When you’re in need of help it seems like it’s the hardest thing to do. Trying to take on the world alone, carrying the weight on your shoulders fighting your addiction every minute of every day. In AA they say you have to put as much into your recovery as you did your addiction. Easier said then done, right? Below are five ways to ask for help so you’re not baring this monster on your own.
- Do your research: Meaning, check near by treatment places, inpatient if they have beds available or outpatient to get an appointment for intake. Right now with this epidemic on our hands, it’s some what difficult to get into certain treatment centers. Sometimes there are week long waits to get a bed for inpatient, so be prepared because the treatment centers are on overload. Doing this first step allows you to show yourself and others you’re serious about this lifestyle change. All over the United States are AA (Alcohol Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), and all other addiction meetings. You can google which you are in need of help of and you can find a community of like minded people willing to help. You can find people in the meetings with long term sobriety to also boost your support network. Sometimes meetings scare people off, but with so many, I’m almost positive you will be able to find one that works best for you. Also with a support network you can have people who have been through addiction who can share their experiences to help in your own recovery and they know how to hold you accountable, because that’s the last thing we were in active use.
- Setting up a Plan: Find a support who you trust and can hold you accountable while you start this process of recovery. Early recovery is a wild roller coaster to take on alone. By stating clearly what you need to make sure this goal can be achieved, you can work together forming a routine that works best for you. Maybe they can go to your first few appointments with you or you can take them to a meeting. I used to take my mom to meetings and appointments when I would start back in recovery after a relapse just in case I started to feel cravings or come into any triggers. At AA, NA, or any other meeting alike, they have sponsors. A sponsor is someone who has been in recovery for some time and help newcomers find their way through their recovery and help them work the steps. ( 12 steps of AA). It would be helpful to actually write a plan out and put it on the refrigerator or somewhere you see often to keep the momentum going because it takes about three weeks to change a habit. Getting a plan in motion that works best for you, that is manageable can set you up for success.
- Routine/ Self Care: Going through addiction, we neglect ourselves, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Don’t overload yourself all at once with changes. Maybe add one a week or which ever works best for you. At meetings you can find out what has worked for other people and take bits of what helped them and put them in place into your recovery. Getting set into a steady routine at home or at work is helpful because you start taking pride in yourself again. Potentially it can give you a new sense of purpose and well being. Hitting up weekly meetings or get into an exercise regimen are great when you have down time or find that you are bored. I struggled really hard with boredom even though I tend to put too much on my plate at once. To manage this, I started keeping a planner of all my appointments and events, or even a to-do list that day. I started doing artwork, hitting more meetings, and just having fun trying to figure out what I enjoy to do, sober. It was rather difficult at first because I really haven’t been sober for over ten years. It was hard for me to put myself out there in new situations with new people. When I realized I started to isolate myself, I had to put myself out there, sober? “Impossible”, I thought. It wasn’t bad as my anxiety made it seem. My worst problems never seem to happen because my anxiety blows things way out of proportion. This is why routine and self care are essential. Eating good food and taking care of yourself will help your body rebound and heal faster. It will take time for the body and brain to level the neurotransmitters and brain chemicals from the drug use but treating yourself kindly and positively, can only help.
- Clean Out: Anything that reminds or triggers you of your addiction, just let it go. This can be very empowering to discard these items. Other items like drug paraphernalia should also be discarded. Set yourself up to succeed. But keep in the front of your head that it really is a one day at a time process and even sometimes one minute at a time. Memories from using don’t have to be cluttered all around our living space as we try to detach from that past life. Remember that this is a lifestyle change to better your life because there is so much more beauty out there then drugs. It’s just hard to see it when you’re in the cycle of insanity. At the house, I’ve been trying to rearrange and change furniture around to help with triggers. My house did become a trigger because it was where I used the most, so I did feel better with things changed around. I also took a lot of pride in what I was able to do with painting the walls and making it a place where I can relax and make new positive memories.
- Honesty: This will take time. Going from lying almost every time we talk, we have to consciously make that shift over to honesty. Allowing us to slowly build back trust with those we may have impacted with our addiction. It’s hard for us to be sober and still be questioned about it, but just keep in mind, the wreckage we instilled in our love ones with mistrust. Speak up when you are craving or triggered or even if you use. With life’s waves forever crashing upon the shore with the good and the bad, staying true to yourself and your supports will allow you to fall back on those when it’s a bad mental health day. You will be figuring out so much about yourself and all those masked feelings, emotions and memories are bound to come up to the surface. Go at this, slowly but fiercely, with nothing to hide and everything to gain. Everything can be a learning experience so don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake and relapse. Relapses do happen but they don’t have to happen. Just be true you and to your supports and admit what happened, what went wrong, and start tweaking your game plan. There will be nothing you can’t handle at the end of this journey. You got this!
Asking for help may seem to be seen as a weakness but we were never meant to go through this life, alone, tackling each ebb and flow of life and addiction. Asking for help is empowering, just like recovery, so stand tall. Asking for help was the strongest thing I have done yet because if I never reached out for help with my drug problem, I don’t think I would be here writing this today. Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask for help and you don’t have to be at your “rock bottom” for you to ask for help.
Until next time,
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.