Hitting bottom as an addict or alcoholic looks different for everyone. For some it’s a pile a shame and guilt. For others, it’s a bewildered state of, “how did I get here?” Bottom can always get worse, until it leads to death. Admitting that we have gotten close, that we have lost our ability to manage our own lives and the way that we are living by succumbing to addiction or other behavioral issues, is difficult. We feel embarrassed, pathetic, hopeless, and lost. We may feel pride, anger, or resentment as a cover up for these other feelings. Addiction as a choice or a disease can be endlessly debated but what cannot be argued is this: asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Rather, it demonstrates a remarkable amount of strength.
Courage is defined as “the ability to do something that frightens oneself” or having “strength in the face of pain or grief.” It may be hard to see at the time, but the minute you concede to the fight against controlling your ability to drink or use drugs, you do not show defeat, you show great victory.
Simply being able to think yourself that something isn’t right, or that something could be better, is the ability the definition of courage is referring to. Asking for help is frightening. We’re afraid of what family members or friends will say and what being labeled an “addict” or an “alcoholic” might mean in the eyes of a stigmatizing and shaming society. There is the frightening task of putting our lives back together and facing the demands we have run from for so long. Even recovery can be frightening. We have unlearned how to live in our drinking and using. Having to learn it all back without the support of drugs and alcohol is an intimidation only addicts and alcoholics know. Yet, still, this is courage.
Addiction and alcoholism are painful. Like being in an abusive relationship, no matter how much harm they bring to us or our lives, we go back for more with loyalty. As if they were a good friend, there is pain and grief in ending that relationship. For so long, substances have supplemented the empty parts of us that needed healing. Yet in our final moments before asking for help. we find the strength to walk away. That is courage.
If you are ready for help and want to transform your life, the Center for Life Change is here for you. Healing happens here. We believe in your courage and in you. Call 951-775-4000 today for more information.