It Feels Like You’re Drowning
You took the first step. Then another, and another. A single choice led to more. Which gave way to a pattern. Then, before you knew it, you were well on your way. You’ve been on this path for a while now. This wasn’t what you wanted your life to be. You didn’t wake up one day and decide it. You found yourself swept away. In a current. You did your best to tread water. To keep yourself from going under. Seemed like everything you did just made it harder. Striving made you tired. Trying made you weak. Almost like it would be easier to just give up.
One Foot At A Time
Getting treatment requires you to leap. You’ll have to live in a new way. You’ll have to get familiar with what’s unknown. That can be terrifying. You’re unsure whether you can do it or not. That’s ok. Take a breath. It’s ok to be afraid of something you don’t know. You can’t be brave if you’re not afraid first. You’re putting things in order. Paving a new path. You may have taken the road into addiction step-by-step. You can take the road out the same way. One foot in front of the other.
Your decision to seek treatment deserves respect. Perhaps it feels like one of the hardest choices you’ve ever made. Rest assured, it’s ok to feel that way too. Your recovery deserves respect as well. You’re building a new life for yourself. Relying on total strangers with some of your life’s biggest problems requires a great deal of trust. You deserve to know that these strangers are who they say they are. How do you know that they are legitimate healthcare professionals? The Joint Commission (TJC) sets the standards for healthcare accreditation. That means they give doctors, therapists, nurses, counselors, and other healthcare providers the authority to help you. Double-checking helps protect you from those who don’t have your best interests in mind.
Addiction and Mental Health
Why do you use? To feel good. Or, at least, to feel “less bad.” People use substances because they want to feel better than they do right now. If a person is inclined toward melancholy, sadness, and depression, they might look to amphetamines to lift them out of that state. A person battling anxiety might want something to help them slow down, or chill out. This is where opiates and benzodiazepines appear attractive. But the addiction works like a fog, or a diversion. It masks the person’s genuine struggle. Just like the body, the mind can be wounded. It can get sick. It can even be injured. Addiction postpones our ability to heal the mind. More often than not, our addiction makes our existing mental illness worse. Take note: mental illness and addiction can trap you in a cycle. Your mental health suffers, so you use in order to feel better. But when the high wears off, you’re still suffering. So you use again. A proper treatment plan helps you get off this wretched cycle.
Addictions have underlying causes and contributing factors. Homelife, genetics, quality of relationships, trauma, you name it. A quality treatment plan not only addresses addiction, but also considers these variables. The point of treatment isn’t to be drug-free. Treatment doesn’t stop with sobriety. Rather, good treatment considers comprehensive health. It treats the person, not the addiction. To that end, look for a treatment program that caters to mental health. Those who struggle with substance use disorders likewise often suffer from mental illnesses. Mental illness and substance use influence one another. This is called a dual diagnosis, or a co-occurring disorder. You ought to look for a treatment plan that covers both problems. In this way, you’re recovering from multiple angles. Getting this kind of clarity early on provides an advantage on your recovery journey.
Benefits of Sober Living
Having a dual diagnosis moves your emotional set point. That means that the “normal” way you feel changes. Think of it this way. If you broke both of your legs, you wouldn’t want to put a cast on just one. You’d want both legs to heal together. As quickly as possible. A dual diagnosis works the same way. With both of your “legs” (mental health and sobriety) underneath you, you’ll be in a better place. Once there, you’ll be able to think more clearly. Your memory and concentration will improve. Using what you learn in your therapy sessions, you can strategize about your life. Reevaluate your relationships. Examine which ones will help your sobriety and which ones hurt it. Design a daily routine that will continue your success. You’ll be able to organize a life that will allow you to keep getting better.
Different people live in different circumstances. Treatment needs and experiences may differ from person to person. When looking into recovery, you’ll hear terms like partial hospitalization (PHP), inpatient program (IP), outpatient program (OP), and intensive outpatient program (IOP). No treatment option is better or worse than any other. Each treatment option offers a variable amount of personal freedom. Inpatient treatment is residential, which means you would essentially live at the treatment center. PHP is a step down; where those treated remain under care for a few hours a day 3-5 days a week. If your home life supports your recovery, then an IOP may suit you. IOP requires attendance to a few hours of therapy each week. OP and aftercare are further steps down, and provide the least oversight of your life and daily activities. Check with your insurance company to compare prices. More intensive treatment options tend to cost more.
Be an Advocate for Yourself. Ask Questions!
Be curious about your recovery and treatment. You have a right to know all the specifics of a recovery facility. You deserve to know who they are, what their credentials are, and how they can help you. If you’re unsure about something, then ask for an explanation. Ask “why” and “how” they do the things that they do. Any treatment center worth its salt will be completely transparent with you. If they aren’t, consider that a red flag.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and/or mental illness, call Recovery By The Sea now at 877-207-5033.