Illegal drugs are some of the most dangerous substances in the country, not only because they can wreak havoc on your body, but because being in possession of these drugs can land you in jail.
Drugs are not inherently evil or twisted. There are many completely legal lifestyle choices that can cause just as much or more harm than an addiction to illegal drugs. But unlike many of these choices, illegal drugs will put you and everyone you love in harm’s way. That being said, addiction is not something you can fight against with guns and morals.
But you can treat it. With medicine, and a better understanding of the disease. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, then getting help immediately is your biggest priority. The sooner you tackle an addiction, the better your chances of coming out the other end completely clean and ready to stay sober for good. But the path to that point is not easy or straightforward.
Find a Doctor
There are many physicians in the US that specialize in treating patients struggling with addiction. Finding one near you should be your first step. A physician can take a close look at you to determine the best course of action – sometimes, addiction can leave a person sick and malnourished, or struggling with painful physical symptoms, including lesions from habitual scratching or damaged kidneys and liver.
No matter what you were addicted to, there is no law that states that people who are addicted must go to jail. As long as you are not high in public – where you might endanger others – drug use in and of itself is not illegal. The law prohibits the distribution or possession of certain narcotics, or illegal drugs, but if you go to a doctor admitting your addiction with no drugs on your person, you will not be charged with a crime.
Instead, you will be taken care of, and the physician responsible for your care will direct you to effective local resources to help you get on your feet, get completely clean, and stay sober for the long-term.
Visit a Treatment Center
Treatment centers or rehab centers specialize in addiction treatment, and they often help people go through the detoxification and withdrawal period of recovery. This is the early stage of recovery, often accompanied by discomfort and emotional turmoil. In a way, addiction lets you bottle up your feelings by feeding your habit whenever pain rears its head – during recovery, all that pressure is released, and it can be very difficult to deal with.
Most treatment centers give patients the option of choosing either inpatient or outpatient treatment, where inpatient treatment involves staying at the facility for a time, while outpatient treatment involves coming back regularly on scheduled dates and times while continuing a normal life.
Check into Sober Living
Sober living homes are different from treatment centers. While they also treat addiction, they do so primarily by creating a community for sober people to come together and live in. Sobriety is the main rule of a sober community, and so drugs are not allowed and strictly checked for. This removes all temptation from sober living homes.
Otherwise, they are often regular communities, except for a few rules meant to promote interaction between tenants and create a sense of community, social responsibility, and structure. Curfews and schedules are created, chores are handed out and responsibilities are divided, ensuring everyone has something to do, and time to spend as they please. Other onsite amenities are meant to promote the exploration of various hobbies, from sports to arts and anything else.
Visit Local Support Groups
Regardless of what kind of treatment you find most effective, all treatments eventually come to an end, and you’re back in the normal world, living a normal life – however, for many, the temptations always linger in the back of their minds, and the addiction is never completely gone, because the memories remain.
Local support groups are the perfect place to talk about those memories and remind each other regularly why addiction is not something you ever want to give into ever again.
Read Up on Addiction
Knowledge is power, and this is especially true in the conflict against addiction – the more you know about what addiction is and why it happens, the more you can use that information to dig deep within and figure out what you’re confronting. You can figure out how it all started, what it goes back to, and what you must change to make sure it all never happens again. You start to find ways to look ahead and see where you must go, rather than stumbling step by step, only ever seeing the next step.
There are two conflicting messages in a lot of content surrounding addiction recovery. One message is that you ultimately need to help yourself. The other is that you need help.
The two, however, are not mutually exclusive. There is a difference between helping yourself and asking others for help, but it is not one that makes the two diametrically oppose each other – rather, you need to incorporate both tasks into your life. Helping yourself means finding within that one great reason to stay sober. It does not have to be just one but starting with one is a good start.
On the other hand, leaving behind thoughts of pride and shame and simply recognizing that addiction is a disease that needs treating opens the way for professional help to have a serious impact in your life. After that, it becomes about learning to trust others and opening to them – whether they’re family or friends – to forge new bonds and create meaningful relationships that further feed the need to stay lean.
It’s a long journey, but it’s worth it. Addiction will rob you of everything you have and everything you are, if it is not stopped. There is no such thing as an addiction that did not eventually lead to tragedy, or recovery. Choose recovery, for your own sake and for those around you – and you will likely find yourself pleasantly surprised at what life still has in store for you.