Learning to Accept a Loss of Control in Addiction

Learning to Accept a Loss of Control in Addiction

Acceptance moves us forward in life. Most of us revere our autonomy, our freedoms, and our independence. We want and need to define our actions and environment. To act otherwise would encompass giving up control. What happens if we become dependent on alcohol, stimulants, gambling, etc.? We are, in all actuality, giving power to addiction; thus, we are experiencing a loss of control. What happens next? We either stay on the same trajectory and delve deeper into our addiction or accept our control loss and seek help.

Science, Addiction, and the Loss of Control

Many humans think of addiction as a mental health problem; someone drinking so much they cannot think clearly and maybe even cannot stop drinking. Although those beliefs may have some relevance, there is much more to alcohol and drug abuse than a couple of symptoms. 

Neurological research indicates that the brain’s prefrontal cortex mediates our behavioral and self-control functions. The frontal lobes of the brain are susceptible to addictive substances and alcohol. Frontal lobe dysfunction due to excessive drug or alcohol use influences compulsive and erratic behaviors and self-control.

Other factors affect a person’s dependence on alcohol and drugs. In addition to biological and neurological risk factors, co-occurring mental health disorders may affect and even influence a person’s behaviors. Having a family member with substance use disorder (SUD) may also affect your vulnerability to addiction. 

Knowledge is power. Obtaining data on any conditions you or a loved one has and a family history of alcohol or substance abuse will equip you with vital information you need to seek professional advice and treatment.

How Do You Reach Acceptance of Your Addiction?

Robert Tew once said, “What you deny or ignore, you delay. What you accept and face, you conquer.” We are socially, ethically, and spiritually responsible for accepting many things in life. However, sometimes the most crucial acceptance evades us: the acceptance of our addictions. 

Diabetes is a serious diagnosis. However, many still reach for any form of sugar they can grasp. We know the importance of abstaining, yet we fail to accept our need to take action.

Accepting that you may have an addiction in which you are experiencing a loss of control is a monumental undertaking for some people. The most educated and enlightened humans can succumb to consumption without accepting that they cannot regulate or stop their dependency. Instead, they need to change their behavior. 

They may not realize it, but they are experiencing a loss of control. Maybe it is time to talk with someone. But who can you turn to when your world is not yours anymore, and now it belongs to your addiction?

Gaining Outside Opinion to Reach Acceptance

Talk to someone you trust, a loved one, or a friend. Be honest. You may receive subjective opinions. However, the dialog can lead to outside, more useful sources, possibly of a professional nature. 

Talk to a therapist or psychologist. Visit a treatment center and speak with their staff. You will receive objective information instead of subjective opinion. The insight you obtain may be just what you need to realize you do not have to go through life with a loss of control.

After receiving subjective and objective knowledge and advice, talk with yourself and consider what you have learned. It may be enough for you to accept that you are not in control of your addiction and need help. But what if it is not enough? 

You have tried to understand but cannot comprehend that your loss of control is only temporary if you take action to eliminate the object of your addiction from your life. Intervention, talk therapy, and mindfulness strategies may bring the cognitive understanding that allows acceptance.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a psychologically based intervention. It uses mindfulness techniques to address acceptance, including commitment and behavioral modification strategies. 

ACT is a type of psychotherapy in which mindfulness, or engaging entirely in the present moment, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) teachings help people think and take committed action. CBT and mindfulness allow for accepting a person’s experiences without judgment. They foster the value of recognizing and facing problems to promote behaviors conducive to the person’s well-being.

Taking the First Step to Recovery From Addiction

To be part of recovery, you first need to accept a loss of control over your alcohol or drug use. By doing this, you are admitting to being powerless over alcohol or a particular drug. Learning to accept a loss of control can lead you to heal and experience a new life you can control. 

It is akin to surrendering to your addiction or mental health disorder and is the first step of the Twelve Steps, making it a crucial beginning to recovery. Essentially, you are admitting that, although you tried hard to control your substance use before, you cannot do it alone, and your addiction is beyond your control. You are taking that all-important first step toward taking back your life.

At SoCal Mental Health, we believe that acceptance is the first step to recovery. However, acceptance can also be challenging. We understand that it takes vigilance and persistence to learn and manage symptoms related to mental health and substance abuse. Our programs help individuals manage treatment and recovery but also help to build a community that raises awareness and advocates for individuals in need. SoCal Mental Health can help you find acceptance of your loss of control caused by addiction or mental health disorders and move towards healing. For more information on our program and how we can help you or a loved one, call us today at (949) 502-2041.

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