The mind of an addict is chaotic. Even once they’ve hit rock bottom (or somewhere close), the rational mind remains chained beneath chemical dependency. Addiction hijacks the brain in a way that most don’t quite understand. But during these struggles with cognitive dissonance, brief windows of clarity shine through. The addict becomes willing to accept help. Even desires it. Maybe they got fired from a job, or their significant other was finally fed up enough to leave for good. The circumstances that open a small window vary with each individual. Regardless of the reason, these small windows for addicts wanting help are crucial for recovery. They represent the only hope for treating this ravaging disease.
Denial Creates a Stutter-Step to Treatment
Most diseases offer a linear treatment path. Diabetics learn to manage insulin levels. Asthmatics carry rescue inhalers. But addicts, as people with a behavioral disease, suffer from an inherent disadvantage for treating their disease. Accepting help requires a rational decision-making process. And by the time an addict needs help, their objective reasoning abilities have already been compromised. They’ve been chemically dependent long enough that maintaining homeostasis supersedes all other considerations. They convince themselves that “it’s really not that bad.” This denial creates a stutter step that keeps them stuck in second guessing whether they need help at all.
Denial delays treatment if it doesn’t kill the addict first. Fatal overdoses loom over addicts who cannot admit that they have a problem. According to the most recent CDC numbers, 188 Americans died every day from drug overdoses in 2017. That doesn’t even count alcohol. When you combine both of these populations, it’s hard to overstate the importance of getting the ball rolling on treatment ASAP.
The Small Window Creates Urgency
When an addict becomes willing to accept help, a countdown almost always begins. No one knows the exact amount of time. Maybe it’s a few hours. Or a few days. But eventually, their addiction will regain its stranglehold over their will once again. It’s simply the way of the disease. As hard as loved ones hope that addicts will just turn a new leaf one day, that’s not the way it works.
So this small window creates a need for urgency. The myth of “getting it out of your system” is just that… a myth. The only way to get addiction out of your system is through a combination of detox medication, an addiction therapy program, and a strong fellowship network. And maybe psych meds if the individual suffers from dual diagnosis. Even then, it’s not out of your system entirely, but it’s managed to the point where the person can live a functional life. But to begin all these things, the active addict must find a way to crawl through that small window.
Get Ready to Boost Them Through
Support from loved ones carves a path for a large number of recovering addicts and alcoholics. Although the individual must ultimately make the choice for him or herself, outside aid can mean the difference between life and death. Or at the very least, between a life well-lived and one chained to a disease.
In order to bite the bullet and choose recovery, addicts must find the means to get through that small window. Lining up a treatment center for them to go to is the first step. Some individuals do this for themselves. But many active addicts ultimately rely on a parent, significant other, or other loved one to set up their transition into treatment. So it’s best to have resources ready to boost them through the small window when it does finally open. Otherwise, the opportunity will pass and they’ll return to their destructive path.
If you or a loved one is seeking help for a substance abuse problem, our addiction counselors are available 24/7 by phone for free case assessments. We also offer referrals to other licensed and accredited treatment centers, and any other recovery resources as needed: 855-737-7363