By DeAnna Jordan
Addiction is a disease with a Catch-22: Society says that if you are an addict, you are a plague to your community, but if you ask for help you are weak and vulnerable.
In early May, hip-hop artist Macklemore joined President Obama for his weekly address to the nation to discuss the severity of opioid addiction. Macklemore expressed sentiments that we are fighting hard to portray in the community on a daily basis: “ … Shame and stigma associated with the disease keep too many people from seeking the help that they actually need. Addiction isn’t a personal choice or a personal failing, and sometimes it takes more than a strong will to get better … ”
Addiction is most certainly not a personal choice. I didn’t choose to pick up the bottle every day in my addiction; the bottle seemed to choose me every single day, despite my protests.
When the time came for me to seek treatment for my addiction more than 27 years ago, I was terrified to attend a treatment facility. Won’t my friends and family see me as weak? Am I really an addict? Maybe I can just cut back.
As a marriage and family therapist who specializes in substance abuse and a recovering addict, I have the unique opportunity to relate with my clients on a deeper level. I understand firsthand that seeking help for my addiction was and has been the most powerful act of self-love and courage that I have ever taken.
Here are the common misconceptions about addiction treatment debunked.
Myth: I don’t need treatment unless I am living on the streets.
I speak for New Method Wellness when I say that our clientèle is very diverse, ranging from 18 to 70 years old, from coast to coast in the United States and even as far as Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
Our clientèle come to us from all socio-economic walks of life. Many of our clients are highly functioning addicts and alcoholics with high-paying jobs.
You do not have to fit a particular stereotype for addiction treatment to work for you. Addiction does not discriminate, and it can affect anyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age or social class.
Myth: Going to treatment means I am weak and have no self-control.
Making the decision and taking the action to attend drug or alcohol rehabilitation takes strength and determination.
Nelson Mandela speaks the ultimate truth when he says: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Myth: Treatment won’t work for me. I’m too hopeless.
Hopeless is the best place to be when you go to treatment. A state of hopelessness originates from the emotional bottom we hit where we say to ourselves: “I cannot keep living the way I am living. I hate drinking and using, but I don’t know how to stop.” When you are at the bottom, there is nowhere to go but up!
The moment you have exhausted all of your willpower trying to stop drinking or using drugs on your own is the exact moment when you develop the open-mindedness necessary to receive the help you deserve.
Now that we have addressed what treatment is not, it is only fair if we discuss the perks of attending drug and alcohol treatment!
- A safe haven;
- An escape from your chaotic, triggering environment;
- A place to learn tools that will aid you in long-term recovery;
- A place in which to develop a sober fellowship built on understanding and trust;
- A community of professionals who get where you have been, where you are and where you are going;
- A place to begin a new life; and
- So much more.
My hope for those who feel they have reached the depths of their addiction is that you find the courage to take this leap into the loving arms of treatment.
I guarantee that if you maintain an open mind and willingness to take direction, you will be awestruck by the magic that floods your life as the alcohol and drug fog diminishes. You will realize your full potential as a blessing on this earth.
DeAnna Jordan, clinical director at New Method Wellness, has more than 20 years of experience helping individuals, ranging from celebrities to CEOs and everything in between, in their recovery and building of healthy relationships. As a result of her expertise, she has been featured on Dr. Phil, Jane Valdez-Mitchell and National Geographic’s Taboo and has been published in Elle magazine as well as the Huffington Post.