People suffering from the disease of addiction and alcoholism have a very difficult time seeing the problem for what it is.  This is because of the defense mechanism of denial.  Denial has been known to stand for ” don’t  even  notice  I   am   Lying “, which means a person in denial isn’t lying, they believe there own perceptions.  Addiction and alcoholism always have denial present, this is to ensure that the disease can continue to progress. People in active addiction have a very difficult time imagining life without their substance. This can create fear of loss, which just like in the stages of grief denial becomes present. People can have their loved ones pointing out the problem and even give evidence to back up their pleads. There can be a trail of consequences and manageability in their lives that may seem to be solid proof of a problem being present and yet denial can say it isn’t so. This can be crazy making and can be confusing for both the alcoholic and their loved ones. There can be several accusations and misunderstandings by friends, employers, family and spouses as a result of not understanding this disease and the denial that comes with it.  Denial can keep an individual stuck in a viscous cycle of constant sprees, daily use and continuous negative behaviours and consequences.  This cycle can lead to broken marriages, lost friends, lost jobs, impaired’s,  criminal behaviour,  lowered self worth,  compromised or serious health issues and eventually total hopelessness and despair.  Often the family and loved ones can’t break through this denial and the individual isn’t able to see the truth.  In the midst of the disease it can be impossible to see the forest for the trees.  More often than not people need to be removed from their environment and the substance before the truth is able to be seen.  Once in a safe environment the addict / alcoholic is able to see the truth about their situation and recognizes the problem for what it truly is. 

However seeing the problem is just the beginning. Just abstaining isn’t the solution. Those who abstain without replacing the habit with positive activities and behaviours, identifying the under lying issues,  understanding (education) the disease, learning better life skills and addressing their overall wellness quite often end up miserable and relapsing.  This disease is not one to be tackled alone. Support, understanding and love are crucial components to successfully overcoming this affliction. Like any disease, relapse is a real possibility but not at all necessary. The more one understands, makes changes and creates a solid foundation, the better chance of staying clean and sober and creating a life full of hope and promise. Part of treatment is taking an honest look at oneself, this doesn’t fall out of the sky or happen overnight. Treatment takes work and time. People who have guidance from experienced professionals, are given education and support get put on the right path. This needs to continue even after treatment. People need community, connection and ongoing support and maintenance.  Support groups are a key component in ongoing recovery. Those who take it a day at a time, find a reliance on something bigger than their own self will and continue to to keep focus on their own inventories and create ideal values to live by discover a life full of rewards and possibilities.

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