I got help for myself
"When I relapsed I figured, that's it. I was 'that guy.' I was ready to give up hope. Eventually I figured it out. I once heard someone say addiction is built like a layer cake, with issues below the surface that you gotta look at. Looking back now, sure enough, I'd been fighting like hell to avoid doing that."
to hell and back
Without knowing it, you likely interact with people every day who are themselves living/breathing success stories of recovery. Success is all around us.
Five such individuals sat down to share their stories, hoping that discussing their unique road to recovery might be of some encouragement to others ready to find a way out of the grip of addiction.
I still have spells where I just have to cry about it.
I wasn’t worth anything. I would constantly question, why am I here?
My success story happened…going to jail.
I would get high and fantasize what it would be like to be clean.
I figured, if I didn’t have insurance…I was gonna die an addict.
stigma got in my way
Besides nicotine, drugs, and alcohol, other common addictions include coffee or caffeine, gambling, anger as a coping strategy, food, technology, sex and work.
Substance use disorders impact whole families, work environments and friendships. They can occur regardless of age, gender, race, religion, background, or sexual orientation and affect people across the socioeconomic spectrum. Addiction can happen to good people. And often does.
Is it a choice?
On the surface, addiction might appear to be a simple choice of taking a drug or not taking a drug. We’ve all had something we've enjoyed doing but knew it was bad for us – whether it was too much food, too much alcohol or even spending too much time with people who were a bad influence on us. But we're not addicted to that behavior. With enough willpower, anyone who has a problem with alcohol or drugs should similarly be able to stop -- right?
Unfortunately, addiction isn’t as easy as putting down that bag of chips. When someone gets addicted to a substance, their brain changes. Their want for for the substance becomes a physical need, even if they intellectually understand they're hurting themselves.
Simply put, addiction is a disease that causes people to do something that harms their body because the "rewired" brain doesn't want them to stop.
Stigma and shame can play a huge role in avoiding help.
The best way to combat stigma and shame is by educating yourself about the causes of addiction, to move forward with knowledge and understanding. A substance abuse disorder is not a moral failure, it’s a treatable brain disorder and there is hope.
Guilt or embarrassment shouldn't be given the power to keep you from getting help. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battle a substance abuse disorder and about 38 percent have an illicit drug use disorder. If you feel alone and want to connect with others who are traveling a similar, familiar road, there are numerous free support groups specifically structured to offer unconditional support.
support was key
Staying the course isn't always easy. Support groups can serve as both a compass and a safe harbor. It's amazing how much you can learn about yourself when you hear and see pieces of your own story and struggle mirrored in the lives of others.
Each of the nonprofits below are fellowships or societies of men and women who meet regularly to share their experience, strength and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from their addiction.
Click on any group to learn more:
think you might need help?
There are a number of paths to finding the help you may need. Taking the first step can be --