Shame, Addiction, and Asking For Help

It is not shameful or humiliating to reach out and ask for help – but it takes a great deal of courage.  It’s also not shameful to have an addiction, even if you feel that it is, or if other people tell you it is.  It’s something unfortunate that has happened to you for all sorts of reasons, some of which are not yet fully understood by researchers in this area of health.

We All Make Unwise Choices

Perhaps you did make unwise choices in the past, but we all do that, all the time.  Perhaps at that time, no one even realized that they were unwise choices – you just did what everyone else was doing.  But for anyone with an addiction, the difference for you, is that the consequences of what you did in the past have stolen away your present life – and your future as well, if you can’t manage to get help.

For most of us, our unwise choices remain safely buried in the past, and they don’t have such a devastating effect on our present and future.  If you have an addiction, you haven’t had the good luck the rest of us have had.  We’ve got away with our unwise choices, but unfortunately, yours have got hold of you, and won’t let go.

Simple things like having a regular drink with friends after work, or always spending 5 minutes at the Poker Machines before going home, are not usually dangerous for most of us.  For most of us, simple things like that are probably risky, but we get away with it, and we don’t turn into alcoholics or problem gamblers.  For some unfortunate people, such things can turn out to be life-changing decisions.

Addiction is an Illness

Developing an addiction does not mean you are ‘weak’ or ‘worse’ than anyone else – you’ve just developed an addiction, and like any other illness, it can be helped and treated if you can take the brave decision to reach out for help.

Even if you cannot see how your addiction could possibly be beaten from where you are in your life right now, reach out for help anyway, because there are people who can show you how this can be done, and help you to do it.

It’s never impossible to achieve Recovery – but it is hard, and you may have to have several attempts to achieve it, but that is not a sign of weakness or a reason to feel shame.  It’s a testament to the power of addiction.

Relapse Does Not = Failure

Even if you have relapsed back into addiction, you have not failed.  You are still further along the road to Recovery than you were when you first started this struggle.

Addiction is a mental disorder, not a moral one. Even if you feel it is shameful and people are telling you that it is shameful, they are wrong.  Deciding to reach out for help is a courageous act, not a shameful one.

For Information about International Help Lines, see: Who Do I Call?

For more information about the reasons for relapse see Why Does Rehab Sometimes Fail?

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