There is someone who struggles with the disease of addiction in nearly everybody's life. For a long time it was believed that undesirable actions like compulsive gambling, unsafe sex, and substance abuse was merely result of a moral deficiency. Now medical doctors know that addiction is actually an illness, and that is good news for addicts. Rather than giving addicts an excuse for their behavior, the disease model of addiction offers hope. Because of the recognition that addiction is a disease, addicts are able to find ways to recover through addiction rehab and become productive.

There are all sorts of ways that the disease of addiction can manifest. It doesn't matter what behavior a person specifically struggles with, at the core the disease is the same Maybe it seems harder for the addict participating in prostitution or crime to support a habit of heroin, than for people whose disease of addiction is quieter or easier to hide, and this is part of what can make addiction difficult for concerned friends and family to understand. The nature of addiction keeps the addicts who most need help from asking for it and seeking addiction rehabilitation. Instead, those with the disease of addiction exist in a world of desperation and isolation, hiding their challenges from everyone. Friends and family become exasperated attempting to reach out to those of suffer from addiction in their lives, but as much as they love and care for their family members or friends struggling with addiction, they lack the understanding of addiction that would enable them to make more of a difference. The disease of addiction is a treatable disease and many addicts recover, but helping the still sick and suffering addicts is not always easy.

This is a time when the people in an addict's life need to understand that they too are powerless over their loved one's disease. When an addict has run out of ways and means to get more and is ready to get help, then the friends and family who have been standing by can step in and start helping them recover. Addiction is an insidious disease and the last person to realize how bad things are is usually the addict themselves. Addicts are masters of justification, rationalization and selective memory. Many endure through tens of years of addiction while believing that it's "not that bad". Any help offered before the addict arrives at a point of desperation and reaches out for help on their own is usually futile. Recovery can begin, however, once this point of willingness is arrived at. The most helpful thing that concerned loved ones can do now is help the person they love enter an addiction rehab. (see addiction behavior)

In addition to helping addicts endure detox, staying in an addiction rehab provides addicts with many other building blocks for their recovery. Becoming a member of a recovery group within the rehab gives the person a sense of belonging and shared experience that they probably haven't felt long since their addiction began. The rehab workers provide hope and guidance, especially in counseling sessions where the addict in recovery get an opportunity to vent and explore issues that they may have kept hidden due to fear or feelings of shame. Maybe most importantly, staying in a rehab can get the addict ready to re-enter society, by exposing them to supportive groups such as 12 step fellowships.

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