Struggling with a substance abuse problem is a challenge because it can take a long time to recognize that you have a problem. If you’re considering getting professional help, we’d recommend starting with a substance abuse evaluation in order to determine some next steps. You’ll begin a recovery process that will involve taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. However, here are some things you can do to prepare for the road ahead.
Take an Honest Assessment
Before you can do anything else, spend a few moments looking inward. Take an assessment of your life up to this point. This means being honest with yourself. You may already have broken through some of the layers of denial prior to this moment, but it’s important to enter recovery with an open mind and the willingness to change.
Remember that the point here is not to beat yourself up. Addiction is a disease with many consequences. If you’ve taken actions that make you feel ashamed, take a deep breath and remember that you’re beginning the process of making those things right. Honesty with yourself about your current way of living can go a long way towards setting up a smooth transition into recovery.
Be Prepared to Be Accountable With Others
While you were using drugs or alcohol, you weren’t yourself! We sometimes use the phrase “under foreign management” to describe this phenomenon. Regardless, you acted out of character and likely did many things you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Admitting that you acted inappropriately is one step in this process, but one of the most useful tools in a recovering person’s arsenal is to connect with others who are further along in the process and begin to develop accountability with them. This will be a critical portion of any good recovery program.
Maintain an Open Mind
At this point, you’re ready to begin the other steps. As you enter into your evaluation, treatment center, or 12-step meeting, keep an open mind. There are many suggestions given in recovery, some of which may seem illogical or unrelated at first. These can include drawing strength from a higher power of your choice, making amends for harms done in the past, or developing a habit of daily honesty with others.
Rest assured that all these suggestions have their place. Often, we don’t see the reasons for suggestions until after we’ve taken the action to change.
Once you get started with an addiction recovery program, you’ll find that you have more support than you expected. You can use the support of loved ones, counselors, and other recovering addicts to face the most challenging parts of your recovery. By the time you complete the program, you’ll have the skills, support, and strength you need to live a healthy, free, and clean life.