We’re often told that the hardest part of any journey is the first step. This is the moment that initiates real change. Reaching this early milestone can take willpower and serious commitment. As with any journey, the path to recovering from a substance abuse disorder begins with one first step. The first step of overcoming drug addiction is to admit that there is a problem.
Denial is a strong influence on both the person struggling with addiction, and the family or friends surrounding it. The first step of drug addiction treatment is to recognize that help is needed, and to ask for and receive assistance. But what might this first step look like, and how do we reach it?
The Impact Of Substance Abuse And Seeking Treatment
Today, 19.7 million Americans are thought to struggle with alcohol and drug dependency, and feel the impact of the disease every day. Substance use disorder can have negative effects on all areas of life, including:
- Family relationships
- Romantic relationships
- Work life
- Mental health
- Physical health
Substance abuse can cause a deterioration of relationships, and even an inability to form healthy connections. Many people battling with addiction have found it difficult to maintain a job, and can quickly discover the financial burdens of the disease. Those struggling with substance use can find their judgment affected, leading to an inability to perform even essential tasks.
Substance abuse can also have a severe impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of both the individual, and those around them.
There are no easy signs to look for when determining if a person is ready to enter addiction treatment. Substance Use Disease (or SUD) can present in many ways and each person’s struggle with it is unique.
When a person with an addiction is able to speak openly about their struggles and is engaging honestly with their disease, treatment may feel like a natural first step.
Of course, most of us have heard the idiom, the first step of drug addiction treatment is to admit to the problem. Denial is a major reason many individuals feel that going to rehab isn’t necessary. It is the point in which we keep denying things we know to be true. Addiction creates a form of smoke and mirrors that can make a person oblivious to the extent of damage addiction has caused. In many cases, the use of drugs or alcohol becomes a coping mechanism.
SUD is a lonely disease and reaching out for help can be difficult. The first step of drug addiction treatment is to seek treatment, but it may not be that simple. Families and loved ones should understand that this is time to start an honest dialogue, provide support, and
Types Of Addiction Recovery Available
The AspenRidge Recovery Center is there to offer help to individuals in all stages of their recovery journey, from the very first step of seeking help to maintaining sobriety in the future. The Colorado addiction center is available to lend support to people with addictions, as well as their families and loved ones.
AspenRidge uses evidence-based principles of drug addiction treatment. This comprehensive approach is multi-faceted, using both holistic and evidence-fueled treatment to create a recovery plan that works for the client’s individual needs.
The initial step is a pre-screening questionnaire that is used to better understand the disease in each person. From here, the approach is tailored to the client. Addiction is a many-sided disease, and we adopt a similar approach toward recovery.
Compassion is an essential part of treatment. Those with an addiction can often struggle with feelings of hopelessness. Supportive treatment helps clients to recognize the negative impact of substance use, and encourages them to open up about their behavior.
What To Expect From The First Steps Of Addiction Recovery
The first step of drug addiction treatment is to recognize that there is an issue. It can take some time before a person with an addiction feels the negative impact caused by SUD. During this period, friends and family will often be aware of the problem, while the client remains in denial. This stage is known as precontemplation.
The next stage is contemplation. This is when the person with the addiction is starting to recognize a problem, and will begin to consider changing their behavior. Support and honesty from loved ones can encourage this movement toward change. Recovery is a collaborative process, and working together can help the person with the addiction to act honestly, and make real steps toward the next stage: preparation.
Contemplation can be a lonely stage, especially if SUD is causing guilt and desperation in the person with the addiction. Moving past that stage and towards preparation, in which a commitment toward recovery is made, can take many years. Open communication and support can make the process easier, but as with any disease, recovery takes time. Learn more about the 5 stages of addiction recovery here.
Getting to this first step and acknowledging the need for treatment is a major milestone on the path towards recovery.
During the first steps of addiction recovery, a client is asked to look at the effects of SUD, and actively engage with recovery. This step is about understanding and acknowledging the disease, in order to gain the motivation needed for drug addiction treatment. Feelings of denial are still common at this first step towards recovery, but with support, the client can move towards abstinence and sobriety.
What Can Individuals Do To Help Make The Process Easier
Recovery isn’t easy. Substance Use Disorder is a disease, and as with any disease, it takes time and effort to work through. However, the process can be made easier with support and collaboration. Many struggling with an addiction can find that guilt and shame compels them to act alone, making the recovery process feel overwhelming. But with the honesty and support of loved ones, as well as an effective treatment plan, those with an addiction can take the first steps towards meaningful and impactful change.
Support and motivation can encourage a person dealing with addiction to commit to their plan for change. Asking for help is considered to be the first step of addiction treatment because it both acknowledges the issue, and provides the client a chance to access support they need.
It may be necessary for a loved one to start the discussion about looking for treatment. Substance Use Disorder can cloud judgment, making it difficult for a person to recognize that they need help. Approach these discussions with care and an open mind. Hostility can cause the person with the addiction to retreat into substance use.
The most important thing a loved one can do at this point is open up honest communication, and foster a supportive, but not enabling, environment.
Taking The First Step Of Drug Addiction Treatment
Reaching that first step and both acknowledging the need for treatment and asking for help is a massive accomplishment. Although the road to recovery is rarely simple, with compassionate support, these early steps can be made easier.
If you, or someone you care for, needs help with that first step toward drug addiction treatment, AspenRidge Recovery is here for you. For support and assistance at any stage of recovery, please reach out to us at 855-281-5588.