Does the Idea of Getting Addiction Help “Freak” You Out? Even Though Halloween is Almost Here, Don’t Be Scared!

Does the Idea of Getting Addiction Help “Freak” You Out? Even Though Halloween is Almost Here, Don’t Be Scared!

You are NOT alone.  There are many people who know that they need help for an alcohol or drug problem, but who are intimidated by the idea of getting “help”.  You may be questioning if you have an addiction at all, or instead are having a heavy drinking or using period. You do not have to diagnose yourself before reaching out for support.  In fact, a symptom of having a problem is not being able to fully identify it. It also does not matter what the label is. Having an alcohol or drug problem- or any problem- can be defined as something that is causing negative consequences internally and/or externally in your life.  If you are unable to stop using alcohol and drugs despite having consequences from use, then reaching out for help is appropriate. It is always better to address the issue earlier than later, for both you and your loved ones.   

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that the most common reason that individuals do not seek out care for addictive issues is due to privacy concerns and feelings of shame.  However, it takes more courage to seek support and to humble ourselves enough to reach out for a helping hand, then it does to continue engaging in unhealthy behavior. 

   Given that privacy concerns and shame are such significant barriers for individuals to seek addiction help, the In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) Institute model has been an incredibly innovative form of care. This treatment model is being provided in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Florida- and is spreading quickly to other states.  It can be ideal for individuals to receive treatment in their home, as it can allow ongoing work and academics, improve family system dynamics, connect individuals to community resources and help to address precipitants to use and relapse in the home and local environment. The IHAT Institute is certifying health care professionals in learning how to implement this treatment model, which can provide discreet and personalized care.  

If you are ambivalent about reaching out for help and support around your alcohol and/or drug usage, here are a few questions to honestly ask yourself:

  1. What is your fear(s) of getting support?  
  2. Is there anyone whom you could talk with about this fear?
  3. Could you take action to get support despite your fear?
  4. Is there a small part of you that is willing to change?
  5. Do you believe that investing in yourself now, could benefit you in the future?
  6. What domain(s) of your life does your drinking and/or drug usage impact? (job, academic, family, finances, relationships, spirituality)?
  7. If you knew where to begin, would you be more apt to reach out for support?
  8. How do you visualize your life in a week, month year if you continue to engage is substance usage?
  9. How do you visualize your life in a week, month year if you continue to stopped using substances?
  10. How do you define a healthy and balanced life and are you living that way right now?

If you are having a moment of clarity, take action, because it can end quickly.  Most people are comfortable behaving in ways that are familiar and change can be intimidating.  However, it can be exciting to think about living our best life and changing for the better.

By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC