If you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, reaching out for help can be hard. You’ve probably tried several times to handle this by yourself, but the problem is just too big to tackle without help. The phone seems impossible to pick up and you don’t want to burden your close friends and family members with your problems. Keeping the details of your illness private is also important, as you don’t want people you know talking bad about you and your family.
Who do you ask for help to find sobriety? When you are ready to seek help for your addiction, here are some ways to reach out:
Medical professionals are trained to deal with addiction and will keep the information you share confidential. They can offer a listening ear and provide recommendations for treatment. Don’t be embarrassed about your story, as they have heard it all, and there is nothing shameful about addiction. It is a medically recognized disease and treatment is effective and available. Be honest with your doctor about how you are feeling and what has been going on, as this is the first step to dealing with your problem.
If you prefer a more anonymous way to reach out, you can contact hotlines or other emergency resources online. If you are in a medical crisis, you need to call 911 and get help immediately. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has an emergency number for those suffering from mental or substance abuse issues that is available 24/7 and 365 days a year (800-662-HELP). Or you can text an international crisis line. Look online for other local resources such as hotlines or mental health resources.
Sometimes writing things down can be easier than talking to someone face to face. Write your struggles in a letter or an email to a friend or loved one, then send it or leave it where they can find it. Organizing your thoughts and getting your struggles down on paper can be a relief. Knowing that someone else shares in your problems can assist you in making the decision to get help. Keeping everything a secret only makes us sicker. Sometimes the act of sending something takes the solution out of our hands, and that can be a relief.
Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or acquaintance, someone who will keep things confidential. Sharing your problems makes them lighter, and another person may know about options you can’t see right now. You never know when the person you share with might have struggled with the same issues. Or you may want to try talking to your employer’s Human Resources department. Many companies offer addiction treatment to their employees as part of their benefits package.
Look up Alcoholics Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous online and find a local meeting to attend. There are also online or phone meetings available if you can’t get out. You will find people in these groups who have been where you are and can help you find your next steps. In hearing others talk about their addictions you will learn that you are not alone and that many have gone before you. Seek out those who have what you want and ask them how to get it.
Find a treatment facility near you and ask for help. Treatment centers can offer medical treatment for withdrawal, counseling, nutrition, exercise, education, and a chance to restart your life sober or clean. Most accept health insurance, so your cost will be minimal.
Whatever you choose to do, the key is to do something. One movement towards seeking a healthier life is a giant step in your recovery. Addiction is not a lack of willpower or a sign that you are a bad person. It is a medical illness and nothing to be ashamed of. Treatment is possible, but no one will get you there or do the work except yourself. Reach out, in any way you can.