One thing we always hear in recovery in the 12 steps is that the first step is admitting you have a problem, and that you are powerless over addiction.
Believe it or not, a lot of people have trouble accepting this. They think that they control whether or not they stay clean and sober, believing they do not need a sponsor or 12 step meetings.
For me, I never had a problem accepting this once I got clean and sober. My alcoholism had lasted two years, and I think in the back of my mind I knew I had a problem, but I just was not ready to admit it. As far as substance abuse, I had only been dealing with that for a matter of months, and I did think I could handle it while being in active addiction.
When I got clean and sober, I realized that no matter how many times I had told myself I would not use again, I could not stop. If I did not have the money to buy what I wanted, I somehow always managed to scrape some up. I was at the bottom of a pit, and I knew the only way I could get out was to seek help.
As addicts, we have to realize that we have a disease. We cannot just quit. This disease of obsession and compulsion takes over our lives, and we have to get help from someone or something.
The first step we should take is admitting we have a problem.
When I finally told my parents what I had been dealing with, I was told that rehab was the solution.
In my head, I thought I could go to rehab, get help for my substance abuse but still be able to drink socially like everyone else does.
What a fantasy that was.
As addicts, we are addicted to everything. So many people I went to rehab with completed treatment, thinking they could go out and still drink because they were addicted to heroin or methamphetamine.
The truth is, no matter what we were addicted to, we will always find a substitute if we have to.
If you are struggling with addiction and think that you can manage on your own without the help of a Higher Power, I’m sorry to say that you are not doing it right.
Hit up a 12 step meeting, find a sponsor and start doing the work of the program. Find a Higher Power.
A Higher Power can be anything you want it to be.
Generally, most people’s Higher Power is God. The truth is, we can have anything as our Higher Power. I know someone whose Higher Power is a tree.
Quite simply, we need something higher than ourselves, who we can surrender to and give control over our addiction.
No matter how many times you tell yourself that you do not need to reach out to anyone for help, you are going to keep using.
I know this to be the case for me and so many other people who have struggled with this disease.
Here is how I like to think about it. Let’s say that you were to break your leg. The pain is completely unbearable; you cannot walk to save your life and it is just pure chaos.
What would most people do in this situation?
That’s right, you would go to the local hospital or emergency room, they would put you in a cast and schedule you to have surgery to fix the broken bone.
With addiction, we have to face the fact that this is a continuous disease.
We will never be cured of it, but we can manage it. We just cannot manage it on our own.
If you are going through this, please ask for help.
I know that from my own situation, if I had reached out to someone much earlier, things could have possibly turned out somewhat differently.
I don’t want to see anyone succumb to this illness because they were stuck in the same deep pit that I was in and they did not ask for help.
I know that it is scary.
I was petrified to tell anyone, let alone my parents.
I did not even tell them until it got to the point that they were suspicious.
Please, don’t be like me.
Surrender to your addiction, tell someone what you are dealing with and seek a Higher Power to help you through this.
With that, you are well on your way.
Andrew Paisley is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]