"I'm spinning out of control, and it's time to get some help."

Alcohol and drug abuse can devastate both the abuser and everyone close to them. It can lead to broken relationships, divorce, family problems, job loss, and legal and health problems. Everyone suffers.

Many people with a substance abuse problem don't recognize their problem, or the effects it has on others. They believe that in order to have a problem, they'd have to be using every day or drinking first thing in the morning. They believe the stereotypes that alcoholics and addicts are homeless street people, and excuse their behavior as being different from "real" addicts. They believe popular myths.

The truth is that excessive use is not the defining criterion of a drug or alcohol problem. Rather, it is the loss of control when using -- how much, how often, and what happens -- that defines a substance abuse problem. If alcohol or drug use is negatively affecting any aspect of your life, you have a problem.

Alcohol and drug problems do not get better by themselves. The addictive nature of alcohol and drugs means that loss of control increases and problems multiply. But hope and recovery are possible. Learning to live without drugs or alcohol can be a difficult journey, but the only way to a better life is to reach out.

Whether it's you, or someone you love struggling with an alcohol or drug problem, you don't have to be alone. Learn to recognize the symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse, surround yourself with supportive people, and seek the help of a qualified professional.

Catholic Charities offers individualized treatment by a licensed and certified substance abuse counselor and marriage and family therapist for those with substance abuse problems and their family members.

Treatment is offered in our Appleton, Waupaca, and Wautoma locations. They can reached by calling 920-734-2601 or sending an email to charitiesgb@gbdioc.org.