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Admitting the Addiction

The signs and symptoms listed on the previous page are primarily for people who are concerned about a friend or loved one. They don’t do much for the addict him/herself because most people who suffer from an addiction refuse to admit it. Between the shame, guilt and fear they face, addicts typically find they cannot deal with the consequences of admitting they have a substance abuse problem. It is easier just to ignore and deny.

What the average addict does not know is that his/her habit is killing him/her from the inside out. It is robbing him/her of the ability to think clearly; it is causing permanent tissue damage; it is increasing his/her risk of liver disease, heart disease, cancer and so many other conditions. Left untreated, addiction is likely to take the person’s life far too early.

Another thing to consider is that substance abuse affects thought patterns. In most cases, the addict believes he or she cannot live without the substance they are addicted to. The addict is convinced that taking the substance is a solution to problems rather than the cause of them, so life without it seems virtually impossible. This sort of thinking is completely irrational to the non-addict but entirely reasonable to the addict.

All of these reasons combined dictate that admitting the addiction is the hardest step in recovery. If we can get the addict to acknowledge a problem, then it is much easier to convince that person to get professional treatment. As long as the addict refuses to admit he or she is a substance abuser, the likelihood of ever attending treatment is very slim.

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