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Substance Abuse Recovery: How Personal and Social Barriers Impact Professionals

We are all vulnerable to developing a problem with using substances. Substance abuse does not discriminate nor does it show respect to anyone. It can and will destroy the lives of both men and women. Substance abuse recovery is possible with the right strategy and support.

When dealing with substance abuse and addiction, it is said that there are no special people. Rich or poor, educated or not, employed or unemployed.

Each person that battles with addiction must devise a plan for a solid substance abuse recovery. Individuals must figure out a program that they can and will realistically commit to. However, substance abuse recovery can pose additional struggles for professionals in particular. There are several personal and social barriers that may hinder recovery.

What are some of them?

The Fear of Losing Their Job

If you’ve spent any time in rehab, then you know that one requirement is an extended absence from your family and from your job. Professionals dealing with substance abuse recovery often have a sophisticated defense system. Their use of intellectualization and denial will serve as a barrier to their commitment to substance abuse recovery.  The lack of willingness to commit to ongoing recovery will interfere and jeopardize their recovery.

Anonymity can serve as another barrier to recovery as professionals are concerned about their professional reputation. They may fear that admitting their problem would be perceived as a weakness in the workplace. In reality, a solid recovery plan can help a person develop strength and tools that will help them to be more effective and proficient.

Professionals may not want to attend community support meetings as they try to protect their professional image. It is important, therefore, for them to find alternative groups or resources that will support ongoing substance abuse recovery.

Substance Abuse Can Be Mistaken for a Social Habit

Another common barrier blocking substance abuse recovery is simply that the addiction can hide under a self-misdiagnosis.

Basically, substance abuse is often mistaken for a social habit. For instance, a social habit is going out after work for drinks with co-workers. Though, it can quickly escalate into something more negative. It’s often difficult to view this behavior as disruptive because of the social status it conveys.

This is just one example of instances that can put on an innocuous facade. It’s true that most similar situations seem harmless at first. But not only can this type of behavior serve as the gateway it can also severely disrupt your substance abuse recovery.

The Belief that Depression or Anxiety is the True Culprit

Professionals often struggle with underlying issues such as depression or anxiety. Many times, these feelings overflow from a job while other times it’s due to something else altogether. It only makes sense to find a way to relieve feelings of depression, anxiety or other negative emotions. So, much of the time, people reach for a substance to drown out their feelings. Though, this isn’t always the case.

Although depression and anxiety can be a significant factor in substance abuse, it can also play the part of a pretense. In fact, it’s common for professionals to hide substance abuse under the umbrella of depression and anxiety. The mask represents the idea that addiction isn’t actually the problem but rather the outcome of depression and anxiety. This masquerade greatly hinders substance abuse recovery because it’s dishonest. Without accepting the true culprit, the addiction often keeps on winning.

Addiction Is Viewed as a Weakness or Flaw

It goes without saying that those undergoing substance abuse recovery face many challenges. Most of these challenges are internal and involve a negative self-perception. Perhaps one of the most intense recovery roadblocks is the notion that addiction is perceived as a weakness or personal flaw. This mindset often motivates the one struggling to go to great lengths to hide their substance abuse.

Professionals frequently allow this stigma to hit them more intensely. This is due to the pressure from the workplace to show up, produce and display a strong backbone. Much like other recovery barriers, this idea sweeps the addiction under the rug. Along with the addiction, recovery is swept under the rug, too. Unable to face the perceived weakness, professionals may lean even more heavily on substance abuse to cope with these negative feelings.

If you’re ready to confront your substance abuse and take steps for recovery, please contact me. I would love to support you in your journey to overcome personal and social barriers that keep you stuck and help you achieve mental and physical health.

Couples and individual therapy in Boca Raton

Rebecca Klasfeld is a licensed clinical social worker in Boca Raton, Florida. If you are experiencing anxiety and would like to take bring your mind and your life back into a healthy balance, you are invited to call or fill out the contact form and click send. Together, we can strategize a plan to help you manage your anxiety and reclaim your life.