Why is the First Step in Addiction Recovery the Most Difficult?stress

The first step in addiction recovery is the hardest step. It is admitting that you have a problem. Why is this step so hard for many addicts? A few possibilities are:

  • Feelings of Guilt/Shame

  • What Will My Friends and Family Think?

  • Possible Legal Ramifications

  • Not Feeling Strong Enough to Get Clean and Stay Clean

  • Self-Hatred

  • Denial

Denial is the underlying reason in the difficulty of admitting that one has a substance abuse problem. Many people don’t think they even have a problem. Or rather, many people say that they can stop anytime they want to, but they just don’t want to “right now”. That is the biggest form of denial and the most common.

The first step is not admitting the problem only, it is admitting that one is powerless over their addiction, and they can no longer handle their lives. We aren’t talking about the 12 steps of A.A. specifically. We are just using them as an example here to make it easier. Anyone who has an addiction has a difficult time admitting that he or she is powerless. They think they can stop at any time.

Another reason that the first step of addiction recovery is so difficult is because the addict knows their life is about to change drastically. They are aware that change is going to happen very soon. Even if change is considered to be good, change is also stressful. Change is good stress, but it is stress nonetheless.

One reason why people use drugs to begin with is because of stress. An addict doesn’t know how to deal well with stress at all. This could be another reason why admitting one has a problem is because of the fear of dealing with life. When you are in the middle of active addiction, you through responsibility completely out of the window. If you want to get clean and stay clean, you must learn how to deal with life, the good and the bad.

What Will Help An Addict to Have Courage to Admit They Have a Problem?

  • Let them know that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes

  • There is usually a deeper reason as to why people use substances

  • Getting past denial and being honest will help you, even if others are bothered by it

  • Reassure them that you will not leave their side no matter how rough it gets

If your honesty scares the people around you that love you, they will eventually get over it, andAddiction Recovery admire your ability to speak the truth. You will feel so much freedom when you let the truth roll off of your tongue. This first step in addiction recovery is difficult, but every step is just as equally difficult.
Every single one is directed towards making change and moving forward with God. It is surrendering everything to Him and giving Him control. Giving up control is almost as difficult as being honest about your addiction.

Giving Up All Control

The strange thing about control, is that you and I never had control anyways. We may remain underneath the illusion that we are in control of our lives, but we aren’t. Do you know about the 12 steps of A.A./N.A? The 12 steps of addiction recovery in A.A. point you to the One who does have all control. We have free will, but that free will only goes so far.

Sometimes we are allowed to carry out everything that we have planned, and sometimes we are stopped dead in our tracks. In the end, God is the one who is in ultimate control. One of the 12 steps point you toward God, have you surrender your will over to Him, and follow His will for your life instead. This is why the first step in admitting that you have a problem is so difficult, because in doing so, you are just beginning to give up all control.  

*The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Never substitute, disregard, or delay seeking professional medical advice and assistance for any health or mental issue(s) you have or are concerned about because of something you have read.

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