A place none of us hope to see. And also: the spot from which we can only go up.
After all, rock bottom is said to be where many people struggling with addiction finally reach out for help. They enter treatment, go through detox and begin a life of recovery.
But what if you’ve found yourself walking around on rock bottom for a while? Maybe you’re thinking about setting up camp and settling in for the long (sad) haul?
Don’t unroll that sleeping bag just yet, friend. It doesn’t matter how long ago you hit rock bottom; you can still find your way back up. And we want to help.
Today, we’ll take a look at a few things you may have overlooked before. Our hope is that you’ll realize it’s never too late to get addiction help. And, more importantly, you are worth every effort—because you are.
Think of Addiction Like a Chronic Disease
When you think about addiction—especially about getting addiction help—it’s easy to focus on the element of choice. Because, at one point in time, you chose to use. And now it seems impossible that you could ever choose not to use.
So you might feel stuck. You may even feel that you’ve been given a death sentence.
In all actuality, addiction is more like a chronic disease. As Recovery Answers explains, addiction and chronic disease share the following similarities:
- It is preventable
- It is treatable
- It changes biology
- If left untreated, it could last a lifetime
So yes, if you were to continue abusing substances, you may experience consequences much like a death sentence—in the literal sense through overdose or alcohol poisoning, but also in a figurative way through the death of a career, relationship or dream.
But you’re here. You’re still reading this article. And my hunch is that you really don’t want to continue on as you are. So let’s consider the huge element of hope that viewing addiction as a chronic disease brings:
Addiction is not a death sentence. It’s a treatable, manageable health issue.
And it really is! Yes, your biology and brain change as a result of addiction. But you can change them back. With the right treatment plan, you can detox from drugs and begin your journey toward recovery.
As with any other chronic disease, you’ll need to keep your health in mind as you make decisions big and small for years to come. But those years will be full of hope instead of heartache.
Try Removing Yourself From the Equation
Is it too late to get addiction help? If your answer is yes, if you’re feeling too far gone to make a change, if you size things up and find your prospects for recovery hopeless, it might be because you’re judging yourself too harshly.
When it comes to this idea, Psychologist Margeret Paul, Ph.D., says, “Generally, the hope of self-judgment is to protect against rejection and failure. The false beliefs are that “If I judge myself, then others won’t judge me and reject me. I can be safe from others’ judgment by judging myself first.”
Is this true for you? Is it possible that you’re hesitant to get help because you’re worried that treatment won’t work? Or perhaps you’re concerned about what others might say?
Remove yourself from the equation and ask the question again.
By this we mean, imagine that instead of you needing help it’s your mom, your son, your sister, your husband or your best friend. Would it be too late for them? Could it ever be too late for someone you love to get help for a drug or alcohol addiction?
Why or why not?
Sit with your answer. If it wouldn’t be too late for your loved one, why would it be too late for you? And if you feel it would be too late for them, consider why you feel the way you do. Sometimes it’s helpful for us to frame difficult decisions outside of ourselves to help us know what to do next.
Tackle Common Objections to Getting Addiction Help
If you’re human, we know what will happen as soon as you finish this piece. You’ll think to yourself, “That’s it. I’m going to do it! I’m going to get help for my addiction.” And then, just as soon as you commit, doubt will start rolling in.
That’s totally normal. We all do this. We do it about things as big as getting sober and about things as small as trying out a new hobby. Just the other day, I spent two hours searching for a pizza stone. I added one to my cart, finally, before exiting out of the internet altogether, closing my laptop and declaring, “I don’t have time to make pizza!”
All I’m saying is: let’s get the objections out of the way now.
Here are a few you might encounter in your own brain:
- I’m too old.
- I’m too far gone.
- I don’t know how to have fun without my substance(s) of choice.
- Addictions are forever. This one’s not going anywhere.
When these doubts pop up, we want you to be ready to take care of them before they take root. Are you ready for some fast facts?
- You’re not too old. A survey of 3,000+ adults in recovery started the climb from the bottom between the ages of 12 and 73. Yep. 73.
- You’re not too far gone. Your willingness, paired with the right treatment plan, is key.
- Using isn’t as fun as you think. Recovery Answers reports that the longer you drink or do drugs, the less a person enjoys them, and the more the body needs them.
- Overcoming addiction is possible. This is why an estimated 22 million American adults are in recovery right now—and this number keeps growing!
Regardless of your situation, there really is hope for a healthy future.
Consider This Hard Truth: Time Will Pass Regardless
Oh, man. If only we could talk through this part in person. The reality of this truth hits hard, doesn’t it?
No matter what choices you and I make today, the day will eventually move into tomorrow. And five years from now? Five years will come, whether we better ourselves or not.
You can spend the next few months getting help, overcoming your addiction and enjoying recovery. You can focus on the hope, life and joy that exists outside of drug and alcohol use.
Or you can continue life as it is now—maybe experiencing worse days along the way.
Regardless, time will pass.
And goodness, if only we could change our past, right? I wish you could. I wish I could. Thankfully, we can change our future. Just because I messed up this morning doesn’t mean I have to mess up again tomorrow. I can start fresh and new. And so can you.
While we’re on a roll here, let me also say: just because you slip up in the future doesn’t mean your entire future is ruined. You’re on a road to recovery, right? If you hit a bump, take a detour, you don’t have to keep driving in the wrong direction. You can always get back on the road.
Because time will pass, no matter what you do, you might as well be working to overcome your addiction.
Relationships Take Time to Rebuild. Why Not Start Now?
We weren’t meant to do life alone. We’re supposed to support one another, enjoy one another and build enriching and fulfilling relationships. But connections between family and friends often suffer when a person abuses drugs or alcohol.
Over time, addiction and the loss of relationships contribute to a downward spiral of sorts. It might look something like:
When I am alone, I use. When I use, my relationships endure more hardship, so I spend more time alone. When I am alone more, I use more.
While as Narconon points out, “recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does the repair of harmed and damaged relationships,” you can begin now to work toward healing.
And what might healing look like?
When I resolve to use less, I can begin making meaningful connections with others. When I make meaningful connections with others, my resolve to stay sober increases, and so does my trust in the help that others offer. When I trust others to help, I use less.
Your Substance Use Won’t Shock Professionals. That’s What They’re Here For
Doctors and therapists in the field of addiction have seen it all. And they’re still here, ready and willing to help people work through their struggles on the way to sobriety.
Your history won’t scare them. We promise. And, if they’re good at what they do, they won’t judge you for it either. So give yourself grace.
Research shows that factors like genetics, childhood trauma and early substance exposure make it more likely for a person to take on addiction and struggle to drop it.
That’s why professional help is key. You can choose from all kinds of treatment options, including therapy, a 12-step program, in-person or virtual residential, partial hospitalization or an intensive outpatient program.
No matter what path you choose, you’ll be working your way out of rock bottom. And for that, we applaud you!
Getting started late is better than never getting started at all. And it’s truly never too late to get addiction help. No matter what stage you are in your addiction, The Right Step Houston can help you find the right path back to a healthy life. Call us today at 844.768.0169.