Addiction is a disease that can lead people to experience a powerful sense of denial for many years before they recognize their own problem. People who are alcoholics may think they have their drinking under control or that they can simply cut down or quit at any time.
Eventually when their behavior catches up with them they will hit their lowest point or "rock bottom". This is often the moment where addicts finally reach a state of acceptance about their addiction.
The process of going from denial to acceptance is different for every individual but it is a path that everyone must go through before they can truly be in a place to recover. Most people find that when they finally reach a point of acceptance it is a cathartic experience that allows them to take the first step in improving their lives.
Admitting to Substance Abuse
When an alcoholic or drug addict enters a twelve step program, their first step is admitting that they have a problem. To identify as an addict or alcoholic can be difficult because people never want to think of themselves as having lost control.
They want to believe they have their lives together and that their substance abuse doesn't affect them. Getting to the point where they can truly and honestly say that they are an addict does not come easily.
Social stigma and stereotypes can often hinder people from recognizing their own addiction. They may imagine addicts or alcoholics as bums, junkies or people who are weak.
The reality is that addiction can happen to anyone, from any background and any social standing. Accepting addiction can also be difficult because it can feel like admitting you have failed.
No one wants to be an addict but coming to terms with the reality of dependency can be a chance to be humble and vulnerable in a way that is healing.
Identifying as an Addict
Once a person finally accepts their addiction or alcoholism they are in a place to move on and start their life over. They are no longer clinging to the idea that they can moderate their substance abuse or that can handle the situation alone.
Accepting addiction means admitting you are powerless over alcohol and that you need support from others to become sober. This realization helps prepare a person emotionally to handle rehab and recovery.
They will be more likely to put in the necessary work in therapy if they have rid themselves of every feeling of denial. In twelve step programs, each member identifies themselves as an addict so that they are never under the impression that they have been cured of the disease.
Addiction is a problem that must be managed but can never truly be cured. Everyone in recovery must learn to cope with their addictive personality in healthy ways and never forget that relapse is a reality.
It can be freeing for people to be among others who also identify as addicts because they share many of the same experiences and can feel less ashamed of their past mistakes.
As addicts learn to understand their disease and become more self-aware their acceptance can grow. There is a difference between saying you are an addict out loud and truly accepting that fact in a deeper way.
As time goes by, people in recovery become more accepting of their addiction and more in tune with how it affects them and the people in their lives. Once they accept their problem they can be free to move on and create a new life that does not involve addiction or substance abuse in any way.