A few years ago I was addicted to alcohol and drugs. My family did not know how bad my addiction had become. I was, at the time, a successful graduate student with high hopes of becoming an academic one day.
Is There Even Any Hope For Me?
Realizing that you have a problem is always a huge first step towards finding recovery. For many people, it’s not until they actually admit to themselves that they have an addiction or substance abuse problem that they finally decide to do something about it. While not everyone with a problem has an honest and open enough relationship with themselves to realize when help is needed, there are some signals you can look for in yourself if you think you might be close to or already addicted. Uncontrollable cravings for specific substances, frequent failed attempts at stopping the use of said substances, and neglecting important responsibilities or relationships all might be signs that something isn’t right within your life.
What Does it Take to Recover From an Addiction?
According to Mental Health America, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing all forms of mental illness, drug addiction is a disease that affects both your brain and body. Addiction has many facets that often go beyond simply liking or not liking something, but it can also include how long you’ve been doing something and how often you do it. This can lead to addiction for some people when others who may have started at roughly the same time haven’t gotten hooked yet. One aspect of addiction comes from how drugs affect your brain: According to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), repeated drug use damages receptors in your brain.
Managing cravings during recovery
Cravings can be a challenge for anyone trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. While every person’s triggers will be different, some strategies may help them cope with cravings, such as telling yourself that you’re not going to give in until you’ve reached a certain point, or distracting yourself from your cravings. For instance, by exercising when you have a craving for food. Other ideas include: making a plan for what you’ll do if you have an urge to overeat; talking about your cravings with others (especially someone who is familiar with what it’s like), and writing down how you feel when they occur. Acknowledging them can help reduce their hold on us. Feeling ashamed or guilty about your cravings might also cause additional stress and lead to more eating problems.
Let’s Talk About Relapse Prevention
What Is It? Relapse prevention is a strategy used to reduce and hopefully prevent a person who’s in recovery from using drugs or alcohol. There are lots of different relapse-prevention strategies available, but all of them work to help individuals find ways to effectively deal with stress and negative emotions without turning to drugs or alcohol. Some people prefer to focus on building positive habits and finding alternate activities they can do that is healthier than drinking, like exercising or journaling. Others feel more comfortable in structured programs that give them regular support, like group therapy sessions. All people in recovery need to get individualized care so that they can find relapse-prevention strategies that fit their lifestyle and needs.
Let’s Talk About Recovery Maintenance
Many people choose to seek treatment and go through a recovery program when they need it. Sometimes, these people may find that once they have conquered their addiction, other things are still missing in their lives, but they don’t quite know how to get them. Luckily, because of programs such as 12-step programs, SMART Recovery, and others, individuals who have been clean for a long time can also benefit from help. If you don’t want to join one of these specific organizations or you aren’t sure where to start your journey toward living a healthier life and maintaining sobriety all on your own, there is another way for you to access support. Let’s talk about some of those ways now!
So what do I do now?
Well for starters you would have to go to your work tomorrow and tell them that you will not be able to come in for a week because you will be taking care of your loved one. You should know that your employer offers short-term disability insurance which may cover some of your income, but most likely not all of it. If possible try and take at least two weeks off so when they ask where are you going with your new diagnosis they can’t say anything if they don’t know anything. After your time is up with short-term disability use every bit of savings or investments to get by till payday or until you qualify for long-term disability.
What If I Don’t Have Insurance or Financial Resources?
If you don’t have any financial resources or insurance, your first step should be to make an appointment with a therapist as soon as possible. They’ll help talk you through your problems and assess whether or not you have a mental health issue. From there, if it’s determined that you need professional help, they will likely steer you towards low-cost support options such as therapy groups, in-home counseling services, or even self-help books. If these things are beyond your reach, local churches and charities can offer affordable mental health assistance. More often than not they can provide an adequate amount of information on programs available in your area or people who could help in situations like yours.