No one initially wants to admit that their alcohol use has become problematic. No one wants to admit that their drug use has become more than just recreational.
But the reality is that is that if you have developed a problem with drugs and/or alcohol you do know, you might not want readily to admit it to yourself and you sure as hell don’t want to admit it to anyone else. But deep down you do know that your use is getting out of hand.
For most people, the next step is usually years of denial, denial to themselves and to the people that care about them. During this period there will be lots of good intentions of stopping or cutting down but the reality is that that no real change takes place until something more serious hits i.e. a marriage or relationship break up or being threatened with divorce or splitting up, loss of employment, loss of your home, loss of access to your kids, an overdose…..the list goes on.
There is this perversive idea someone has to “hit rock bottom” before they are willing to accept help or able to follow through with doing something about their alcohol or drug use. There are several problems with this.
“Rock bottom” Is Arbitrary
The first issue with the rock bottom idea is that there is no clear definition for “rock bottom.” One person may imagine rock bottom is being thrown out of their home, living on the streets and swigging bottles of high strength cider day in and day out. For someone else it’s passing out at their kids’ birthday party or getting so drunk they wet themselves.
Problematic Use Is Progressive.
There are serious costs to passively waiting for your rock bottom to arrive or for some cataclysmic event to happen. For one, problematic alcohol and drug use is progressive—and the longer you live with it, the harder it will be to stop and stay stopped. Over time your tolerance grows, your behaviours and habits get more deeply ingrained, and the structure of your brain even changes. Also getting on top of your drug and/or alcohol problems are difficult enough without waiting for the effects of some cataclysmic event to add to your problems. It is much easier getting on top of your problems with the love and support of your family while you are in your nice warm home with your creature comforts than doing it in some manky bedsit or bed and breakfast after you have been kicked out. Help Me Stop, as a team of recovering individual ourselves and all our current and past clients have a message for you “ if you are reading this on the back of another binge or another failed attempt to cut down or stop it will never be easier than it is right now to start recovery – don’t wait”. Also, alcohol and drug use increases your risk of serious health issues. The longer you wait, the more you are exposed to these risks; some of which are not reversible.
Some People Never Reach Rock Bottom
There were over 1800* alcohol-specific deaths registered in England and Wales from July 2020 to the end of September 2020, a 22.6% increase compared with 2019. The rate of death relating to drug misuse in England and Wales in 2019 was 50.4 deaths per million people. 2019 is now the year with the highest number of registered drug poisoning deaths since records began and, this marks a 52 per cent increase in drug related deaths in the last 10 years.
Many cocaine users do not see it the drug as a big deal but deaths involving cocaine increased for the eighth successive year, by 7.7% for male deaths and by 26.5% for female deaths.
Problematic alcohol and drug use is a killer. Many of these deaths are from accidental overdoses. Some of those people and their families there rock-bottom moment never arrived. Others may have had a rock-bottom moment, or even several, but it wasn’t enough for them to decide to seek help. As we said above it will never be easier than it is right now to start recovery, don’t wait until it is too late.
Many People Who Succeed In Long Term Abstinence And Sobriety Started Out As Ambivalent.
The appeal of the rock bottom idea is that someone with a drug or alcohol problem can suddenly find clarity and purpose when they have lost everything. However, people with drug and alcohol problems rarely hit a turning point in the initial stages at which they become 100% committed to recovery. Instead, they may feel like their lives have gone a bit off-piste or they are acquiescing to their families’ pleas to get help. Few people are 100% committed that that they want to come into some sort of formal treatment from day 1. But programmes like Help Me Stop’s will help you build on your motivation to stop and stay stopped and help you build systems for maintaining recovery even when your motivation lags.
If you are concerned about your relationship with drugs or alcohol, or someone else’s, and want to stop and staying stopped then call us now on 0208 191 8920 or jump onto email us directly at https://helpmestop.org.uk/contact-us
Alternatively chat to us via our Live Chat between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday
Help Me Stop’s intensive non-residential outpatient Dayhab drug and alcohol treatment programme is an effective psychological solution that also offers 3 months of free accessible aftercare and family support options. Treatment is delivered face to face either in the mornings or afternoons over 6 weeks.
For those adults can’t get to our centre in West London we offer a 6-week morning or evening online outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programme, run by the same therapists that provide the face-to-face programme.
Chris Cordell is Help Me Stop's General Manager and is a senior associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine, Certified International Recovery Specialist, member of the International Society of Addiction Medicine and a member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.
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