How To Reach Out For Help In Addiction
Addiction has been stigmatized for years. Before the “medical model” changed the conversation to one about illness, many people saw addiction as a moral failing. This stigma still persists in how we ask for help. If you broke your leg or had a bad flu, you wouldn’t think twice about reaching out for help. Making the first, and hardest, step toward addiction treatment doesn’t need to be so daunting. Here are 5 steps to help you start your path to recovery.
How Do You Communicate?
Some people find openly talking with those close to them to come naturally, but this isn’t always the case. If you are able to openly talk with someone close to you, that might be your best route, but for others, they may have to try something else. Even if you don’t know who to reach out to, try writing a letter or an email. Having some time to put together your thoughts can help you avoid being caught up in the moment. You can also try reaching out over the phone. Calling and video chat are great ways to add some distance that can help take some of the pressure off. Take a moment to think about both how you communicate best and who you plan on reaching out to.
Who to Reach Out to?
There are more right answers to this question than you might think. When you’re first reaching out, think about who you can talk most honestly with. This might be a partner, a family member, a friend, or a medical professional. The important part here isn’t immediately finding answers, but recognizing that you need help. If you can open up to a family member then do it. For some people, it might be easier to open up to a doctor or a nurse about this personal medical issue. For others, it might be a friend or family member. Consider the relationships you have and who you’ve built a strong trust with as you make your first step towards recovery.
The Recovery Community
You are not alone. There are countless people making that same first step to sobriety and there are also countless people who have made the journey before you. Try reaching out to someone you know who has gone through an addiction treatment program. They have been where you are now and might be some of the best people in your life to help you while you start your recovery. There are also community support groups and online message boards for people in addiction treatment programs.
What if I’m Concerned About a Friend?
You might not be looking for help for yourself, but for a friend. If this is the case, the first thing you should do is get informed. If you go into this talk hoping to scare or scold them into sobriety, you will likely only make things worse and damage your relationship. After you’ve read about addiction, reach out. You might be worried about “harming the friendship” but the substance abuse is already doing that for you. While they might not be open to hearing it at the time, voicing your concerns could be the talk that saves their life. Remember to go in with an open heart and recognize that the first steps toward recovery are the hardest.
It’s Never too Late
Whether you are a concerned family member or someone just coming to terms with their own substance abuse problem, it’s never too late to find help. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been struggling for years or weeks, the best time to get help is now. Don’t let any feelings of shame or pride get in the way of you recovering. This first step is the hardest, but the truth is, if you’ve made the realization that you need help, you are already on the way to recovery.