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Are you or someone you know struggling with drug addiction? There are many ways to get help, but not all of them work. Below is a list of some things that might be helpful and some that won’t:
- Talking about my issues with others (this may or may not work for everyone)
- Trying to find out why I started using drugs in the first place (if this doesn’t lead me back to old patterns, it will at least make me aware of what’s going on)
- Finding a support group for people who have dealt with similar problems (seeing how other people have overcome their addiction can give hope)
- Getting examined by medical professionals; they can prescribe medication if necessary
- Encouraging other people to stop using drugs and alcohol (as someone whose life has been deeply affected by addiction, I can attest to the importance of this)
- Looking for books written on drug abuse (this is often a helpful way to address dissonance about my substance use; just because someone wrote it doesn’t mean it’s true, of course)
- Talking with other addicts about what they’re going through, or sharing my experience in recovery (I may feel like a failure if I relapse, but the truth is that relapse happens; it’s important to understand why and how we can recover again)
- Avoiding drinking or taking drugs alone (it makes sense that this would be easier said than done; a big part of getting sober means learning to handle these urges)
- Making some kind of formal commitment, like joining a support group or giving up drugs and alcohol forever (this may seem unnecessary if I’m just trying to keep it together during the holidays)
Low self esteem as a cause for addiction: why do so many people get addicted?
Most people who become addicted have some kind of underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
The reasons can vary childhood trauma, violence, abuse, neglect but often a person with low self esteem will turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope. These substances are much more powerful than we think; they make us feel better, stronger, less affected by emotional pain. They erode our ability to deal with problems on our own, and take away our ability to connect with other people.
Getting honest: what are some of the reasons my life is so out of control?
If I’m on drugs, it’s likely because I have been trying to counteract some kind of emotional pain. Rather than facing that pain head-on and working through it, getting high makes me feel better (temporarily). This is a way out which keeps me from having to change or deal in any meaningful way with what’s going on inside me. Essentially, it allows me to ignore a problem that needs attention; this means that the problem doesn’t go away–it only gets bigger over time.
Asking for help: what motivates us when we’re trying to quit drugs ?
If I’m truly ready to get sober, there are some very important things that will motivate me. Asking for help is not one of them (in fact, asking for help can be counterproductive if it puts too much on my plate when I’ve been in denial about my addiction).
Trying to find out why I started using drugs in the first place may or may not work for everyone who is addicted; for those with substance abuse issues, this is more likely a way out than what I really need. In order to get clean and stay clean, I have to know myself well enough to acknowledge where relapse might come from (“slip” = “fall right back into old patterns”) , and make changes accordingly. Getting examined by medical professionals may or may not be enough; if the psychological reasons for my addiction aren’t addressed, it’s likely that I’ll relapse.
Encouraging other people to stop using drugs and alcohol is definitely important, but sometimes (as in the case of an intervention), the person who needs to hear this needs to hear it from a professional counselor with some authority behind them.
If nothing else, though, it’s very helpful to surround myself with sober friends who can keep me accountable; these are friends whom I’ve reached out to when I’m ready to get clean and sober, because they have already faced similar struggles. Letting go: what do I need to let go of?
The biggest thing here is fear . I need to stop being afraid of my addiction, and all the things that are associated with it. When I’m high, there’s a strong connection between me and my drug of choice: I “need” or strongly desire it in order to feel good, complete, or better about myself; when I’m sober, this feeling disappears.
The aftermath of using drugs is often painful; for example, I may be experiencing withdrawals or acute physical consequences . Part of getting clean involves facing these painful feelings without turning back (allowing myself to lean on others who can support me through them).
Who should be involved? How many people need to get involved in recovery?
Some people find this difficult
- I know that if anyone tried to make me get help from a professional or take medication, I’d probably have to keep it a secret so that I could hide the problem. Others can be helpful, but they need to be chosen carefully and have time available
- People who are too busy may not be able to meet me when I want them to, which makes me feel abandoned (and therefore more likely to use drugs again). It’s better for me not to tell too many people about my past drug use; telling this kind of information is what typically got me into trouble in the first place.
So what do we know? Some people are at risk for substance abuse problems; others are not. We can’t identify everyone who has a substance abuse issue, but sometimes getting counseling, medication or medical help are the best ways to start.
We might not want this kind of help, though; in fact, we may not even know what’s wrong with us; what if we’re just crazy? Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help, and we might worry that others will think less of us if they hear about our issues.
Letting go is scary; there is a lot of physical pain associated with withdrawal from some drugs (like alcohol); as well as uncomfortable feelings like anxiety . It’s also true that when people make mistakes and relapse, their friends judge them and sometimes stay away because they don’t know how else to handle this new situation.
This can lead to social isolation, loneliness and depression. We may be embarrassed and ashamed of relapsing, or think that others are disappointed in us because we didn’t “get better.”
What do you want to happen? How can we help you get it? In the end, though, people who have substance abuse problems have a choice about whether and how they want to live their lives: if they choose recovery , what kind of support do they need from others around them (what’s important to keep themselves on track?) ?
What does it mean for a “recovering addict” to participate in self-help groups that are based on 12-step programs like AA or NA? It means that he or she has committed myself to getting clean and sober; they are working to stay away from substances that they have identified as hurtful or dangerous.
This person is allowing others (sponsors) to help them on their journey, and in return, this person is helping other people with similar problems in the future. They sponsor new members of the community or group who might be facing difficulties along the way. A recovering addict has found a new identity; rather than being described as an “addict,” he/she is now recognized as someone who’s “in recovery.”
What do I need? What can I give back?
I know that when people reach out for help, it means that they’ve realized something about their lives that needs fixing–and maybe because of this awareness, they’re ready to join with others to get there.
