If you are familiar with the concept of the twelve step program then you have probably heard that the first step is to admit you have a problem. This is the foundation that begins a person's recovery when they start going to twelve meetings or enter a rehab treatment center. It is not possible to rid yourself of an addiction when you are still in denial to some extent about how your actions have affecting your life and the people around you.
Admitting you have a problem opens the door to accepting recovery completely and doing everything possible to avoid relapse. If a person still believes that they are not truly an alcoholic, they have things under control or they could start drinking again one day then they will not be able to benefit from treatment.
Admitting You Have a Problem
Of the twelve steps laid out in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, the very first is to not only admit you have a problem but also admit that you are powerless over alcohol and your life has become unmanageable. It can be difficult for alcoholics who have been deep in denial for many years to face up to the fact that they have a problem.
People who are not ready to admit that they have an addiction are not fully ready for treatment and are likely to start drinking again. Only when a person can come to terms with their own alcoholism is it possible for them to be in the state of mind to work on recovery and becoming sober. People who enter AA or rehab treatment program must learn to identify themselves as alcoholics.
When a newcomer in a twelve step meeting introduces themselves they must state to the group "I am an alcoholic". This helps to them to truly identify as an alcoholic and never fall into the dangerous thinking that they could someday start drinking again. The identification as alcoholic is an essential beginning to the treatment process.
Understanding that Alcoholism is a Disease
One of the reasons that people must acknowledge that they have an addiction is because it will help them to understand how much the disease is a part of them. It is not just that they drink too much but addiction has become a part of who they are. In that sense an alcoholic can begin to recognize that they will never be fully cured of this problem. They will always have an addictive personality and there is no way that they can possibly moderate their behavior.
The only solution is complete and total abstinence in order for an alcoholic to manage their addictive behavior. When an alcoholic admits they have a problem they need to understand how much their problem has already negatively affected their life and things could potentially get much worse. Then they will understand that a drastic change is necessary meaning that they will not just moderate their drinking but permanently quit and pursue a sober lifestyle.
Even though there is much more work to be done after a person enters rehab treatment, they have already made a huge step by admitting that they are an alcoholic. Facing this reality is something that can take addicts years to accomplish.
Identifying yourself as an alcoholic can be one of the hardest things to do as you worry about the stigma and the implications it will have on the rest of your life. Admitting this fact though can be cathartic as well and give people a chance to focus on improving themselves in their lives once they enter treatment.