Getting Help With Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is a tricky business. The balance of chemicals and receptors in the brain is drastically altered, thereby altering your thought process. The brain you once knew and loved takes on a personality of it’s own.
When I realized I’d become dependent on Lortab (an opiate containing hydrocodone), I should have sought help immediately. But I thought I could handle it on my own. Each day I would begin with a plan. I’d tell myself,
“I’m a pharmacist. I know how drugs work. I know I can do this on my own. Today I will take two every six hours. Then tomorrow I will cut down to one-and-a-half every six hours, and keep decreasing until I’m off of them completely.”
Then the next morning, I would tell myself the exact same thing, and I would start over again. And again, and again, and again. This is ridiculous! Why can’t I handle this? Nausea was my alarm clock. I woke up every morning needing Lortab. Every time I experienced any type of pain or stress, the first thing my brain went to was Lortab. It was the magic drug. It was the key to my normal. My brain transformed into The Beast.
Why Is Getting Help So Difficult?
Addiction permeates every facet of your life and causes you to avoid the path to recovery. The steps that must be taken to overcome addiction are too difficult for the addicted brain to take alone. It’s like telling yourself to stop breathing. You need help. Difficult? Absolutely. On your own, you always have the option to take a breath. When you ask for help, you’re giving someone else permission to suffocate you. But I promise it’s only temporary—you will breathe again.
How Do You Know When You’re Ready To Get Help?
I hate to point out the obvious, but you know I’m right: If you are reading this article for yourself, it’s time to get help. But if you want specifics, here’s a list of 10 ways to know you’re or are loved on are ready to address the problem of drug addiction:
1. You become panicked if you come close to running out of pills.
2. You make excuses to go out so you have the opportunity to pick up a prescription or your drug of choice without anyone’s knowledge.
3. You hide your drugs or alcohol so no one knows where it is, while maintaining easy access to it yourself.
4. Your drug of choice is at the forefront of your mind. Always.
5. You are always calling a doctor of some sort for a prescription.
6. You have lots of doctors.
7. You visit lots of pharmacies.
8. Nothing is fun anymore because everything is under the shadow of addiction.
9. You’re willing to try most anything to just feel free.
10. You’ve tried to quit taking anything, but you always fail.
If you can relate to two or more of these situations, it’s time to make a change.
Don’t Let Satan Get A Stronghold
When addiction takes control, Satan has a wide-open gate to enter and set up residence in your brain. He is the great justifier of all actions. He will provide you with excuses for the actions above to make you deny your addiction. The thoughts that you used to control now have a new pilot behind the wheel. And a sneaky one at that. If you do consider getting help, he will get inside your head and tell you all kinds of horrible things. Thinks like…
- No one will understand.
- Everyone will thing you’re weak.
- Friends will ever trust you again.
- Your husband will want a divorce.
- Your kids will be ashamed of you.
And the worst one of all…
- If God truly loves you, he wouldn’t have let you get into this mess in the first place.
Think about who you were before you fell into the trap of addiction. It’s hard to remember, I know. The altered brain you now live with can’t remember how you ever felt happy, energetic, or just plain normal without opiates in your life.
God remembers. He made you in his image and created you for a purpose.
Finding The Purpose Behind Drug Addiction
During my addiction, well-meaning advisors told me to pray and read my Bible. And just like you’re probably thinking now, “God” is the last thing you want to hear about. It’s the standard churchy, Christian answer letting them off the hook and making them feel better. But if you believe in an almighty God, creator of the universe, seeking him and his plan with your whole heart will place you on the path he has laid before you.
Bilbical Help For Drug Addiction
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
If you are like me—or just human for that matter—you’re asking God how he could allow you to go through this. “If you love me, then just take this pain away,” I would pray. God doesn’t promise us an easy life. But he also doesn’t create drug addicts. He gave us the freedom to make our own choices, and addiction can be a result of those choices.
It’s not an easy road to travel from addiction to sobriety. I have often used the word “normal” in describing my own freedom from addiction, but I am so much better than normal now. It’s only through the most difficult times we can see what true joy is and the power of God.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NIV
Suffering is a great teacher. You never know what you might learn when you work through it.
So What’s The First Step To Get Help With My Addiction?
Tell someone who cares about you. Chances are the person you decide to tell already knows and won’t be surprised. Once you tell someone you have a problem and need help, you are accountable for your actions and you become motivated to get on the road to recovery. Then begin your research process.
I would highly recommend a physician that can treat all of you, not just the addiction. Drug addiction often stems from some underlying source, not simply recreational use. Don’t choose the first physician you find. Read and get references if possible, and again, make sure they can treat the whole you, not just your addiction.
You are on a journey — possibly the most difficult of your life. Don’t let anyone tell you that addiction is impossible to overcome. I’m proof it’s completely possible. After all, with God, all things are possible.
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