Accepting Help as a High-Functioning Addict

This article is by The Fix


When things are still holding together, it can be hard to admit you need treatment.

When you’re a high-functioning addict, it can be easy to deny your disease. After all, things aren’t falling apart. You still have your job, your family, your nice house — from the outside everything looks great. Maybe you’ve wondered if you’re drinking a bit too much, or you spouse has said something along those lines. That might be enough to get you into treatment, but to really better your life you need to accept your disease in order to change.

It sounds simple, but sometimes accepting your weaknesses is even harder than putting down drugs or alcohol. You’re a successful person and have been told for years that you’re doing well. You have control over your career and finances. So, recognizing that you no longer have control over your drinking or drug use can feel like a direct affront to who you are. That’s where treatment for high-powered individuals comes in.


Getting Honest, If Only With Yourself

Even if you can bluff or badger your way through business meetings, you need to bring your true, honest self to your recovery. If you are putting up facades or trying to project an image, you’ll only be cheating yourself. In order to really reap the benefits of recovery you must be willing to be vulnerable, something that is very uncomfortable for many high-powered individuals.

Start by asking yourself, “Who am I?” The challenge here is getting beyond the title on your office door. You probably have many external qualifiers that you can use to tell people who you are: I’m a CEO, a CFO, an athlete, an investor, a founder. But when those are stripped back, who are you really? What is important to you?

Answering this question can take time because we’re so used to being focused on external qualifiers. Take some time to think about this and mull it over. Then, jot down your thoughts in a notebook or journal.


Let Go Of Your Ego

Sometimes, the ego gets a bad rep. The ego is focused on the self. It drives you to go what’s best for you. Your ego tells you how good you are, and pushes you to be even better. There’s nothing wrong with that — it can help you achieve great things.

However, sometimes you need to push your ego aside. Even though addiction is a disease just like any other, there continues to be a lot of shame around it. Because of that, your ego may resist labeling yourself as an addict. Your ego might tell you that you don’t need treatment. It might say that you can figure this all out on your own.

This is a case where you have to rise above your ego. Again, it’s time for vulnerability. It will be uncomfortable to put your ego aside and humble accept that you need help — but it will lead to you having your best life in the long run.


Find the Right Care

As a boss, you know the importance of having the right people around you. Without a good team you wouldn’t be as successful as you are. The same is true when it comes to finding a treatment center.

High-powered individuals and executives need a certain approach to drug and alcohol treatment. It’s going to look very different from treatment for a young adult who is down on her luck. Executive treatment plans involve you — because you are a vested player in your recovery. They empower you to make choices and continue to live a comfortable lifestyle, while also challenging you to take a hard look at your behaviors and patterns.

Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone, but how exactly it plays out depends on your life. Finding a team that is experienced in working with high-functioning addicts can help you to approach treatment and recovery in a way that fits into your life; rather than expect you to give up everything you’re familiar with in order to get treatment.

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