Over 25 million people in the United States are currently suffering from some type of substance abuse, according to the latest government statistics. If you find yourself in that group, don’t panic, and don’t give up hope. No matter how bad your addiction is, you can embark on a new journey. You can find a new life that includes putting your substance abuse problems behind you, while at the same time, never forgetting that you were courageous enough to make positive changes.
But for many people with addictions, the scariest part is getting started. “Addiction isolates you, and makes you feel afraid and ashamed,” according to Marissa Abram, PhD, an assistant professor at Adelphi’s College of Nursing and Public Health. Her expertise in addiction and addiction treatment has led her to counsel many people who needed help. “I am always reminding people that they are not their addiction. It is a disease that is out of control, but it is a disease that can be treated,” she adds.
Having the confidence to start a new life is something that doesn’t come easy, especially when you have made poor choices in your past. But one secret to moving forward is to reach out and share your story with others. “It can be difficult to open up to others in your life about struggles with alcohol or drugs,” says Melissa Cyders, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. “For those that have supportive family and friends, telling another person is the first step in seeking out help. And for those without that support system in place, they should look for a local treatment center, support group or recovery group they could attend.” Cyders researches impulsivity and how its neurocognitive underpinnings impart risk for a wide range of clinical problems and disorders. Her work also focuses on long-term opioid use disorder recovery, and the stigma behind relapse as a failure rather than part of the recovery process.
Dr. Jean LaCour is a Wellness Warrior and global influencer in the area of addiction recovery. Over the past twenty years she has traveled to 24 nations and trained thousands of people who share a passion for relieving the suffering caused by addiction. She is also a consultant to the United Nations as well as a critical partner to the US State Department, and she offers some suggestions on how to take the pressure off, and take the first step on the road to your recovery: