By Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”
When it comes to personal struggles with drug and alcohol use, asking for help can seem like an impossible feat. Individuals who have suffered from substance use and addiction in the past know that the hardest part is admitting they have lost the ability to manage their lives.
The mind is a powerful thing. When it comes to addiction, thoughts and feelings get so overwhelming that at times denial and justification can overshadow the negative consequences of destructive behavior. When active in one’s addiction, rational thought becomes clouded and fear of exposing what has been going on “behind the scenes” takes over. Common factors that delay asking for help can include
- Shame and guilt
- Anger and resentment from coworkers, family, and friends
- Having children removed from the home
- Loss of relationship/divorce
- Loss of job
- Loss of reputation in the community
- Loss of independence
- Living up to stigma
- Exposing other problem areas/struggles
These fears and more may prevent an addicted individual from seeking help sooner. The more serious the addiction, the less ownership one takes over their health and wellbeing, and there are times when hopelessness and desperation lead to dangerous and destructive behavior, completely consuming everything else. The irony is that in admitting defeat, the individual is actually demonstrating incredibly courageous behavior. Even if some of their fears of exposing the alcohol and substance use come to fruition (loss of reputation, anger from loved ones, etc.), unless the addicted individual gets the help they need, they may never live long enough to find out if those fears actually do come true.
Making the decision to ask for help is the first part, choosing whom to tell is the second. Given that an individual may have any number of the fears listed above, deciding when and with whom to relay this information is an added stressor. Some people find that testing the waters by calling an anonymous hotline or speaking to a mental health professional confidentially is a start. Others my intuitively know safe individuals in their social circle (who most likely already have an idea) that they can share with. Once the behavior is put out there, an addicted individual will soon see the fact that they do not have to struggle alone. When shared with the appropriate people or through the necessary channel, the recovery process can begin.
Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC is an educator, published researcher, and social media consultant. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) (e-therapy) and Suicide Prevention Instructor (QPR) under the National Board for Certified Counselors.
How to Contact Passages Addiction Treatment Centers:
Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.