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You Need Help and Your Family Needs to Know

Alcoholism. Drunk man is sleeping on the table with the bottle in the hand, his wife is trying to wake him up. Black and white. Close up

When we struggle with addiction and substance abuse, we feel completely and entirely alone; like nobody understands what we’re going through and that they never will. It sounds trite and simplistic to say this, but this sense of isolation is very often the primary impediment to us getting the help we need. Between the changes in brain chemistry that our substance abuse creates and the profound loneliness we feel when we’re in the throes of withdrawal, it can be extremely difficult to ask for help. Most of us don’t want to acknowledge that our lives have spiraled out of control, despite obvious evidence to that effect. Those of us who still manage to function in everyday life while nursing a substance abuse issue simply don’t want to put our problems in the people we care about or jeopardize the life we’ve built for ourselves or our family. We must remember that there is a price to be paid for our silence.

Sooner or later our addictions will become the dominant pursuits in our lives if they’re left untreated. This means that everything else will fall down around our ears, including the jobs, relationships and financial security we fought so hard to protect by lying to our families. Those of us who have a readymade support system in place to help us overcome our addiction to drugs or alcohol should feel lucky and take full advantage of these resources. Our families can provide non-judgmental guidance into treatment, logistical support as we endeavor to get well and a lifeline to support when we need it most. They are the ones who rally around us during the more difficult times and they want to help us reclaim our lives. Very often, our families represent the singular barrier between ourselves and perpetual relapse and they teach us that we don’t have to struggle alone.

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