the way in which a person responds to those stressors is often determined by the kinds of coping skills that they have put in place over many years.
For example, a person who has grown up in a household with an alcoholic parent may learn early on that their needs are always subservient to the parent’s needs. When the parent missed work due to excessive drinking, the child may have learned to cover for the alcoholic parent in various ways. They may have called into work for the parent in order to excuse their parent’s behavior. They may have cooked or cleaned for their parent when their parent was “sick” with a hangover.
When Our Coping Mechanisms Fail Us
As an adult, this same person may have slipped into patterns of codependency without realizing it. At home or at work, they may feel strong emotions centered around guilt or shame when they set personal boundaries with others. Having seen how their parent reacted to hearing the word “no,” for example, they may become petrified at the thought of creating interpersonal conflict. They may confuse boundary setting with aggression; in relationships, they may confuse pity with affection. To manage all of these confusing experiences, the person may turn to alcohol or other substances in order to gain a sense of relief.
A person in such a situation may not fully understand <i>why</i> they drink alcohol or use drugs. Often, our personal shortcomings are so central to who we are that we are blind to their deleterious effects on our personal lives. This is where treatment for addiction issues can seriously aid individuals who are prone to alcoholism or other forms of substance abuse.
When Treatment Corrects Misconceptions About the Self
To wit, a good treatment program will address issues that a person may be dealing with on a very deep level. If the person can connect these issues to their current struggles with substance use, they will be more likely to gain control over their addictions. Treatment can help a person in a wide variety of significant ways:
- It can help a person resolve traumatic experiences that act as roadblocks to recovery
- It can help a person develop healthy coping mechanisms for stressors
- It can help a person take personal responsibility for their actions
Everyone approaches treatment differently; no two persons will have the exact same experience of treatment or therapy. But there are a few commonalities to the experience of treatment for substance abuse. A person may find a great deal of relief in the notion that life can improve after treatment. They may feel more optimistic about making personal changes.
If you feel as though you or a loved one may be ready to move forward on matters related to substance addiction, know that there are people who can help you. Starting on the road to recovery can be one of the most meaningful steps that a person can take in life. We are here to help! Call us at 772-266-5320.