I had a client who was overcoming addiction, in recovery from cocaine addiction. He explained that it had all started so well, with the occasional line of cocaine at the weekend. The drug gave him the ability to party a little bit longer and drink a little bit more. He noted that it was hard to explain how it went from that to sitting alone in his kitchen in the very early hours of a Thursday morning with a line of cocaine as his only companion, his ability to function and continue working in serious jeopardy. Moreover, he observed how addiction actually takes over everything.
It struck me that this was a great analogy for any addictive behaviour. Everything starts so innocently, we’re in control, and there is fun to have. And suddenly, it’s no longer so innocent, we’re no longer in control, and it is anything but fun. We can find it really hard to recognise when that shift happened, and it’s even harder to recognise that we need help.
Finding a reason to address addiction is like any change process. It has to start from within, no matter how many times people tell you that you need to change. It only happens when you are ready. In this client’s case, he really did hit rock-bottom. The Police found him sitting on a railway bridge. He was ready to jump, seeing no way out. He told me that suddenly becoming aware of the Police, their encouragement for him to move back from the edge, literal and metaphorical. In that moment, he said that he suddenly had thoughts of how he had reached this point, and what he would miss if he did actually jump.
Initially, he got very stuck on finding a way out of his addition. He’d previously been to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and he felt that neither at that time offered what he was looking for. Additionally, he’d also previously accessed a local drug treatment provider, and again he felt that they were not offering what he needed. He admitted that he knew what steps to take, and he knew what each of the providers would say.
Consequently, he was absolutely ruthless. He set his goals and milestones. Next, he worked out which people in his life added value and those who did not. He was acutely aware of how people, his fellow drug-users and party friends, could sabotage his progress, threatened by his progress and their inability to do the same. He accepted that he might lapse, and this would be an opportunity. Importantly, he took ownership and responsibility. Finally, he learned to celebrate his success. He regained control and learned from the setbacks. Above all else, he created the environment in which he knew he could maintain control.
It can always be a challenge. The important step is the first one. If you can take it, take it now. If you’re not sure or if you need help, book an initial consultation here. You know it makes sense, don’t you?