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Coping Responsibly with Addiction. Do You Get It?

Preventing and Coping with Problems

While preventing a problem before it happens is usually “better” than facing the problem, typically it also involves a different level of complexity. Let me explain. Preventing genital herpes or AIDS, for instance, is obviously “better” AND far easier to deal with than curing these diseases. In fact, given our current medical knowledge, both genital herpes and AIDS are without cure. As another example, consider unwanted pregnancy. Again, unwanted pregnancy is far easier to prevent and usually less difficult to cope with than an abortion or bringing an unwanted child into the world. As a final example, think about the people who have lost their driver’s license for six months due to the fact that they got caught driving with marijuana in their vehicle. Certainly, preventing this situation from ever happening is significantly easier and far less problematic than the reality of losing one’s driving privileges for six months.

The Significance of the Problem Also Matters

Preventing and solving one’s problems, however, also involves another consideration. To be specific, the more significant the problem, the wider the gap between prevention and dealing with the consequences of the problem. To better understand this point, let’s consider two people, Mary, who has cut herself while cleaning some gardening tools and Jeff, who has terminal, sexually-transmitted AIDS. On the one hand, it is reasonable to conclude that Mary could have prevented herself from getting cut had she worn the appropriate gloves while cleaning her tools. On the other hand, it is also plausible to assert that Jeff could have prevented himself from getting terminal AIDS had he worn the appropriate protection during sex. While both examples involve failure to wear proper protection, it goes without saying that facing a terminal illness is far more difficult to cope with than facing a cut that will heal itself in a few days.

Responsible and Irresponsible Problem Solving

Once a person has failed to prevent a problem from happening, however, it is important to ask what the person is planning to do about the situation. In most, if not all, circumstances, there are responsible and irresponsible ways of dealing with and solving one’s problems. Considering the examples outlined above, there are responsible AND irresponsible ways of dealing with genital herpes, AIDS, bringing an unwanted child into the world, considering an abortion, cutting oneself while cleaning some tools, and dealing with losing one’s driving privileges due to possession of marijuana while driving.

In a similar manner, people who have become addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn, or to the Internet, for instance, certainly would be in a more favorable position in life had they been able to prevent their addiction. Once they ARE addicted, however, it is important to ask what they are going to do about their addiction.

Seeking Treatment for Addiction

According to an article entitled “What Makes An Addict Seek Treatment?,” researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) discovered some important information regarding addiction and treatment. According to the UAB researchers, people are more likely to seek treatment for their addiction if they can identify or observe major consequences that are caused by or associated with their illness or disease. In the words of one researcher, “It's how much a person believes the drug or alcohol has affected their life and relationships that spurs them toward treatment.”


While I don’t want to be over simplistic about the significance of the findings by the UAB researchers, I am going to break this down to something that most people will either understand or fail to comprehend. Some people base their lives and their interactions on reality while others do all they can to avoid letting the facts get in the way. Some people face their problems responsibly while others do not. Some people listen to their bodies while others are out of sync with and tune out this information. In a word, some people have a sense of responsibility to others and to themselves while others act irresponsibly in almost every facet of their lives. In most instances, addicts who “get it” will seek treatment while those who “don’t get it,” won’t. Do you “get it”?

Copyright 2007 - Denny Soinski. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and give the author credit.

About the Author: Denny Soinski, Ph.D, writes about alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, alcohol testing, alcoholism, alcohol recovery, alcohol treatment, and alcohol rehab. For more information, please visit recovering alcoholics right away!

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