Ever feel like there’s no way out of addiction? Well, it is a complicated disease. Addiction doesn’t just grip you physically, and do things to your body. Sure, the substance abuse itself can cause some physical and medical problems, but the bigger issue is in the mental toll that addiction takes on you. What addiction does is it corners you in your own mind. It lies to you and makes decisions for you and overrides your better judgment. It convinces you that you need drugs or alcohol just as much as you need food and water, even though you know that isn’t true. It’s no coincidence that addiction problems and mental health problems often go hand-in-hand. And after a certain point, it will make you feel trapped. One part of your mind will tell you that you have to stop using it, and the other part will tell you it’s impossible. You’ll want to stop, to quit, to never touch that substance again. But the next time you see it, you’ll use it again as if it was the most natural thing in the world. It’s a vicious cycle and one that can make you feel like a prisoner in your own body. It can be difficult to break out of that. But it isn’t impossible. No matter how deep you think you are, or how hopeless it may seem, there is always a way out. If you don’t see the way out, don’t worry. There is always someone ready to help, and we’re going to make sure you can find them.
Talk to Friends and Family to Get Support
If you already suspect you’re addicted, you’re actually further along than most. Many people who suffer from addiction lose their lives before they ever even suspect their substance abuse is a problem. But there is also a great deal of denial involved in addiction. Even if you suspect you have a problem yourself, you may not have let your closest friends and family know. Quite to the contrary, you’re probably working very hard to keep them from ever finding out. It’s understandable why you would want to do this. You don’t want to be seen as simply an “addict,” especially by the people closest to you. You’re afraid of being judged and ostracized by those whose opinions can truly hurt you. But you know what? You’re probably not hiding your addiction as well as you think. Your closest friends and family have probably started to suspect something is wrong. Some of them may have even hinted at it at one point. If you come to them admitting you have a problem, you are almost guaranteed to get support from people who want you to beat your addiction as much as you do. This is how you get people to lean on throughout your recovery, which will prove to be crucially important throughout the process.
Consult With an Addiction Professional
Most people who end up in rehab don’t start out thinking they’re addicted. Addiction puts up a wall of denial that convinces you “everything’s fine, nothing to see here.” So if you doubt that there is a problem, one of the first things you can do is get a free addiction assessment to find out if you actually have a problem, and what the depth of that problem is. This type of assessment will help you come to grips with your problem and will give you very clear directions on what your options are and where you can go next. Some people may need to go to a detox program before rehab, while others may be able to try quitting through a support group. In addition, there are different types of rehab programs for different kinds of addiction. The range of options available to you can be overwhelming, but talking to a professional can help you parse those options and drill down to the absolute best option for you. If you don’t think you’re ready to talk to someone face to face, you can simply contact us, and we’ll answer your questions the best we can. Whatever you decide, you have a lifeline ready and waiting.
Find an Addiction Support Group
Having support from friends and family is great. But that’s not an option for everyone. Maybe your friends and family don’t understand what you’re going through, and they’re doing more harm than good. One of the most important things to have when you’re recovering is people who understand you and understand what you’re going through. You’ll get that in rehab, sure. But it’s important to have support outside of rehab treatment, particularly from people who won’t try to shame you or judge you for trying to beat addiction. People who know that addiction is not a choice, or a moral failing, or something you beat by just “toughing it out,” are invaluable resources. They can help you through the tough spots with strategies from their own personal experience, and you can hold each other accountable. Sounds great, but where do you find people like that? Alcoholics Anonymous connects people looking to beat alcoholism in a group setting. AA is something of a recovery program in and of itself, but it depends heavily on the power of group healing and staying accountable to one another. Many people meet lifelong friends in AA, and they help people get connected and overcome their addictions all over the world. Narcotics Anonymous is a sister program that deals with drug addiction rather than alcoholism. And SMART Recovery handles all types of addiction in a way that focuses on self-reliance, as compared to AA and NA’s spiritual approach. These groups all hold regular meetings all over the country, and you can absolutely find the support you need at one of them. These, too, are lifelines available to you when you feel the most trapped.
Understand That Addiction is Not Your Fault
One of the strongest feelings you’ll have when facing addiction is the feeling of guilt. People who are addicted feel denial and guilt in equal measures. Part of the reason for the denial is because they don’t want to feel guilty about having a problem. As a result, they simply convince themselves everything is fine. But that’s not a conscious decision. In fact, almost nothing about addiction is a conscious decision. Addiction changes your brain chemistry in ways that make you:
- Less able to think things through
- Lethargic or disinterested in hobbies and pastimes
- Unable to prioritize anything above satisfying your cravings
- Less receptive to negative consequences
- More emotionally unstable
And these are just a few broad effects, that are all the result of chemical reactions in your brain that you have no control over. It isn’t your fault that these reactions are taking place. Addiction is a disease that takes away your agency to make your own decisions, and it can be difficult to fight back. But it hasn’t beaten you until you stop fighting. No matter how cornered or trapped you feel, there is always a way out. You may try a few different recovery methods before you find the right one for you, but the right one does exist. Understand that addiction isn’t your fault and that it isn’t going to let you go easily. Keep fighting it. Never stop moving forward. If you’re in recovery, keep at it and trust in the recovery process. Just whatever you do, never blame yourself, and never let yourself believe that you’re hopeless. Do that, and you will win this fight, no matter how long it takes.