When you’re immersed in the struggles of addiction, asking for help can be difficult if you’re not sure where to begin. Denial, shame or fear may prevent you from reaching out. Let’s take a look at how you can ask for help when you’re addicted, so you can enter recovery and create a sober and healthier life.
Break Through Denial
Denial is a part of addiction.1 Denial is harboring the idea that you can stop taking drugs or alcohol, any time you choose, all by yourself. The reality is, once addiction has taken hold, professional help is almost always needed to stop.
The proof that you can’t beat your addiction alone is in your attempts and failures to stop. Your addiction is getting worse with each try, not better. Once the reality of your situation is recognized, you’ve broken through denial. The problems you now see can be addressed.
Beat the Fear
You may attempt to handle substance abuse alone, but this usually doesn’t work with a long-term addiction. As many people suffering from addiction do, you’ve carefully tried to hide your addiction or ignored it for a long time. You may fear being seen as a failure, or that people will reject you because of your addiction. By hiding and avoiding, it’s harder to admit you need help.
By separating your identity from the addiction, you can beat these fears and make asking for help easier.2 Picture yourself and the help you need as a “team” united against the problem. Your addiction is no longer “you,” but a persistent and uncontrollable “it.” Call the problem “it” when you’re discussing addiction with doctors, counselors or loved ones.
Reach the Point of Surrender
Surrendering means understanding that you can no longer drink or take drugs. Your substance abuse has taken a toll on your life financially, medically, emotionally and socially. Relationships have been damaged, money and/or jobs lost, and psychiatric disorders like anxiety or depression are worsening—all signaling it’s time for you to surrender.
Once you’ve fully surrendered to the disease, you’ve internalized the idea that substance use must stop for you to change your life. Since you can’t stop on your own, you accept that professional help is needed to do so. At this point, you’re ready to be helped. The next step is to ask.
Ask for Help When You’re Addicted
- Call an addiction treatment center
- Go to an AA or NA meeting with a friend
- See counselors or therapists, and ask them to get you into treatment
- Tell trusted friends and family members that you need professional help
Keep doing these things until you get the help you need.
The most important thing is the commitment you make to stick with it. There are different roads to getting and staying sober and taking the first step to ask for help when you’re addicted is one of the most difficult journeys to begin. However, just by taking the first steps and getting the surrender part straight in your mind, you can succeed in your journey of recovery.