Admitting you are struggling with an addiction is the first step towards recovery, but it is not always easy. It often means coming to terms with how substance abuse has impacted your physical and mental wellbeing, your relationships, and your quality of life. It can be especially challenging when faced with stigmas surrounding substance abuse but asking for help is imperative if you want to take back control of your life. While it can be difficult to reach out to loved ones about it, especially if your relationships have been hurt by addiction, it is the first important step to take in recovery.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It takes courage and strength to admit there is a problem. Although you may think your addiction is a burden, that belief prevents you from seeking help. With the help of a support network, you can begin making lifestyle changes to enable and support sobriety. Overcoming addiction is not something that is easily done alone.
Acknowledging Your Addiction
Starting the journey in recovery requires you to be honest with yourself. It is not always easy coming to terms with the reality of your addiction and how it is has impacted you and those around you. This requires you to let down your guard and be vulnerable. Addiction causes changes in your thoughts and behaviors that allow it to thrive. If you recognize these general signs of addiction in yourself, it may be time to seek help:
- Having a lack of control or inability to stop using substances
- Experiencing cravings or withdrawal symptoms when not under the influence
- Decreased social interaction, negative changes in relationships, and increased isolation
- Increase in risky behaviors such as driving under the influence, getting into physical altercations, or sharing drug paraphernalia, like needles, with others
- Growing tolerance and a need for higher dosages to achieve the same effects
- Finding ways to justify behaviors despite being aware of the consequences
Addiction can have a profound impact on your physical, mental, and emotional health. You may observe the following symptoms in yourself as well:
- Lack of interest in hobbies or activities you once enjoyed
- Changes in social circles
- Missing important obligations, such as work or school
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Increased secrecy and lying about substance use
- Abrupt changes in weight
- Decreased self-care and poor hygiene
- Memory problems
- Sudden changes in mood
- Suicidal thoughts
While some of these symptoms can be attributed to other health issues, it is important to be honest about the relationship between substance abuse and these signs. If there is not another factor that may be responsible for the development of these symptoms, it is likely that addiction is to blame.
Although you may be able to find ways to justify continued substance abuse, the long-term consequences of continued use are life-threatening and may be irreversible. Continued use of substances can lead to:
- Development of infectious diseases
- Damaged relationships
- Loss of employment
- Financial hardship
Much like the other symptoms, some of these outcomes may be attributed to other life events. These experiences can happen to anyone regardless of an addiction. Determining the relationship between substance abuse and these life events can help you come to terms with the impact of addiction and its severity.
Beginning the Recovery Process
If addiction has impacted your life, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. The longer addiction flourishes, the more likely it is to lead to the development of long-term problems. Making the choice to enter recovery is not always easy, but it is an important first step in reclaiming control of your life.
There is never a wrong time to start treatment for addiction and although you may feel alone, there are many people who want to help. Asking for help is not always easy, but there is no shame in reaching out for support.
- Ask friends and family: Even if your relationships with loved ones have suffered because of addiction, many people still want to help. Friends and family can be a valuable source of support and a resource in helping you make connections with treatment providers.
- Contact a professional: Counselors and medical professionals can help you connect with addiction treatment providers. They can be a trusted professional resource that can assess your situation and help you find care that best meets your needs.
- Connect with a support group: There are countless addiction support groups that can help you find treatment. Joining a support group can connect you with others who share similar experiences. They can provide insight into the recovery process and a valuable perspective when trying to determine what path is right for you.
Reaching out for help is the first step in achieving sobriety. Addiction can make you feel alone, but you are not. A support network is vital in maintaining sobriety long-term and attempting to do the work alone is not always effective. There will be many ups-and-downs throughout recovery. Facing this reality with support can make it easier to manage and allow you to successfully overcome the obstacles you will inevitably face.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 310.403.1032 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.