When a person struggling with any kind of addiction first turns to recovery it’s usually because they have hit some kind of bottom. Something has happened in their life to wake them from their addictive ways.
Sometimes that bottom is the loss of a job, being broke, being hospitalized, or being arrested or imprisoned.
Sometimes it’s the threat of or loss of relationships, property, or love. Whatever brings a person to recovery, they face a road that is more than just unknown: It looks like Mt. Everest with expanses of sheer cliffs. Not only difficult to climb and full of hidden pitfalls, but if you slip, that’s a long way to fall.
One of the major issues for those seeking recovery from addiction is the deep feelings of shame and embarrassment they have. Shame because they are addicted and just can’t stop, shame caused by things they’ve done, and the initial shame stemming sometimes from childhood, that they are unworthy, unlovable, and no good.
Facing this shame head on sends many addicts running back to their addictive behaviors, it’s not easy to look at our problems head on, many of them are just too painful. But facing that shame is the beginning of the climb.
There’s also a lot of confusion in early recovery. How did I get here? How did something fun turn into such a problem? How will anyone ever love me now? Can I stay sober?
All of these questions add to that mountain. The confusion, the shame, they become the insurmountable cliff that addicts facing recovery build in their minds. Combine this with the cravings, the ignorance of how to deal with stress and pain without the substance of choice, and the pressure coming from family, colleagues, peers and loved ones to get better… It’s no wonder many addicts feel they can’t do it; they can’t stay in recovery.
But it doesn’t have to be Mt. Everest. Recovery doesn’t have to be this scary!
This is why there are support groups, 12 step recovery programs, and many helpful resources. Believe it or not, there are many others just like you who have been where you’ve been and have found their way out. Let them help you find your way. Let them make your path to the top a hike rather than an expedition. There will always be the chance of falling, but these people will have your life line, they’ll catch you and help you catch back up.