I vividly remember the exact moment I decided that I’d had enough and needed to finally do something about it. You see, every addict and alcoholic has those "I've had enough" moments throughout their time using . Unfortunately, what it usually takes for us to reach out for help, and change the way we're living, is hitting our own personal bottom so hard, it feels like there's no other choice.
Reaching out for help and admitting you have a problem you can't handle has to come from a purely internal and genuine place, if you have any hopes of staying clean/sober for any significant amount of time. Though make no mistake about it -- every day that someone like me doesn't pick up a drink or a drug is a miracle.
I’ve seen too many loved ones try to force addicts and alcoholics to get their act together before they truly wanted to or were ready. No amount of love or number of ultimatums you give an addict or alcoholic ever works. If love was enough to keep someone clean, very few folks would ever die from the disease of alcoholism or addiction.
In October 2014, I was so sick of being sick, and so tired of being tired, that I literally found myself on my knees on my bedroom floor, screaming out for a God who I wasn't entirely sure I still believed in to help me. Nothing obnoxiously divine happened in the moments that followed, and I have no exact-moment-of-clarity story to wow you with. What I did do was make two phone calls to the only two people I knew who attended 12-step meetings. Come to think of it, at the time, they may have been two of the very few people I knew who were completely sober.
The first phone call was to a dear, close family member. While I won't pretend to recall the conversation word for word, I just remember crying harder than I had in a really long time, after years of numbing my feelings. I also remember her asking me what I thought was causing all the problems in my life and, for the first time ever, admitting out loud to another person it was drugs and alcohol.
A day or two later, I called someone I considered one of my best friends growing up, but who I had grown apart from, mainly because they got sober maybe a year or so before. A few days later, he picked up the phone and said, "So you're finally sick of the nonsense, huh?"
Truer words had never been spoken. I can still hear my friend saying them out loud for the first time. He ended up taking me to my first meeting. While I won't pretend that I've miraculously lived every day of my life clean and sober since, I can tell you with great certainty that this friend and that phone call, without a doubt, saved my life -- or at the very least gave me a shot at one worth living again.
If you're struggling, tell someone. Because, with great sadness, I tell you the very same friend who I just told you about made the decision to pick up again a few years back. He tragically overdosed and died on March 25, 2021. He was my best friend, and he left behind two children, including a baby boy who just turned 1 last weekend.
Reaching out for help might feel like the hardest thing you ever do, but not doing so might end up leaving your loved ones to go through the hardest thing they ever have to: losing someone they love to a needless, premature death, because of drugs or alcohol. People can't help you with a problem they don't know you have, or you won't admit to.
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