Woman trying to find herself in a mirror

Overcoming the Stigma of Addiction

The holidays are over, but can you put down the bottle?  Have “just one” when out with friends or stop sneaking those sips during the day.   Can you last an entire day without consuming alcohol?

Alcoholism is a brain disease that is chronic, relapsing, and progressive.  No one aspires to become an alcoholic.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to undo the mental and physical damage caused by alcoholism without professional help. 

So, let us begin with a simple question.

When you look in the mirror, do you like who you see?

Julie’s story

During an interview with a resident on Stop the Stigma – Start a Conversation shown on local cable television in Littleton, Massachusetts, they shared a conversation with a recovering alcoholic we will refer to as “Julie.” Julie’s story may resonate with someone struggling to take the first step toward recovery.
Julie refers to herself as a “functioning alcoholic.” She never missed work, limited herself to just two drinks at public gatherings, and often was the designated driver. Verywellmind.com gives a better explanation. “Functional alcoholic” (or “high-functioning alcoholic”) isn’t a formal medical diagnosis. However, a term used colloquially to describe a person who is dependent upon alcohol but can still function in society.” The term “currently-functioning” may be used since it’s not likely they will remain functional (and not misuse alcohol) indefinitely.
Julie managed her life daily, but despite this, her family knew she had a problem. After the holidays, Julie’s family held an intervention, and she agreed to get help. Julie drove herself to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and sat in her car with no intention of going inside. Her plan was, instead, to commit suicide with her vehicle. Julie would have preferred to die rather than admit at that meeting that she was an alcoholic.
Thankfully, someone saw Julie sitting there in her car. That person tapped on the car door window and said, “come on, I’ll walk inside with you.” It was not until a year later, when Julie was sober, that she spoke of her plan to end her life that day. The woman who reached out to Julie was a stranger, and she unknowingly saved her life that day.

Overcoming the Stigma of Addiction

Julie grew up with alcoholic parents and tried everything she could to avoid becoming like them. She was aware of her predisposition to alcoholism and tried everything she could to prevent it. Over time she realized she had a problem, but the stigma of addiction stopped her from seeking help.
Medical conditions like diabetes and cancer provoke sympathetic responses. But drug or alcohol dependency is seen as a personal flaw—a weakness in character. Unless someone lives it, they will never understand that addiction is anything but weak. Julie struggled for years with self-loathing, personal disappointment, and regret. It takes a lot of strength and courage to seek help; and today Julie is happy, healthy and sober.
It was three years into her recovery before Julie could look in the mirror and like the person looking back at her. Julie did not make her journey to recovery alone. You are not alone, and Connecticut Addiction Medicine can help.
When you look in the mirror, do you like who you see?
Treatment plans tailored for everyone include various options, including detoxification, individual therapy, group therapy, mental health services, and toxicology testing to confirm compliance.
Connecticut Addiction Medicine has a proven treatment plan for anyone struggling with alcohol dependency. In-person and telehealth appointments are offered.

For assistance or more information, please visit www.ctaddictionmedicine.com.

Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

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