Friday, July 8, 2016

4 Ways to Get Help for Addiction Today

How to Start Addiction Recovery Today

Once a person hits active recovery in regards to addiction, life becomes more clear.  "It's Been a While" by Aaron Lewis (Staind), has the perfect lyrics to give you strength and the motivation to keep on the road to active recovery.  

There isn't a cure for addiction, and there is one solid reason why 'active recovery' are the terms used in this article.  There is a difference between active recovery, recovery, and being sober.  Active Recovery implies that a person is working on their recovery everyday, whether it be going to meetings, attending meetings online, staying connected with the recovering community, practicing the steps within their own life, staying self aware of the recovery process, and building on the core values of active recovery through any means. 

The first two lines of the song "It's Been a While" hooked me immediately. "It's been awhile since I could hold my head up high", was exactly how I felt when going through treatment at La Hacienda, and Hazelden / Betty Ford Treatment Centers.  As a person with an addiction disorder, or otherwise known as an alcoholic, I needed inpatient treatment to learn the skills and strategies to live a complete life in active recovery.

I was at a place in 2003 where I knew I had a 'drinking problem', and internally knew I was an alcoholic.  I didn't know the steps to take to receive help, and exhibited behaviors that almost cost me my life, because I was at a point where I wasn't sure if I wanted to live anymore. The one thing I knew at the time, was I didn't want to stop drinking, but I knew it was destroying my life.  My whole life, it seems that I have had to learn things the hard way, and I received the personal, and professional experience to explain the steps you should take if you want to receive help.

Start Addiction Recovery Today:

In listing these steps, I want you to be cautious, and know that strategies that work are different for each person, but there is a general process that should be considered.  The steps to realize that you need help with an addiction, are different than the actual program you need to begin your journey to active recovery.
1. Start with a piece of paper, or a note taking app, and start with two sections called 'Positives" and 'Improvements'.  List a minimum of 10 positive aspects of your life, and then list a minimum of 10 aspects that you would like to improve in your life.  Be open and honest with yourself, as you are the only one that should see this.

2. Take this a step further, ask friends and family to tell you some positives aspects they see in your life, and then some aspects they would like to see you improve.  DO NOT SHARE YOUR LIST WITH THEM AT THIS TIME.  A strategy that has been proven to be successful in doing this is to start out with a 'soft' conversation, along the lines of starting a conversation about the relationship you have with them, or things they believe are positive in their life at this time.  During this process of them sharing, jot down notes on a separate, blank sheet of paper, so you will have a reference to add to your list. Do NOT take the answers and thoughts of others personal, as they are simply telling you their thoughts, and giving you feedback.  Look at this information as an interview for a project, and be open minded, by not interrupting or defending yourself.  So uncross your arms, open up your ears, and make eye contact.

3. Evaluate the list compiled from your own thoughts, and the thoughts of others.  You may be the type of person that would never open up with another about their opinions of you, and this will make you feel uncomfortable.  Feeling uncomfortable is a great start to change, because change starts outside of your comfort zone.  What are the consistencies between your answers and the answers of others? Highlight, check, or indicate any answers that are similar or the same, and start a second list.  Looking at the list, is substance use, abuse, or addiction on it?  If you already have questioned if you drink too much, or have a drinking problem, substance abuse, should at least be on your list.
4. Take Action: Research reputable treatment resources such as Hazelden / Betty Ford Website  or NIH. These websites are anonymous, and will give you some information to get started on your journey to recovery. 

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