A common misconception in today’s world is that treatment is reserved only for people who call themselves addicts or alcoholics, or worse yet, that you need to hit rock bottom to go there. I am here to tell you that’s just not true. Addiction treatment is beneficial for anyone and everyone who needs it.
Addiction is a spectrum and we need to throw out the idea that you need to be homeless, lose everything, or be drinking in the morning in order to benefit from attending treatment. I’ve spoken to many people in my life who believe their drinking or using “isn’t that bad,” because of the way society views addiction and substance users. If you feel like you’re having negative consequences from your drinking, if it’s making you feel bad, or it’s interfering with your life at all, that is reason enough to stop. Any reason to stop is enough and getting help from treatment is one way to do so.
Another common misconception about addiction treatment is that it’s only for people who need to physically detox from substances. Of course, treatment is a place where helping ease the pain of physical withdrawal is a part of the program, but it’s not the only thing addiction treatment is for. Just because you aren’t physically addicted to substances doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from treatment. Addiction treatment provides more than medical care. Treatment is a place where someone can get a full mental health check. If there is another symptom contributing to your addiction like anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, or an eating disorder, addiction treatment can also provide treatment for these co-occurring issues. Identification of all things that are contributing to your health are imperative for you to get better.
Additionally, addiction treatment offers a wide variety of therapies. It’s not all 12 step meetings and talk therapy. While those are great and work for many people, other people may need alternative therapies like acupuncture, hypnotherapy, yoga, or meditation. Treatment centers also provide resources for aftercare support. Treatment is a wonderful environment to build support, coping skills, and life lessons that you might not have had before, but one of the most advantageous parts is the departing support they leave you with. When you go out into the real world, you’ll have a plan on how to stay sober and navigate the world without substances. What you learn in treatment will remain a part of your future for years to come.
Perhaps the best part of addiction treatment is that it provides structure and an environment dedicated specifically to you taking care of yourself. We live in a society that prides itself on being busy, achieving the most you can in the shortest amount of time, and where sleep isn’t a priority because productivity is king. It’s no wonder that alcohol becomes a coping mechanism for so many people, we become addicted, and then we don’t want to admit we need help. Many times, we need to be taught how to take care of ourselves, how to find work-life balance, and how to live a life without using substances to cope.
Addiction treatment can teach us how to do this. Stigma tells us we don’t need it. Stigma tells us that there’s something wrong with us if we want to ask for help. Stigma tells us that if we aren’t losing everything, we aren’t misusing alcohol. The reality is everyone can benefit from structure. Going to treatment can teach you how to connect to people again, how to form healthy relationships, how to function and be a supportive human being without the help or crutch of alcohol. Everyone can benefit from learning healthy ways to cope, learning how to set goals for your life, and removing the barriers that currently block you from living a healthy, fulfilling life.
Here’s what you need to know: if alcohol or drugs make you feel bad, if you get nasty hangovers, if you feel like less of a person, if you feel like you can’t manage your life, or if you feel like crap the day after drinking, you can benefit from addiction treatment. You don’t have to hit the proverbial “rock bottom,” or get arrested, or get kicked out of your house, or lose all of your belongings, or break-up with your significant other.
Anyone who feels like they want to change their relationship to alcohol or drugs will find a safe haven and a place to heal at addiction treatment. It’s important that we continue to break the stigma of addiction and recovery, and this includes the stigma around seeking out and accepting addiction treatment.
Kelly Fitzgerald Junco
Kelly Fitzgerald Junco is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.