Taking the initial steps toward treatment is difficult, but it’s even more difficult to go through treatment when everyone around you doesn’t think your addiction is serious. Those with addiction to normalized substances like alcohol and cannabis might struggle to convince others in their life that they have a problem when the drug itself isn’t viewed that way. Although it can be challenging when others are minimizing your addiction, it is possible to get the help you need despite their opinions.
Struggling With a Normalized Addiction
When you’re addicted to something normalized by society, it can be hard to convince others and yourself that you have an addiction that negatively impacts your life. People often think of harder drugs like cocaine, meth, and heroin when they imagine addiction, but this isn’t the entire picture.
If you have an addiction to cannabis, alcohol, or prescription drugs, the people in your life might not take you seriously. Misuse of cannabis and alcohol is often joked about or thought of as a part of life. College kids are expected to start habits of binge drinking at college parties.
We often hear jokes about “wine moms” or “stoners” who use substances in unhealthy amounts. Many ignore that these habits and behaviors aren’t okay and often symbolize an active addiction.
How to Know if You Have an Addiction
It might be easy to write your addiction off as insignificant, even if using these substances has been detrimental. Some might hesitate to call out addiction because they worry about the word’s stigma. Others might be in denial about how the drug can be harmful. No matter the political stances, stigmas, or cultural norms, science says these substances can cause addiction.
- Multiple failed attempts to quit substance use
- Taking more of the substance than originally intended
- Spending a large amount of time using the substance, procuring the substance, or recovering from substance use
- Continued use despite physiological or psychological effects
- Substance use conflicts with the workplace, school, or familial obligations
- Using substances in dangerous circumstances, such as driving or operating machinery
- Prioritizing substance use over hobbies and activities that used to matter
- Needing to take more of the substance to get the same effect
- Feeling cravings or symptoms of withdrawal when you stop taking the substance
Gaining Your Loved One’s Support
If you fit any of the symptoms listed above, you most likely have an addiction and need to get help. It can be hard to get your friends and family on board. Admitting addiction can be scary, but you don’t need to go it alone. The best ways to get that support include learning about addiction, educating your family, and being honest about your life.
Surround yourself with people who will support your treatment and recovery, and know that it’s okay to cut ties with those who can’t support you or continue enabling you to use substances.
Calling Out Enabling Behaviors
Unfortunately, you might have people in your life who support your substance use, knowingly or unknowingly. They might supply you with the drugs you take or invite you to the bar after work every night. They might have an addiction themselves.
If you’ve realized that you have an addiction and plan to get help, it’s important to communicate with these people about your plans and the problem you are currently facing. Most people with the right intentions will be supportive. However, if you find that they create an obstacle to getting help, it’s best to cut ties.
After treatment, you might find that some of your relationships with these people aren’t the same. If your friendship revolved around substance use, you might discover that drinking alcohol or smoking cannabis is where your commonalities end. While it can be sad to let these people go, doing so leaves room for people who actively support you.
Getting the Help You Need
If you have an addiction, you must get help immediately. It’s dangerous to ignore addiction when it’s in its early stages. If you’ve already formed a substance use habit, you might start using it more to cope with stress or difficult emotions. Then, as you grow a tolerance, you’ll need to take more.
For most substances, especially alcohol, you’ll want to enter a medically assisted detox program. This ensures that you safely and effectively quit substance use and that the substances leave your system. Detox allows you to start treatment with a blank slate. After detox is complete, it’s time to enter a treatment program where you can begin your journey back to a sober, healthy life.
It can be difficult to get people to believe you when you need to get help for your substance use, especially if your addiction is something that’s considered “normal.” When people don’t take it seriously, it can cause them to wonder if you do have a problem.
If your substance use affects your relationships or work performance, has put others in physical danger, or just feels out of your control, you will likely have an addiction. It might be difficult to find people that have your back, but know that you aren’t alone and that there are people who support you.
If you’re not getting the support you need from friends and family to begin treatment for an addiction, give Villa Oasis San Diego a call at (323) 739-8673 to discuss treatment options. Let us know how we can best support you.