Substance Abuse—The beginning, the middle, and the end.

Substance abuse is vicious.  Once it takes a hold of you, and you are addicted, it is one of the hardest things to break.   I’ve seen men, taller than myself, walk into my groups at the Pinellas County Jail weighing a mere 98 pounds.  These men said that they knew if they weren’t arrested, they would be dead.  I have had clients that I later found out, did not survive their battle with addiction. I have also had people in my office that decided they were ready to do whatever it took to overcome their personal struggles.

I started learning about substance abuse back in 1998, when I did undergraduate fieldwork at a residential facility.  At that time, I said that I could not work with substance abuse because of the low success rate.  Now, that is exactly why I need to work with anyone that is struggling with this disease.

I believe that substance abuse is a symptom of underlying problems.  It could be your family legacy that has followed you.  It could be that you have a diagnosis that you are trying to self medicate.  It could be that you do not feel comfortable with yourself, and it is how you found a way to, “fit in”.   There are so many reasons why, but what do you do to start to learn how to break the cycle?

Many of you most likely have heard that the first step is admitting it.  Whether you believe in AA and NA, The Twelve Steps, SMART Recovery, getting substance abuse counseling, or any other means of support;  please do not try to battle this on your own.  No matter what you’re trying to overcome,  support can help you.  Why not reach out?  There are so many things you can do,  and so many things you are capable of, but it does start with making a decision that you are done.  Nobody else can make that decision for you.  Are you ready to have the life you always wanted, but never thought you could have?  You can have that life.  What gives you a reason to try?  What is your why?

1. Admitting it.
2. Finding Support.
3. Finding your, "why".