The decisions we make when life is easy are merely decisions. It is the decisions we make when we are in our darkest hour that determine who we are and what we are made of. Most people in active substance abuse wait until they hit “rock bottom” to make the decision to seek treatment, when they are at the end of their rope. Making the decision is difficult enough, but then we must also find the strength to change our lives and recover. How can we find the strength to change our life when we feel like we have nothing left?
The Will to Live
For some of us, our rock bottom deprives us of the will to live. For many of us, experiences like this teach us that we actually do have something to live for. What is it that is keeping us here? Or who is keeping us here? Rarely do people make the decision to seek treatment for themselves. Addiction has a way of damaging our self-esteem and leaving us with a distorted sense of self.
Often, our will to live is inspired by others. Sometimes, that inspiration comes from a judge, who orders us to enter rehab. Or the inspiration comes from well-meaning friends or family, who encourage us into treatment with an intervention. These opportunities are gifts for us, to help us get to a place where we can find our own reasons to live. If we are able to gather the strength and courage to truly look in the mirror, we may just find that we want this change for ourselves, too, and take the steps to learn how to beat addictions.
How Substance Abuse Affects Us
Substance abuse affects our entire being. Simply going “cold turkey” and abstaining from substances is not only incredibly difficult, particularly to maintain long term, but it can actually be physically dangerous with certain substances. It is important to realize some of the basic ways that substances impact us:
- Physically – dependency, withdrawal, short- and long-term health issues
- Mentally – dependency, changes in reward center of the brain, potential long-term damage to the brain, anxiety, depression, etc.
- Spiritually – self-esteem, empathy, compassion, etc.
Elevating Ourselves from Shame to Mercy
Behaviors and circumstances, stigma and other factors create a lot of shame for us when dealing with a substance use disorder. But there is no shame in asking for help to beat addictions. Substances are very powerful, and addiction has physical, mental and spiritual components that must all be healed for recovery to take place. Reaching out for help is an act of self-love, and we may find that those who are prepared to help us can offer us mercy from experience. This one simple act, asking for help, can elevate us from feelings of shame to showing ourselves mercy.
The strength that comes from healing is strength we already had within us. We survived substance use disorder and made it to this point because we have the strength and will to find out how to beat addictions. As we begin to heal, finding the strength that was hidden in active substance abuse, we can find purpose. Not only the will to live, but a new or improved purpose in our lives.
For some of us, that purpose will be to be a better person, family member, friend, partner, spouse, parent, or to be a better employee or employer. Others may find an altogether new purpose in life. Often, as we learn how to beat addictions, we find that we may want to help others in their recovery, or simply find a different calling in life as our purpose. As we gain purpose, our strength grows exponentially, and we can become strong enough to be that person we want to become.
Working to Heal from Addiction
Strength to heal also comes from being willing to do the work. Healing from addiction does not come easily; it requires a dedication to the cause. We must not only find our own will to live but ask for help and find our purpose. We must be willing to endure not only detox, but work to overcome every craving and side effect of our recovery. This is daily work, and requires physical, mental and spiritual strength. But we’ve got this. In coming from our darkest moments and choosing to heal, we uncover strength we may not have even realized we had.
When you think you’ve reached your lowest point, you have the opportunity to surprise yourself by making the best decision ever: asking for help to overcome substance abuse. Whether this decision was your idea or someone else’s, you have the opportunity to find strength within you that you never knew, as well as borrow strength and mercy from others. Entering treatment and learning how to beat addictions can change your life now and forever. At New Life, it is our goal to help you find your new life, the life that is free from addiction. Call our Maryland outpatient treatment program at (877) 929-2571 today. You have the power to change your life.