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By Isaac Schaver, M.D.

Getting divorced is difficult. Getting clean is difficult. Getting both clean and divorced is downright painful! Yet, some people make it. If done for the right reasons, recovery from this "double whammy" can lead to a new and fulfilling life. I know from personal experience.

Let's take first things first, which means getting clean first. There can be no rational decisions, sound thinking, or good judgment while one is high or under the influence. A reasonable period of sobriety is a must before important decisions can be made.

So what does getting clean mean? And what does it take? Every user must ask him or herself the question, "Am I addicted?" (FACT: The substance can be alcohol, drugs, or any mood altering chemical that is assimilated into the body). How does one answer that question? The experts suggest a lot of answers, ranging from a detailed analysis of personal habits and patterns of behavior to "If you think you might be one, you probably are." Personally, I think that when someone continues to use in the face of negative consequences, one is addicted. If a person honestly answers "yes" to "Does using cause me difficulties?" and "no" to "Can I really stop when I want to," in my view, that individual is addicted.

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