“Achieving true sobriety goes beyond abstinence. It’s also about healing your soul, apologizing for damage you did to others, and seeking forgiveness.” ~Lou Gramm, Jukebox Hero: My Five Decades in Rock ‘n Roll Addiction is a confounding disease – it is an incurable disease that you cannot hope to manage until you choose to participate in a treatment program. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably already made half-hearted, ultimately unsuccessful attempts in the past. And here you are again, making the same promises to yourself and to others that this time will be different. But how can you REALLY know if you are finally ready to put aside the drugs and the alcohol and the dysfunctional behaviors and get clean and sober ONCE AND FOR ALL? Here are some signs that you are truly ready:
Sign #1 – You Are Estranged from Your Family and Friends Because of Your Addiction
Over time, your addiction took you farther and farther away from your family. Eventually, they had to separate from you in order to save their own sanity and restore some degree of manageability to their lives. Sometimes, the only way to reconnect with your family is to sober up.
Sign #2 – You’re Starting to Have Health Problems Because of Your Addiction
Chronic alcohol or drug abuse can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health, resulting in deterioration, disease, disability, and death. For example, chronic alcohol abuse results in a lifespan that is shortened by seven-and-a-half years. Here are just a few examples of the possible consequences to your health:
- Unhealthy Weight Loss/Malnutrition
- Sexually-Transmitted Diseases
- Cirrhosis of the Liver
- Brain Damage
- Heart Disease
- Death by Overdose – the #1 cause of accidental death in the United States.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Suicidal Ideation
Here’s the good news – when you abstain from drugs and alcohol and start to live a healthier lifestyle, it is possible to recover from much of the damage addiction has done to your body.
Sign #3 – The Legal Consequences of Your Addiction Are Catching up to You
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, four out of every five people who are incarcerated are they are because of substance abuse. Your drinking and drug use may have resulted in charges for:
- Driving under the Influence
- Public Intoxication
- Domestic Violence
- Bad Checks
- Jail or Prison Time
- Drug Court
If you want to escape the continual cycle of crime and incarceration fueled by substance abuse, professional help is your best hope.
Sign #4 –Your Addiction Has Caused You to Harm Yourself or Others
No matter how kind and loving a person you are when you are sober, substance abuse can bring out a much-scarier side of you. Drugs and/or alcohol are involved in:
- 80% of domestic violence incidences.
- Half of all sexual assaults.
- 81% of interventions by Child Protective Services.
In addition, 45% of people with untreated substance abuse disorders commit suicide. The best way to protect yourself and others from the tragic violence associated with addiction is to get sober.
Sign #5 –Your Daily Life is Out of Control Because of Your Addiction
You were probably able to “maintain” your normal life for quite a while, even while drinking and using. But addiction is a progressive disease that only gets worse over time. If any of this is happening to you because of your addiction, you’re probably ready to make a change:
- You’re having problems at work – suspensions, termination, unemployment, etc.
- Broken relationships – separation, divorce, etc.
- Your home is disgusting – filthy, cluttered, garbage-strewn, etc.
- Alternately, you are homeless.
- You violate your personal morals in order to get your next drink or fix – theft, lying, prostitution, etc.
- You have lost track of time and are unable to tell one day from the next.
- Your entire life revolves around drinking or using.
The old saying is that an addict has to hit “rock bottom” in order to accept the help that is available. All that means is that you have gotten so tired of the life caused by your addiction that you are ready to do anything to find your way out of the depths. Once, you are ready to do anything to get drunk or high. If you are now ready to do anything to get sober, then it’s time to make a call to a professional treatment center.