If you are wrestling with the idea that you need help overcoming your addiction—either from drugs, alcoholism, pornography, gambling, an eating disorder, or other psychological dependency—it is likely that this is not a new idea to you. I had enough evidence to be convinced (in moments of clarity) that I was an alcoholic and drug addict years before I sought help. The problem was I was so entrenched in my addiction and so dependent upon the daily relief that drugs and alcohol provided me, that I could not foresee a life without it. Thanks to God, things had gotten bad enough that I was willing to take a chance. (I wasn’t thanking God at the time. In fact, I was very angry at God.) You are not alone.
Here are some suggestions as you begin the process of addiction recovery:
- Tell those close to you that you need help. Chances are good that they already see that there is a problem going on. They have likely made attempts to help, but found them futile unless you’re looking to help yourself. This is a very painful process for those that love you, so proceed with the understanding and humility that your addiction has had an effect on their lives. Reaching out is a great way to begin dialogue and accountability. Making a commitment to maintain contact, either in person or over the phone, is a good way to invite them to be a part of the solution while keeping yourself on course. Be aware, this kind of vulnerability will not be easy if you have made it a habit of hiding the hurt that you’ve been carrying around for a long time.
- Find someone who is in recovery for a similar addiction. This is crucial. You will not be able to do it alone. If you are, I applaud you. However, the foundation of spiritual growth rests upon unity. This does not necessarily have to be someone already close to you. In fact, there are benefits of finding a person who has found healing from your addiction that is someone who does not already know you well. They may be easier to confide in and offer an objective viewpoint.
- Pray and ask others to pray for you. This may be new as well. You may only be armed with the prayers you memorized in your childhood. That’s okay. Two of the best prayers go something like this: “God, help” and “Thank you, God.” You can find a list of prayers here to begin your journey with, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to say the right things. Simply converse with God and share with Him where you’re at. Ask for willingness and guidance if you aren’t finding any. Furthermore, opening dialogue around prayer with those close to you can initiate discussions centered on God that you may have never had before. It’s a very safe way to ask for help, and the prayers of others can do miraculous things through the grace of God.
- Identify obstacles in your life that may cause you to revert back to old habits. This may include places, people, or stimuli that bring about temptation. These things or people are not inherently evil, but at this stage of the game it’s important to set up boundaries for yourself. Sometimes sounds or smells can bring about the urge to use or act out again. Of course, we can’t live in a bubble to keep us free from all temptation, but communicating with others and having someone you can call in those instances can help you get through difficult moments.
- Set reasonable expectations for yourself. You do not need to tackle everything at once. Think of your journey as peeling away the layers of an onion—it may smell at times and may provoke some tears in the process. More will be revealed, but you can only focus on what is in front of you. Be patient with yourself, and know that God can and will aid you through the turbulence if you ask Him to. Also, stay focused on today. Yesterday is behind you and tomorrow is only a vison. Each day, well lived, will provide freedom from the wreckage of yesterday and hope for what may come tomorrow. 24 hours free from your addiction is a huge success, and something that you can certainly do!
Of course, there are many other integral aspects of recovery that can be included here, but this is a solid start. What are some other ways that you’ve found help getting through some of your darkest moments? Please share in the comments below!