Most of us, at some point in our life, have dealt with substance addiction in some way. We either suffer from it ourselves, have lived with someone who does or know someone who does.
The symptoms, like many other forms of addiction, are all too painful. Abuse, disrespect, anger, stress, among others. Addiction really doesn’t care for its victims – it will leave its mark on anyone it can. I’ve seen it firsthand and witnessed its destructive path.
But even in the darkest, murkiest tunnels of substance addiction, there is a light that can be switched on. It needs to be found, but it is there. There are recovering addicts just about everywhere who want to help others get out of the spiral of addiction they themselves suffered and still battle with every day. And there is always help available somewhere nearby. Say you were on the road and wanted to find alcohol or drug rehab resources in Aurora, Colorado. You’d find them, wouldn’t you? As I said, help is always available.
Acceptance, however, is the first step on the road to recovery. And just as there are many who suffer from substance addiction and know how to seek help, there are also many who may not yet realise that they have addiction issues. There are some helpful questions, however, we can ask ourselves. Honesty with oneself is essential, of course.
How important is the substance to your sense of self and the way you love your life?
Does taking the substance stop you doing other things that you need or want to do?
Does taking the substance make you feel better and more in control?
Does not taking the substance make you feel worse? (e.g. anxious, irritable, unwell)
Are you finding that you want or need the substance more and more often?
Is the frequency with which you are taking the substance more than you originally wanted?
What do you feel when you think about stopping taking the substance? Do you feel panic, worry, dread, or any other negative feeling?
Changing your mind
Do you ever decide not to take the substance and then change your mind, even when you know that taking the substance will not be good for you?
Do you ever make a decision to stop taking the substance permanently and then postpone implementing that decision until a future date?
I don’t think I need to go into specific detail about what the answers to any or all of these self-questions may mean. We are all individuals, and if the answers tell you, in your heart as well as your head, that addiction is a problem in your life, the resources to help you make a positive change are out there.
What I can say with absolute certainty is that no one suffering from an addiction, whether it be substance or non-substance, needs to feel alone or ashamed. Addiction affects all of us, no matter our race, background, education or bank balance. It’s a hard and rocky road, but recovery is inspiring, to ourselves and to all those around us.