How Did You Get Here?

You’ve reached a place where you never thought you would find yourself. From early childhood, people develop some idea of what their future lives will be like. They nurture vague concepts into concrete plans. Teenagers start to think about where they’ll go to college and the ideal person whom they’ll someday marry. Then something called addiction interrupts life. Nobody imagines that they’ll be looking for a drug addiction program and attending their first 12-step meeting.  Right about now, you’re probably shaking your head and wondering: How did I get here?

In a television commercial a few years back people were warned that something troublesome would happen to them during the day, like a parking ticket or a failed test.  Life doesn’t come with those warnings. You don’t put your shoes on in the morning thinking that today is the day you’ll have a horrible argument with your spouse or get into genuine trouble at work or hear from your doctor that your liver enzymes are elevated—all because you’ve been drinking or doing drugs.

The truth is that you stopped some time ago giving much thought to your hopes and dreams. Most of your activities these days revolve around your dependence on alcohol or drugs. You don’t really want to go to Cousin Marvin’s anniversary party, because they don’t drink and there won’t be alcohol. You don’t want to meet your friends at the Fall Festival because you’ll be too crashed out to get up that early.  When your addiction is running the show, you certainly don’t want to go to a drug addiction program.

The people in your life are probably pretty angry (and scared) with you right about now, urging you to find a drug addiction program that you’ll stick with, and it’s natural to go through some anger (and fear) of your own. In fact, if you’ve heard of the five stages of grief that affect people when a loved one dies, you’ll be experiencing those same feelings. They include denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, and depression.

You’ve probably already gone through the denial, the period of time when you said you didn’t need a drug addiction program because there are people out there who drink or use drugs way more than you. Then you began isolating yourself from others, maybe drinking secretly, because they’ve told you your addiction is out of control and you’re actually embarrassed about it.

Right about now the anger is kicking in, anger at your spouse, your boss, the judge you have to face, or the lawyer who can’t get you off. And as you begin getting help at a drug addiction program, and you meet a counselor who will help you explore what’s going on in your life, you may get angry at that person, too.

Then you’ll begin to bargain. Maybe you can’t have your bourbon anymore, but what’s wrong with a little weed or coke? No, addiction is addiction, and you’ve got to stop using all of those substances if you want your life back.

You’ll think you’re at the end when depression sinks in. How did you get here? What happened to the life you used to dream about? But as you go through the phases of treatment that your counselor will guide you through, you’ll reach yet another stage—acceptance. You’ll realize that your life has tumbled far off track and that there is a way back, by working a good recovery program. You’ll face some emotional upheaval that is completely normal as part of treatment in a good recovery program, but when you hear other people’s stories you’ll realize you aren’t alone.

So, instead of asking yourself how you got here, ask yourself “Where do I go from here?” You never expected a stop at Addiction Crossroads on your journey through life, but the treatment professionals at your local drug addiction (or recovery) program can help you regain control of your life.

There is a way back to happiness….