“Hi, my name is _________________, and I’m an alcoholic/addict.” You may have heard this phrase in a movie or on TV. Or maybe you have been the one to say it at your first group meeting. While it can seem scary and possibly triggering, this phrase is the first step to taking your life back. Why? Because when you admit you have a problem, you begin to own it.
Why is Owning It Necessary?
What does it mean to own your addiction? Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, gaming, or self-harm, addiction is a disease that owns us until we get it under control. The disease makes decisions for you, it pulls you into the depths of darkness and wreaks havoc on your mind. Think of addiction as a wild horse. It has no rules, no restraints, and will do whatever it pleases. But once we utter this phrase, once we call a spade a spade, we begin to take control. When we decide we have a problem, we unintentionally put reins on the wild horse and begin to take command. It may not feel like much, but once we can admit something else is in control, we create the power to take it back.
This is where owning it begins—by realizing you are not in control. For some, this may be an easy task depending on your rock bottom. Overdosing. having a close call or getting into trouble with the law can act as a wake-up call. But for others, those who are quite functional through addiction, the thought of relinquishing control can seem unnecessary.
A functional addict/alcoholic is someone that is exactly what the phrase dictates–functional. Typically, they can hold a job/maintain passing grades in school, they have a place to live, and they have a steady mode of transportation. They also have a seemingly functional lifestyle of using/drinking or a friend group that is following the same path. Essentially, the addiction is masked through normalization.
And how easy is it to rationalize those behaviors if you can maintain everything listed above and everyone else around you are doing the same. But if you are drinking or using almost every day to every day, if drinking or using is a necessary and scheduled part of your life, or if you refuse to drop that behavior, it could be time to reevaluate your relationship with substance.
The Path to Self-Acknowledgment and Acceptance
To understand the wild horse–our inner addict–we must understand ourselves. We must go deep inside to acknowledge and honor our one fundamental truth—we exist. Here are some basic steps to self-actualization.
- Owning our existence: We are here. We exist. For some, this can seem overwhelming, but if we can stop for just one moment, take a deep breath in and realize we are our own miracle, existence as such can feel light and beautiful.
- Owning our situation: We do not choose our families nor the towns and cities we were born into. We do not select our cultures or our financial status, but we can make the choice to accept these truths and acknowledge that we have the ability to change many aspects of our lives.
- Owning our place within these truths: Try this mantra-I accept the foundations I was given, and I am ready to build my own. Once we can acknowledge being here and the circumstances surrounding our existence, we can begin to move forward down our own path.
You may be wondering what these existential statements have to do with addiction, but they are rooted in the disease. They are the fundamental pillars of the self, and if our foundation is weak, there is no way to build a stable structure.
So, how do we own it? How do we get the courage to stand up and speak our truths? First, acknowledge who and what you are: the things you can change and the things you can’t. Next, look at your behaviors. It may be time to stand up and say, my name is _________________, and I have a problem. You must acknowledge the wild horse before you can do anything about it. If not, then you are simply standing next to a horse that is wreaking havoc pretending it isn’t there. Lastly, we decide to take control of our life—our actions, thoughts, behaviors—and decide once and for all to try and create a better world for ourselves and the others around us.
What if my horse isn’t that wild? Many times, functional drinkers and users are overlooked when it comes to treatment because they believe if they can function, there isn’t a problem. If you or an adolescent you know is living this truth, call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today. Let us help you stand up, name your problem and get you back on the journey to a sober future today. It doesn’t matter if you are drinking/using every day or once a week. If you suspect you have a problem, call now: (662) 478-9463