Very rarely does one acknowledge openly their addictions and any potential medical trouble that addiction has cause. A combination of shame and avoidances teaches us to underplay what substances have done to us; don’t let that get in the way of being transparent and avoiding unwanted health consequences before or even AFTER you quit.
This means having some real talk with your doctor, whether you have been considering treatment or not. We who have substance abuse issues have a difficult relationship with the truth, especially when it comes to having to deal with our central problem. We might try and fudge the numbers a bit when we fill out intake paperwork. We may deftly avoid deeper questions about how much we drink, if we use any illicit drugs, etc.
The funny thing about doctors is that they are trained not to merely rely on your self-reporting. Imagine the surprise of a patient reporting having only two to three drinks per week, only to have the doctor reply that it couldn’t be so, considering that the patient’s liver enzyme count is highly out of balance. You have probably been this patient, and although physicians are encouraged to ask questions to gain more information, they are not obligated to beg you to get help.
Still, you don’t have to wait for rock bottom to realize what substance use and abuse has done to your health. In fact, a thorough physical examination can be a jumping-off point for a commitment to sobriety. Even if it scares you (actually, ESPECIALLY if it scares you), a full physical done in complete transparency can show you where your body really is. Substances may have clouded your ability to even be truthful with yourself about this.
A study published in Trends in Cognitive Science proposed: “[O]ne could conceptualize drug addiction as a compromised ability to recognize external and internal drug-related cues. Such attenuated awareness of these cues may lead to the false belief that one is in control over drug taking behavior. An associated lack of recognition that one is afflicted by a disease or an underestimation of the severity of illness in drug addiction may drive these individuals to use drugs excessively, where control of use becomes exceedingly dysregulated1.”
Put another way, you might not be entirely at fault for knowing your body. Addiction has a very convincing way of making sure you don’t get healthy. But you’re not that guy. You’re better than that, and your physical health is something that can’t be recovered once certain thresholds have been breached. Take this time to truly care for yourself, and don’t be afraid of what the doctor tells you. Their diagnosis may save your life.
Take control and come alive in recovery. At Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon we use cutting-edge techniques and individualized programs to help men and their families achieve freedom from addiction and triggering behaviors. Taking a sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help; our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474