Struggling with substance addiction can make functioning in your day to day life feel nearly impossible. There is the struggle to maintain your relationships, your job, your ability to function, but above all, to make sure you have a supply of your substance of choice. The need to keep yourself “supplied” can lead to an additional level of stress. There may be concerns about finances, your health, your family, or even the possible legal implications associated with your addiction. So, what do you do?
Taking the first step and asking for help usually means you must admit something is wrong. For many who struggle with addiction, this admission or acceptance is something they would rather not discuss or mention. Asking for help means you must communicate your need to others. Depending on your place with your addiction, this may feel like having to admit failure or feeling as though you are weak because you have an addiction. Asking for help means you must accept you cannot do (or conquer) something by yourself.
For everyone, addicts included, pride and our own ego often prevent us from asking for help when we need it the most. These two parts of our emotional center convince us that we do not need help or that we can “do this on our own.” Guilt and shame also play a role in our inability to ask for help. There is a chance you have hurt those close to you through your addiction, and the guilt associated with this can stop you from turning to those who may be able to help you most.
You will often hear people say that admitting to yourself that you have a problem with addiction and substance abuse is the first step. Perhaps this is true, but there is another step that is probably more essential and even more challenging, reaching out for help.
Things to remember about asking for help
When you face addiction each day, there are many things you do that are not easy. Asking for help from family, friends, or even strangers such as the treatment team here at The Hills is one of those very difficult things. However, asking for help-as hard as it may be-is a crucial step in your addiction recovery. You cannot overcome addiction on your own. In some cases, depending on the substance(s) you are addicted to and the length of your addiction, the choice to attempt to withdraw “cold turkey” could prove fatal.
Asking for help is something that you need to do to overcome your addiction safely and successfully. If you are contemplating reaching out for help but emotions such as fear or dread are preventing you from doing so, there are a few very important things you need to keep in mind.
Asking for help is not a sign of failure
Asking for help does not mean you have failed. On the contrary, reaching the stage where you can admit to yourself and to others that you indeed need help is a show of courage. Standing on pride and ago as an excuse to avoid discussing your addiction force you to stand alone in facing your struggle with substance use. It takes strength to turn to others for help. Also, keep in mind there is strength in numbers. You are not alone in your struggle. Opening up about your addiction will open doors to a significant number of other individuals who share your struggle and can provide you with comradery and guidance.
Asking for help does not make you a burden to others
It is natural for someone who faces the demons associated with addiction every day to feel as though they have put their friends, family, and loved ones through enough trauma. It is also common for you to feel as though they do not want to deal with your issues anymore and that you have become a burden to those you care about. The truth is this is not true!
Yes, your friends and family have likely been through a lot because of your addiction, but much of what they have been through centers around concern for you and your health. The fear and concern they deal with is even more reason they will likely be highly willing to help you get into an addiction treatment program. They are willing to help because they care, and seeing (or hearing) you reach out for help is something they have been pushing for all along.
Asking for help does not make you dependent or a burden on others. It means you have realized you need support, guidance, and the help of professionals to create and maintain a healthy life free of addiction. Asking for help is the first step in making the journey to sobriety possible.
Because of your addiction, honesty has likely been a character trait that has fallen by the wayside. Desperation and manipulation often become a large part of the daily existence of most addicts. They often must use both to hide their addiction and to ensure they are able to maintain their habit. When you ask for help, it is time, to be honest with yourself and others. Overcoming denial and avoidance associated with your addiction is the first step in showing others you are ready to seek help.
Honesty is one of the most challenging parts of asking others for help. Honesty requires accepting that your ego and your current mode of dealing with your addiction are wrong. It also requires admitting to yourself and others that you cannot do this alone. Once you can do these things, you can move forward and start down the path to recovery.
Asking for help is not shameful
Asking your friends, family, or loved ones for help indeed puts you in a vulnerable position. However, you must recognize you should not be embarrassed about asking for help. It is likely that those closest to you are already well aware of your addiction and have been worried about it for some time. Remember, even though you are actively addicted and struggle with the addiction, those around you are affected as well and likely want to do all in their power to help you be well again.
Ways to ask for help
When it comes to addiction, it may feel as though asking for help is impossible. For some, asking for help may be so challenging that it just seems easier to continue living as they are rather than putting themselves on the line and reaching out.
If you find yourself in a position where you want (and need) to ask for help but do not know how or you do not wish to have a face to face conversation, here are a few other ways you can ask for help.
1) Send a letter or an email
Although not the case for everyone, sometimes writing is more comfortable than speaking. This can be especially true when it comes to asking for help with your addiction. For some people, writing allows the opportunity to collect their thoughts and organize them in a way that makes sense. Through writing, you may also come to some new realizations about your struggle with addiction. Another benefit to a letter is that once you hit send on the email or drop the envelope in the mailbox; there’s no going back. Once you have put your needs out there in this way, it is challenging to un-say what you have said. There is also a certain amount of relief in knowing you have opened the door to ask for help and no longer must hide your addiction.
2) Turn to a medical professional
Addiction is a disease that could greatly benefit from addiction treatment programs facilitated by compassionate experts in the best luxury addiction treatment center. Because of this, medical professionals, and addiction treatment providers such as those here at The Hills have training in knowing what to look for and how to proceed in treatment when someone needs help with their addiction. If you know you are struggling but are afraid to or do not want to turn to friends and family first, make an appointment with your primary care provider or contact us here at The Hills.
3) Look for people who share your experiences
Someone who has been through a struggle similar to what you are experiencing can be a wealth of advice, especially if they have faced their addiction and come out stronger on the other side. People who are in recovery are often more than willing to talk to you, and they understand your position. They will remember what it was like to be where you are and can help to ease your fears and provide you with guidance as to what you can do next. Ask them what worked for them and try to determine if the same course of action may work for you.
4) Talk to someone you trust
Most people have someone in their lives they can talk to about anything. If you have someone like this, turn to them. Even if they have no personal experience with addiction, they are an ear and a shoulder you can use to try and help make sense of what is going on. They may also be able to provide you with guidance on what some next steps could be or even help you seek out treatment centers or other means of helping you start your journey to sobriety.
Not everyone who struggles with addiction will be able to ask for help immediately, even when they realize it is what should be done. The truth is, sometimes it is just too difficult, and it takes time to accept that asking for help is the next step in their journey. When you are ready to ask for help, turn to those you can trust the most or to a medical provider with whom you are comfortable sharing your story. These people are likely to want to see you get help and successfully complete treatment. If you are not comfortable turning to friends or family, contact us here at The Hills. We have helped many people who share the same struggles as you. Asking for help is hard, but facing your addiction alone is worse. Contact us at The Hills today.