First Step to Recovery

First Step to Recovery

Recognizing and accepting that you have a problem with substance abuse can be difficult. A major part of this is the stigma that surrounds it. Part of why it can be difficult to accept you need help is because addiction is a disease and it compels people to compulsively seek out whatever is at the center of the addiction.

Drug or alcohol abuse is causing an increasing number of deaths each year across the US. Additionally, it causes long-term physical, mental, and behavioral health problems. The sooner someone accepts that they have a problem and seeks help, the easier they will find the recovery process.

As mentioned, often the first step to recovery is accepting that you have a problem. We will discuss why it may be so difficult to accept support and how to make this easier. We will also discuss how you can help a loved one seek substance abuse treatment without forcing them into it.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a brain disease that causes someone to compulsively seek out and take the substance or action to which they are addicted. While there is a lot of stigma around it, it is not a moral failing or the fault of the person. Like any other disease, it should be treated with empathy and understanding. There are many individual factors that make someone more likely to develop an addiction, and they can come in more than one form.

Contributing Factors

  • Genetics
  • Normalizing of drug and alcohol use at home or with friends
  • Exposure to drugs and alcohol in your environment
  • Mental health problems
  • Childhood neglect or other forms of childhood abuse

Accepting That You Need Help

The recovery journey is different for everyone so the first step may vary. However, usually it is accepting you need help. There are many factors that could hold you back from this.


You may think that you can recover alone and feel that it would be weak to ask for help. Try to think of your addiction as any other disease. If you broke your ankle, had Alzheimer’s, or had cancer, it is unlikely you would feel that you should go through treatment or recovery alone. Remember that addiction is a disorder and not your fault.

Denying Your Substance Use

Many people will deny they have a problem due to the stigma surrounding substance use disorders. You may compare yourself to people who have a more severe problem. It is of great importance to try and avoid these comparisons, as all addictions look different.

You may also be trying to protect yourself or others from how severe your problem is. You may be hiding symptoms because you do not want your loved ones to worry. It may also be part of ‘self-medicating’ against an untreated mental health condition.

Fear of Rehab or Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are dependent on a substance you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit. These can be extremely unpleasant and even fatal in some cases. At a treatment center, you will get the support you need to ease your withdrawal symptoms.

You may also be reluctant to enter a treatment facility due to stigma or past experiences. However, it may be that the past program did not suit your needs and another would work for you.

Cost of Rehab

Rehab is an important part of recovery. Some are cheaper than others and most major insurance plans will cover these costs. Check your health insurance plan or speak with your insurance provider to see if you can receive financial assistance.

Recognizing How Your Addiction Affects Loved Ones and Speaking with Them

Many people with addiction problems divert the issue, blaming family or other external factors. While you should not blame yourself for your addiction, recognizing how it affects your family members and friends could motivate you to seek support. Some people will reach rock bottom before they get help, however, this is not necessary. If you begin taking responsibility for your actions you can get help earlier.

Having the support of family or friends can be very helpful for someone seeking treatment. Try to open up to people you trust who can give you quality help and advice.

If you feel that there is no one you can speak with you may consider talking to a therapist. Therapists can help you to work through your reasons for using and help you decide if there is a right time to speak with people you love.

If Someone You Love Has an Addiction Problem

If a loved one is struggling to control their drug use, they may also not treat themselves with empathy due to shame and stigma. Many people struggle with substance abuse alongside other mental health issues. Remember that these are not moral failings. There are reasons why they are suffering and the best way to help them is to be understanding.

This can be very difficult especially if their addiction has been affecting you for a long time. They may have hurt you or broken your trust so that your relationship has broken down. Try to remember that they are also suffering, that they are still the person you love but their addiction makes it difficult.

When you speak with your loved one try to practice active listening. This involves listening and speaking without judgment. You can ask open-ended questions rather than making statements so that they feel heard and so that trust can grow.

Addiction Treatment

If you have a substance use disorder you will likely need to seek help from a treatment center. You may enter an inpatient program or an intensive outpatient program. This will allow you to stay at home and continue your life as usual while going to a treatment center in the evenings and having access to a twenty-four-hour helpline if you are struggling.

Addiction treatment is not a one-step recovery process. Once you have stopped taking substances you will need aftercare. Most treatment programs will offer you this, including therapy to help you understand and work through the reasons you were using and how you can reduce relapse triggers.

Get Help Today

At Crossroads Centre Antigua, we understand that the recovery journey is difficult and different for everyone. We provide the support needed to achieve long-term recovery, focusing on your individual needs.

Our support includes:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Yoga and fitness training
  • Nutritional counseling

If you would like more information or are ready to start your recovery journey, please visit our website or call us on 1-888-452-0091 from the US, 1-800-783-9631 from the UK, or 1-268-562-0035 from all other countries.

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