In moderation, a glass of wine is a great way to unwind from a long stressful day. An ice-cold beer at a barbeque can be a conversation starter. A hot toddy will warm your insides on a cold winter day. Social gatherings are built around good food and good drink.
But what happens when you build a lifestyle around substance?
Instead of having one drink at dinner, you’re having three. Your weekends turn into a two-day drinking binge. Your New Year’s cocaine habit escalates to weekend use and then mid-weekly. The marijuana you smoked as a teenager is now an ounce a week habit. The Oxycodone you were prescribed ran out, and now you’re buying heroin off the street.
You can’t keep up with the lies you’re telling people. The consequences of your actions are adding up. You’re financially strapped, and your job, marriage, and health are falling apart. The message you’re getting is loud and clear. It’s time to clean up your act. But still, you hesitate. You’re not sure if you’re ready to get sober. You don’t know how you will cope. You have a million reasons why you don’t think you can. But here are five reasons why you should.
1) You’re dying.
Addiction is a chronic, progressive, and terminal illness. It gets worse, not better, over time. Because one of the essential symptoms is delusion, you may deny the negative impact on your life. Some of us need visual proof. To help you with this, grab a handful of paper and a pencil. Jot down the first time you used a substance, how old you were, what you were using, and how often you used it. Go year by year, starting from then, all the way to now. Be thorough. Don’t omit anything. Think back to the times you’ve felt concerned about your using habits. Did you promise to stop? What did you tell yourself when you started again? Those excuses are how your addiction speaks to you. They become the way you live, think, and behave. Left unchecked, you become your addiction. Your body deteriorates, your organs fail, and you live a miserable, hopeless existence.
2) You were brought here to do better things.
When you’re abusing a substance, your life reflects it. Your relationships are strained. You avoid people. You live with unbearable shame, and you feel disconnected from everyone around you. As strange as it sounds, you may have been gifted with addiction for reasons that are beyond you. We all have a purpose. What if sharing your experience with other struggling addicts is yours? Perhaps you were meant to work in the field of addiction or write books on the subject. Maybe your soul mate is out there waiting for you, and he/she is a recovering addict. You might have children waiting to be born. Recovering from addiction offers you endless possibilities and the resources and support to do it.
3) It’s easier to live sober than exist in the hopelessness of addiction.
Think about all the energy it takes to maintain your addiction. It’s a 24/7 job. Unlike other jobs, this one doesn’t pay you. For all your hard work, you’re only fattening the wallet of your dealer. Your wallet remains empty, but that’s not all. Every time you pick up, you poke another little hole in your soul. One day you’ll look in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back. Your eyes will be dull, flat, and lifeless. Although you go through the motions you don’t feel anything. I refer to this as the dead man walking stage.
4) It’s time to grow up.
Let’s face it. You ingest because you’re afraid. With your crutch, you can almost feel normal. At least you could in the beginning. Now it doesn’t work the same way. It takes more drugs/alcohol to give you the same effect. The scales have tipped. Where once you could control your usage, now it controls you. Addiction takes away everything important to you. It doesn’t just affect you either; it’s devastating your family. Addiction is a selfish, me, me, and me, disease. So please quit hurting yourself and everyone around you and get help.
5) People will admire you, and you’ll feel better too.
You might wonder if people are talking about you. We, addicts, tend to delude ourselves into thinking we’re hiding our usage, except when that nagging little voice kicks in and whispers, everyone knows. That voice is your conscience. It’s telling you the truth. Chances are, everyone does know. The people who care about you will address their concerns with you. Others may not want to upset you, or they might have the same issue themselves. Either way, if you change your lifestyle, you’ll be admired. It takes courage to stand and deal. But more importantly, you’ll be proud of yourself.
If you’re tired of being sick, you don’t have to wake up tomorrow morning and hurt everyone you love. You can feel amazing and happy without drugs and alcohol. To change direction, all you have to do is reach out and ask for help. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe you can or how many times you’ve tried before. There’s only one way you can fail at recovery, and that’s when you quit trying.