Feeling alone and isolated as never before, unable to make or keep connection with others? Unable to face yourself? There is hope.
Many of our addicted clients come to our offices with a long and complex history of failed relationships, jobs, friendships and marriages. How did it all start? When did it get out of control? Maybe you are asking yourself the same questions right now.
Addiction use started later in life for some. For others, it has felt like an ever-present force in their lives. Many people remember vividly when they got introduced to addiction, whether it was through friends or relatives, in their home or at school. It was electrifying, exciting, and terrifying all at once. The feeling of being out of control and full of shame was present almost at the beginning.
As time goes on, most of our clients experienced using more substance than they intended, spending longer periods of time pursuing drugs, and greater consequences each time they were caught – if they were caught.
Shame compounded. The more they used, the more worthless they felt.
Naturally, these feelings of worthlessness started to impact relationships and self-esteem – not noticeably at first, but it started to be the ‘elevator music’ of their lives, always on in the background and never quite as good as the real thing.
Isolation and emotional distance increase, especially right after a binge. Many addicts find themselves less comfortable in close relationships for several reasons. They are keeping secrets. They know that when they are discovered, things will get worse. It’s easier to pretend that things are normal than it is to admit that there is a problem.
Real people don’t compare with the relationship they have with drugs. Some people can get to a point where they actually prefer drugs and alcohol to real person-to-person interaction. Drugs are always there when you need them. They are always dependable. They will do what you want, when you want and how you want it. Relationships can be unstable and unmanageable. Relationships may fail you, or worse, abandon you. When you are in a committed relationship, these issues can be a big problem! Some addicts find themselves criticizing their partners or friends. They have a hard time feeling content in their relationships, if they are even capable of forming or maintaining relationships.
Eventually, it all comes crashing down.
Either a habit is discovered, paraphernalia is found, somebody walks in on you, you lose a job for not showing up at work, the lies get out of control, or you just realize you can’t keep living like this.
Discovery is often painful. Immense feelings of shame can arise, and partners can be very hurt. There are often huge amounts of discomfort for everyone who now knows.
“Do we have to talk about this?”
“What does this mean?”
“Is it all over now that someone else knows?”
With each discovery, most people will give the least amount of information they think they can get away with. They may swear to an employer, spouse, or themselves: “This is everything, it doesn’t go any further than this.”
In Alcoholics Anonymous, the saying goes, “You are only as sick as your secrets.” Most addicts come to the point over and over where they get caught using or realize they can’t keep living like they have been only to get swept up in another cycle. When they are serious about quitting, they get help. Realizing that their own best thinking got them to where they are, they reach out for support. You can too.
When you call us for help, we will work to immediately start understanding your specific needs and challenges. You’ll connect with a member of our team who is best equipped to help you. Showing up for therapy the first time will be nerve wracking, but you’ll be in a place that’s comfortable for you as you join us online.
You will start learning about the cycles of addiction and the specific ways that addiction affects your brain. We will target skills and insights that will quickly help to move you in the direction that you are wanting to go. As you get more stable in sobriety, we will help you peel back the “layers of the onion.” You will start to understand why you have been addicted. Your life will start to change. You will feel differently about your relationships, your work, and yourself.
There are a lot of resources out there for overcoming addiction. It is important to know that the road to recovery and wholehearted living is very individual. There is no one way to get out of the deep dark abyss of addiction. With us, you will find several approaches to overcoming addiction. First and foremost, we want you to know that the opposite of addiction is connection, not sobriety. So many people go through a program and continue to identify as an addict, but the reality is that addiction is only a part of your life. There are several other aspects of life, and sometimes they are overshadowed by the addiction - it seems too oppressive and overwhelming.
Learning to connect with yourself or being able to bear being present in your own life is hard work. There is also the need to realize that you cannot do recovery work on your own. You will discover how essential a support network is to aid you in recovery. So not only do we have to learn to connect with ourselves, we also have to learn how to connect to others in a very deep, vulnerable, authentic, and intentional way. These things are difficult but worth the work. You can take the first step today by reaching out to us.
If you liked this article, you might also like this first-person perspective from David about facing the truth in our healing path.