You’ve taken a look at your drug use, your reasons for it, and how it has impacted your life, and you’ve come to the conclusion that you are addicted. Making this conclusion is a brave, bold first step toward taking action. It is the start of recovery and of regaining your life, and because of this it is also a potentially scary and overwhelming time. Don’t let uncertainty get the best of you. Learn about the steps and actions you can take to create change and find a fulfilling, healthy, drug-free life.
Acknowledging you are addicted often begins with acknowledging that addiction is a possibility in your life, in any life. There are so many assumptions and generalizations made about addicts that denial often takes the form of, “But that isn’t me!” You may have never taken a drug to party; you may still have a good job and be a loving parent. You may still pay the bills on time and look clean and put together. You may do all, some or none of these things, because there is no uniform face of addiction. This is why the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) considers the following a basic principle of effective addiction treatment: “No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success.” NIDA recognizes that no two individuals are the same and that treatment options need to provide individualized plans. Anyone can become addicted, and you can take action to get just the treatment you want and your unique situation calls for. What you can do about addiction is talk with your primary care provider, mental healthcare provider or admissions coordinator about your current situation and assess your recovery needs. All conversations about addiction, whether with a healthcare provider or over the phone through our helpline, are confidential, and knowledgeable professionals will treat you with respect and understanding while providing guidance as to whether or not you are addicted and what steps you can take next.
Addiction may seem difficult to take action against because you feel that, even with all the changes drug use has caused to your thoughts, actions and life, you need the drug. This may be because of underlying stress, depression or other mental health symptoms that are temporarily masked by use. It may also be because you started taking a painkiller like morphine, OxyContin or fentanyl under a doctor’s supervision in response to real injury or pain. You can point to medical reasons for your continued use, and if you stop taking the drug, you may experience rebound pain or withdrawal symptoms that mimic the pain or mental health symptoms for which you first used the drug. This can make it seem as though the medication is still needed and add to the confusion of what you should do about addiction. This is not an unusual mindset or situation. The American Society of Addiction Medicine shares, “1.9 million Americans live with prescription opioid abuse or dependence.” These are powerful medications, and dependence and addiction are not unusual. If pain lies behind your use of morphine or other painkillers, taking action against addiction may begin with finding a treatment program that includes pain management services. Such a program should work with your current healthcare provider and offer advice and treatment from pain specialists in addition to addiction specialists. They can work with you to find non-addictive alternatives for treating pain and managing the stress and emotions that stem from it. Again the first step is talking with addiction specialists and explaining just what recovery challenges you face and asking what you can start to do about addiction.
While every addicted individual is unique, addictions do share common traits, and can be treated with similar, though individualized, recovery plans. No matter who you are, where you are in life or how overwhelmed you feel by addiction and the concept of getting help, you are not alone. You will find peers and professionals who have been where you are or understand where, and who, you want to be. Addiction is better understood each day, and it is now known that it is a disease, and like all diseases, requires treatment. TeensHealth shares the facts that are true no matter your age: “Quitting drugs or drinking is probably going to be one of the hardest things you or your friend have ever done. It’s not a sign of weakness if you need professional help from a trained drug counselor or therapist. Most people who try to kick a drug or alcohol problem need professional assistance or a treatment program to do so.” Recovery does not occur spontaneously. No matter the recovery path you ultimately choose with the guidance of professionals, doing something about addiction begins with speaking up. It may begin with telling friends or family members and asking them to help you research options or talk with admissions coordinators on your behalf, or you may be more comfortable calling a toll-free helpline like ours and getting immediate, confidential and free support. We are here 24 hours a day to help you get started on your recovery journey.
 http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment. “Principles of Drug Addiction: A Reserch-Based Guide.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dec 2012. Web. 21 Nov 2015.
 http://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf. “Opioid Addiction Disease.” American Society of Addiction Medicine. 2015. Web. 21 Nov 2015.
 http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/addictions.html. “Dealing with Addiction.” TeensHealth. Jan 2014. Web. 21 Nov 2015.