I received a phone call from my dear friend and colleague Sammy this morning. He simply said, "I was thinking about you and wanted to tell you that I am proud of you and I love you." Through tears of gratitude, I realized how much a simple act of kindness can mean. Appreciation for others, spoken out loud, makes a difference. I turned around and passed it on by calling another dear friend. Thank you Sammy.
The Feeling of Hopelessness in Addiction
In the world of drug addiction, use and abuse, shame is the driving force behind continued use. A person suffering from a substance use disorder will oftentimes participate in behaviors driven by the addiction that leaves them with a feeling of shame and disgust. These repeated behaviors, day after day, create feelings of hopelessness and defeat. I may ask myself daily, "how can I break the cycle of addiction", or "how can I get help for my addiction?", or say, "I don't want to live this way anymore."
Asking for help, whether it's teen drug use, adult addiction, family dysfunction, or any other difficult issue, can seem like the hardest thing in the world to do. The Way Out is just one of many resources available when you are ready. Talk to your pastor, your friend, your local law enforcement, your doctor, family member, therapist, etc. , but talk to someone to start the recovery process.
The Rewards of Kind Actions
As we begin the recovery process from alcoholism or drug addiction, support from others and gentle guidance from addiction professionals makes all the difference. As we begin to participate in our lives with simple right actions like eating healthier meals, walking outdoors, making our beds, returning phone calls, opening the mail, gaining employment or showing up on time at school, etc. the shame of past living is replaced by feeling good about ourselves. Although the consequences of our past behaviors, and the threat of punishment can sometimes get us to the door of treatment, it is only the desire to participate and feel good about living that keep us in the recovery process.
And, a kind phone call from a dear friend reminds me of how grateful I am to not be "stuck" in the world of addiction, wishing I had a friend to call.