Many individuals struggling with substance use disorders (SUD) find overcoming certain levels of shame and guilt following a recovery journey difficult. Self-esteem, confidence, and pride can all take hefty hits when someone asks for help, but that shouldn’t be the case. Instead, individuals should see recovery as a new opportunity to grow and become their best person. Whether you’ve regretfully severed ties with loved ones, isolated yourself from support streams, or have made regrettable decisions while using, second chances through rehabilitation are not only possible; it is why people seek recovery in the first place.
GateHouse Treatment’s addiction recovery programs are perfect for creating these second chances. Focusing on a tailored and comprehensive approach can highlight areas that need improvement, pinpoint the causes of addiction, and prioritize methods for sustained recovery. We’ve seen countless success stories walk out of our doors. If you feel like you (or someone close to you) has a reputation ready for a face-lift, check out these three reasons to seek recovery and why second chances through rehabilitation are worth the commitment.
The Personal Impacts of Addiction
Most people who have suffered from a substance use disorder would agree: no one is their true self amid addiction. Substance use changes a person physically and mentally, unveiling a frame of mind that is more volatile and less apt to follow advice. People struggling with addiction often feel like they know it all, have all the answers, or convince themselves that those who only want the best for them are somehow conspiring against them. Addicts may lash out at those who offer support or convince themselves that outsiders are the ones responsible for anything negative happening in their lives.
If you’ve seen this behavior in a loved one or yourself, it’s important to remember that few things in life are irreparable. There are scientific reasons and causes for these behavioral discrepancies, some of which break down to the molecular levels in brain chemistry. Below are some specific ways addiction negatively impacts decision-making and someone’s emotional state.
1. Increased Anger and Aggression – Studies show a correlation between addiction and anger. As addiction progresses, it becomes much more difficult for individuals to defend their actions or take advice from someone trying to help. Stress, anxiety, and a lack of behavioral management techniques can all contribute to aggressive behaviors and violence. People with SUDs may feel anger toward themselves, which extends to those around them, and can ultimately interfere with someone seeking rehabilitation.
Some specific reasons why aggression levels rise from substance use include, but are not limited to:
- Impulsivity – Chronic alcohol use impairs the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) function, contributing to alcohol-induced cognitive dysfunction and impacting impulse control.
- Impaired Cognitive Function – When under the effects of substances, people have more difficulty solving problems, controlling their emotions, and making safe decisions. They also may be less likely to analyze a situation correctly and may overreact.
- Less Regard for Consequences – If someone is less likely to take the consequences of their actions into account when using substances, they may partake in even more risky behaviors and lash out if someone challenges their actions.
2. Increased Secrecy and Avoidance – Some feel shame when battling a substance use disorder, which often leads them to avoid others discovering their actions. In turn, addicts become more secretive in their efforts, avoid confrontation, and actively seek ways to prevent others from meddling in their affairs. They may lose trust in others they view as a threat and become increasingly paranoid that people with good intentions are there to damage their positions as employees, friends, parents, spouses, etc.
These factors can contribute to severing ties with close connections, hiding away for lengthy periods, and growing more wary of others who may only want the best for them. When a conversation does occur regarding their substance use, they may downplay the severity of their actions or attempt to justify their addiction. These concerns can lead to increased mistrust, suspicion, and relationship strain. The loss of trust takes effort to get back, but it’s not impossible.
3. Mood Swings – Substance use significantly alters our brain chemistry, including dopamine levels that dictate how we feel. Some substances can change the area of our brain responsible for emotional regulation, thus impacting our neurotransmitters and causing issues controlling how we react to certain situations. Individuals may act unpredictably if a friend or family member relays their concerns or lash out even if they seemed calm a moment before. However, a command over emotions can return once they remove substances from the equation.
4. Decreased Memory Processing – Substance use disorder impacts cognition and memory processing, making it more difficult to remember information. Drugs such as methamphetamine, MDMA, ketamine, benzodiazepines, and others can severely impact one’s ability to process memories and transfer short-term memories into long-term storage. People may forget responsibilities, neglect their daily schedules, and lose track of self-care routines. These factors make it challenging to get through the day without hiccups, especially if the individual holds a job or has various commitments. With concerted effort and a change of habits, memory can improve.
The Power of Second Chances Through Rehabilitation
When these negative impacts of addiction take their toll, people can feel lost or hopeless. They may believe the situation they’ve put themselves in is one they’ll never escape from and may actively avoid seeking treatment for these reasons.
“How can I show my face around my family ever again?” “How is anyone going to trust me?” “What’s the point of getting better if everyone hates me?” These thoughts cycle through the minds of people in recovery regularly. What’s important to remember is that close friends, family members, and other companions wish to see their loved ones get better. They may feel disconnected or avoid interacting with them, but it doesn’t mean they view their loved one’s true self as irredeemable. The best support streams look past the hardships and provide ways to get relationships back on track.
Let’s explore some of the most potent reasons rehabilitation offers a second chance at a fulfilling life.
1. Rehab Doesn’t Bash the Past; It Guides the Future – Rehab programs may analyze past decisions to find the root causes of addiction, but nowhere on that path does it attempt to knock down who that person is inherently. These programs exist to guide recovering addicts toward a healthier future. While counselors, therapists, and other individuals recovering alongside may hold them accountable during recovery, anyone making an honest attempt at recovery will never be discouraged, scoffed at, or chastised for what they may have done during a bout with addiction.
With this notion, those in recovery can build confidence and find self-worth. Knowing that others support positive actions and don’t view someone differently for what they may have done is often a catalyst for changing a mindset and finding ways to be their best self.
2. Rehab Allows Wrongs to be Righted – If a person embarrasses themselves or challenges the integrity of a relationship, they can still very much right these wrongs. If a person can’t change who they are and can only receive judgment regarding what they’ve done negatively, then what point would rehabilitation have?
Look at a celebrity like Robert Downey Jr. – an actor who once “laughed off” advice from a director to stop using drugs, spent time in jail, contemplated suicide, and breached probation three times. When the world shunned him and booted him out of the spotlight, he prevailed with the help of rehab, 12-step programs, and other techniques. He went from a drug addict near death to one of the highest-paid actors in the world. The media no longer views him as a failure but as a remarkable success story that can inspire others to do the same.
3. Rehab Shows a Commitment to Making Amends – Unfortunately, some relationships severed by a drug addiction may be irreconcilable. Many personal factors come into play when attempting to rekindle a relationship with a loved one, relative, close friend, or spouse. As much as someone in recovery wants to revitalize this relationship, these people may not be ready to reconcile, now or ever.
In these cases, rehabilitation shows a commitment to fixing mistakes. Seeking help indicates the knowledge of wrongdoing, an awareness of past mistakes, and the wish to move past them. If someone doesn’t want to continue a relationship, it does little good to beg them for forgiveness. Instead, the person in recovery needs to continue their journey, commit to a healthy lifestyle, and instead of asking the people hesitant to reestablish contact, show them they’re worthy of forgiveness – which may not happen quickly. Still, any effort goes a long way in highlighting how the dynamic has changed.
Receive Your Second Chance with GateHouse Treatment
GateHouse Treatment provides individualized and comprehensive addiction treatment programs for sustained recovery. We offer various programs such as intensive outpatient (IOP), partial-hospitalization (PHP), outpatient (OP), and other therapeutic techniques to give you the second chance you need to be your best self.
If you struggle with a tarnished image due to substance use, never feel like you’re without options. Call us at (855) 448-3588 or visit our website for a free consultation.
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