Chemical dependency is a treatable, potentially fatal and progressive illness that impacts millions of Americans. Some people have believed the fallacy that controlling drinking (or drugging) is all a matter of will power for the addict. It is no more under the control of the alcoholic than the illness of diabetes is under the control of the diabetic. Often by the time that the disease of addiction is diagnosed, the person no longer has a choice as to whether they will use alcohol or drugs. The point is long past. The person now has the disease of addiction. They can become responsible for how they live with the illness. Addiction does not usually get better by itself. If not treated, it will progress into predictable stages.
The alcoholic often has developed blinders that serve to reinforce their own denial concerning their level of addiction. As a rule, most alcoholics who are actively drinking do not believe that they have a problem, no matter how clearly the evidence around them contradicts this. Relationship conflicts, work problems and financial difficulties may overwhelmingly indicate that the addiction is out of control but the person with the addiction is able to deny any awareness of a problem due to the power of the disorder. Often the individual hits rock bottom before confronting the addiction, having lost a job, family and other cherished relationships in life. The first critical step to recovery is the recognition that a problem exists. Once that occurs, there are treatments that can help. Most treatment programs are based on a Twelve Step Program. The Twelve Steps provide a guide for clean and sober living.
- Alcoholism is a disease, not a weakness.
- There are serious health consequences associated with chemical addictions.
- There are successful ways to treat the addictions.
- Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic.
- Not all problem drinkers are alcoholics.
- An alcoholic who drinks cannot control their drinking.
- The earlier the treatment, the better.
- Families are impacted by the illness of chemical dependency.
- Recovery is a lifetime process.
Keywords: Alcohol, Drugs, Addict, AA, Rehab, Recovery, 12 Step, Chemical Dependency, Substance Abuse, Impaired