I can help others by taking life one day at a time, and looking for the good in my life. What if I slip up? Someone who has relapsed does not need to give up on their recovery they just need to redouble their efforts toward healing and take extra precautions that they won’t be exposed to substances again.
The more support people have, the easier it is for them to manage stress when things start getting hard (for example, being unable to find a job or facing an old trauma ). Friends and family members may underestimate how much they’re needed but many recovering addicts report feeling happy and balanced only after they have strong connections with others .
They recognize themselves as who they are; they know that they have value and worth. Now people can fight for their own recovery more easily because they don’t feel so alone in the battle.
If you need help with substance abuse issues, who can you ask for it?
Most folks will be happy to listen if you’re looking for support. But sometimes people don’t want to admit that they have a problem or ask for help so it’s important to consider how other people are connected to you and what role they might play in your recovery .
Friends and family members can offer emotional support: listening, caring and sharing their own stories of when things went wrong. Families may be able to help pay for treatment or medications; friends and community groups might be able to offer transportation or child care if the person is trying hard not to use addictive substances (and needs a chance “stay clean”).
How long am I supposed to be in recovery? There’s no set time limit on how long you should be sober, but many people keep working at things until they feel stronger and more able to cope with life’s challenges. The idea is that as a person gets healthier, he/she might be able to handle what comes up without turning to substances . Even if some problems still pop up from time to time, it means that the person is doing something right!
What can I do now?
Psychologists have found that people who are trying hard to change their lives are most likely going to stay strong when they’re feeling hopeful and expecting good things for themselves. If someone keeps telling himself that “I’m not going to use again” or “nothing bad will happen if I relapse,” he’s less likely to stay firmly committed to his recovery.
Foundations and organizations that support substance abusers sometimes help people who are trying hard by reminding them of the old saying: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
If I’m not using substances, why do I need support?
One way to think about it is like this: when you cut yourself, you might look for a band aid so that the bleeding will stop and protect your wound from getting worse. People in early recovery are managing the withdrawal symptoms related to stopping addictive behaviors (for example, if someone was addicted to alcohol, they’re going through alcohol detox).
Some people also experience psychological or emotional problems related to their substance abuse; the symptoms might be so bad that they feel like they have no other choice but to relapse (for example, anxiety attacks , depression , paranoia ). The stress in their lives can pile on top of the problems already there–and these frustrations can make it easy for them to forget why they’re working hard toward recovery.
Some people who are trying to become clean and sober need extra support because of life’s circumstances . For instance, if someone is dealing with physical or sexual abuse : he/she may have been convinced by a partner or parent that substances turn things around for the better (for example, drinking will help this person stay calm and cope with what’s going on).
Or maybe someone has health issues related to substance abuse (like coughing up blood or kidney failure) and has no health insurance. Even if someone is lucky enough to have good insurance, the cost of treatment may be out-of-pocket over time since many companies don’t cover everything.
What kind of support might I find?
Some people go to groups that help them manage their recovery on a daily basis . People can learn from other folks how to stay safe and strong without using substances (for example, avoiding drinking buddies , not going places where they’re likely to use drugs).
Usually, there are regular meetings (for example, twice a week, once per month) which means that people don’t feel so alone in what they’re working toward and can swap stories about what’s going well and what’s not. People get to know one another, which can be very helpful since they have someone to rely on when problems come up (for example, someone is tempted to use and doesn’t want to bother family and friends).
What about religious groups? Some people find that their spiritual beliefs help them stay in recovery. If group meetings don’t fit the person’s style or aren’t available, there are other ways for supporters and recovering persons to meet: religious services .
What if I can’t afford treatment?
Even if someone has insurance coverage, he/she may still need to pay part of the cost of treatment out-of-pocket depending on what the plan covers. Many health care providers offer payment plans that let a person pay a certain amount each month instead of paying the whole cost up-front.
Will I get in trouble with the law if I seek treatment?
In many cases, substance abusers will have to deal with a judge who can order them into treatment instead of giving them jail time. In some cases, people are put on probation for one or more years and are ordered to attend treatment (for example, drug court ).
In other places there is a legal mandate that all judges must offer this option–called “mandatory minimums.” If a person has violated his/her parole , he/she may be offered treatment as an alternative to being sent back to prison after getting out. Some cities have been experimenting with the idea that people without criminal records can be mandated to attend treatment by the court if they are arrested for intoxication in public or other problems.
What’s the cost of treatment?
The short answer is a lot–if insurance does not cover everything (for instance, some plans have very high deductibles that people must pay before they receive coverage). Most rehabs want payment up-front and will accept credit cards, online payment or cash. Some places also take checks made out to third parties like friends or family members.
If someone has health insurance it may help with the co-pay but won’t totally cover it all so it’s best to ask what’s covered ahead of time and find out what the plan will pay. If a person does not have health insurance, he/she may be eligible for free or reduced cost treatment through state funded programs . Large cities usually offer at least two options: outpatient and inpatient treatment.
Outpatients can attend meetings and get other kinds of support like help in finding housing and getting a job while still living at home (for example, someone could live with other recovering folks). Inpatient facilities are more intensive since people stay there over the course of several weeks (or longer) and focus on their recovery.
There are also “wilderness” centers that provide counseling and survival skills over the course of about three weeks -they tend to be costly but can be worth it if what’s needed is a total change of scenery.
Conclusion paragraph: If you or someone close to you is struggling with drug addiction, there are plenty of ways to get help. The best way might not be the same for everyone, so it’s important to try out different methods and find what works for your situation. We’re here to offer support in any form that may work for you, including providing information on how we can help through our blog posts like this one! Let us know if we can do anything else for you by contacting us today!