After the intensity of looking into the deep reaching impacts of addiction, and ways in which medication and psychology can help us to deal with our dependencies, it is time to take a step back and recognize the people that will be of most assistance to us during our journey from addict to abstinence.
In much the same way that medicines are not often prescribed without a psychological intervention, and vice-versa, the journey back to ‘normality’ is often impossible when we do not have the help and support of those closest to us.
Who are the groups and individuals, outside of those we have already discussed in this series, whom will have the biggest role to play in our recovery?
Family Members & Friends
As we already know, opening up to family members or friends about our addictions can be hugely difficult. This will often be born out of how we feel ourselves in relation to our condition, and what we perceive will be the reactions of others. Shame, embarrassment, and disgust are just three of the strong emotions that many addicts will deal with when handling their condition. Others also hide their problems, as a means of shutting themselves from the reality of their problems and so they are not faced with the difficultly of admitting addiction.
Even when we do open up to those closest to us, we can still be affected by how they judge us, especially if they impose their own views on why we are addicts in the first place.
Accept that you may need to ask friends or family to attend a support group with you, or to speak to your medical professional, so that they form a greater understanding of how your addictions are affecting you, and importantly, the work you have already done in dealing with your demons.
Perhaps suggesting one of the self-help books we mentioned last time would better help them to understand your situation.
Most importantly, show that you are willing to listen, but need them to do the same.
Speaking to people we work with can often be a lot easier than dealing with those closest to us.
Although we form close bonds with work colleagues, it is not the same as that with a close friend or family member, and as such, there might not be the inclination to want to give their opinion, or impose personal views on you. If someone to listen is what you are looking for, then work colleagues will often be your best option, especially in terms of making you feel comfortable.
Despite stigmas around addictions and psychological illnesses still existing in the workplace, many businesses now sponsor and will actively enter affected employees into rehabilitation programs.
If you are looking to fully open up about your addiction, look to speak to someone in a management position – they are bound to confidentiality and you are safe from the risk of your situation becoming the hot office talking point.
Probation & Prison Services
The stark reality of addiction, as we know, is that is can all too often end in us falling onto the wrong side of the law.
Even in seemingly hopeless places such as prison, however, we are not alone in coping with our addictions. Those of us who end up incarcerated can find that it is actually the best thing that could have happened to us, and it often is not an over-exaggeration to state that doing so has potentially saved our lives.
Drug support systems in prisons are in place to help us to get clean, with the aim of ensuring we do not fall back into our addictions following release.
To assist us in this respect, probation services continue to be supportive, and while their primary role will usually be to encourage and enforce attendance to psychological sessions, they can often be crucial resources of advice in their own right.
With the correct medication, exposure to valuable group and individual psychological counseling sessions, help from those closest to us, and of course the self-will to beat our addictions, there are few things that can stand in our way.
In the final installment of our series, we look at how to manage addictions over the longer-term, including dealing with the reality that we will always be addicts.