When we’re addicted to something, it can feel incredibly isolating. The substance or action that we abuse controls us almost entirely. Everything else — and everyone else — can fall away from our awareness. And, tragically, we sometimes find ourselves behaving in terrible ways and hurting the people closest to us.
Battling our addiction involves rebuilding relationships and seeking forgiveness, but that can seem impossible when we’re trying to make our journey alone. Worse yet, attempting to solve our issues on our own can lead us to make terrible mistakes and dramatically underestimate our own issues and the efforts necessary to overcome them. When we try to fight addiction on our own, we almost always fail.
But we aren’t alone — or, at least, we don’t have to be. Others are struggling with addiction, and still more people specialize in helping addicts. We have people who care about us, even if we’ve made that difficult for them right now. We need to recognize these facts and rely on others to help us as we make our own path forward.
Addiction is everywhere
As isolating as addiction can be, the fact of the matter is that it is incredibly common. About 24.5 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol. That’s roughly one in every 10 Americans age 13 and up. While we might not think of addiction as being one of the most common illnesses in America, that’s just what it is — a disease that afflicts a staggering number of people.
The struggles that we experience as addicts are serious, it’s true. But it’s not true that they are unique, even if they may feel uniquely pained or shameful. Millions of others are going through exactly the same things that we are.
Relying on professionals
We aren’t the only ones going through this. But what does that mean? Is that helpful?
As we’ll see in a moment, it can be — the prevalence of addiction has helped peer support groups flourish all over the world. But first, let’s talk about another group that matters to addicts: professionals.
Psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors who specialize in addiction treatment are among the most important people in the world to a struggling addict. If you can reach the right professional, and if you commit to doing your part, then you’ll be ready to begin your journey to sobriety.
You can get help quickly by relying on hotlines and non-emergency phone lines designed to help addicts connect with treatment. Such lines are maintained by non-profit groups and governmental groups. If you are able to, you could seek treatment on your own by working with your health insurance provider and primary care physician to identify and reach a mental health professional.
Working with a therapist, you can decide on next steps. Those could include rehab, where you’ll find support among more professionals and among your fellow addicts, explain the professionals at the Stillwater Treatment Centre.
Peer groups and the support of other addicts
You’ll meet other people in rehab and in group counseling settings who are struggling with the same sorts of things that you are. You can also find these people in peer support groups and 12-step sobriety programs. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs are powerful tools in your fight for sobriety, and sticking with a group for life can help you stay sober long after you’ve made it out of rehab and begun to change your life.
Addiction is a lifelong struggle. You won’t be “cured,” but you can achieve sobriety and life a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. To do that, you’ll need the help of others, including other addicts, professionals, and — perhaps immediately, perhaps eventually — friends and family members who may support your journey. With the help of these people, you can find the inner strength that you need to fight for your sobriety and reclaim your life.