There is a moment when we all get a wake-up call when it comes to our health. For some of us, it’s rock bottom. It’s the bathroom floor at 4:00AM wondering when you agreed that your life was going to look this. It’s missed birthdays, missed appointments, and missed experiences. It’s experiences you don’t remember. It’s the look of resigned disappointment on the faces of your loved ones, of your friends, and of your family. It’s the shame, the sadness, and the sense of loss. Loss of your dreams, of your future, and of yourself.
It’s a million little moments that all lead to the one, unwavering truth of: I have to get clean.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. They don’t call it an addiction for nothing. While you know you have to quit (and we’re sure you’ve got your own reasons to want to quit), if you need a few more, here are seven reasons why you need to get clean and get healthy for your future:
- This addiction is terminal
No matter what way you cut it, the simple truth is that addiction is a chronic, progressive, and lethal affliction. Your addiction will get worse over time, not better. You won’t find yourself simply turning away on your own as the need naturally diminishes. That’s not how this beast works.
Instead, it gets worse. But sometimes we’re so deep into our own delusions that it’s hard to see that. If you need some visual proof, grab a pen and paper and write down the first you used and how old you were. Write down how much you used and how often you were using. Now, year by year, keep writing down how much and how often. Don’t omit things, as tempting as it may be, instead be brutally honest. See a pattern yet? Addiction only gets worse.
Your addiction will always lie to you. Your drive to continue using is a powerful thing, which is why you’ve definitely had moments when you started getting worried about your habits. Did you promise to stop? How did you justify it when you started again? When you used more? These are all the ways your addiction will lie to you and pull you back in. In the end, you will begin to face the physical consequences. Your organs will start to fail, your body deteriorates, and you start heading for zero.
- Being sober is easier
Did you scoff when you read that and think: “if it’s so easy, then how come everyone isn’t clean?” That’s simple. Getting sober is hard. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But being sober is loads easier.
Consider all the time, effort and mental energy you put into your addiction. You put more work into your addiction than you ever did into any job. You’re constantly wondering when you’re next going to get to use and how you’ll get it. How you’ll pay for it and how you’ll hide it. You have obscenely complex procedures to hide it from your family and your partners and your friends. For all that hard work, all you’re doing is making your dealer richer and killing yourself.
- You’ll be a better partner
Your addiction has probably ruined a few relationships by now. When you’re addicted, you behave in ways you never would sober. You steal and lie and cheat and act crazy. You’re unreliable and you start to feel unlovable. The crux of a lot of addictive personalities lies in their inability to feel worthy of love. We damage ourselves under the mistaken belief that we are stamping out some foul, unworthy thing, but all we’re really doing is hurting the people who love us. No matter what we tell ourselves or what wound we’re trying to fill with our addictions, the simple fact is that we are loved and we are failing the people who love us.
As an addict, you can’t be a good partner. Not only will you have minimal interest in sex, you’ll also be an unstable person to be around and you’ll be forcing your partner to watch you kill yourself. This isn’t only about your partner deserving better, it’s about you deserving better too. You deserve to be loved and to be in a stable, supportive and loving relationship. No matter how much money and time you pump into it, your addiction won’t love you back. And on that note…
- You’ll be a better parent
If you have kids, they are suffering. You may be unable to see this through the fog of your addiction; however, we can promise you it’s true. You may yell at them, ignore them, or forget them. You may forget to make them food, to pay the bills, to wake them up for school. You forget to listen to their successes and you’re unable to care about them. When you’re an addicted parent, you are taking away your child’s right to grow up in a safe, stable home. Children need consistency and they need discipline and they need a sober parent.
Children of addicts are twice as likely to become addicts themselves, meaning that you’re passing down this horrible affliction to your children by exposing them to it.
- You’ll get your self-esteem back
Many addicts suffer from very low self-esteem. They have feelings of worthlessness, or being unlovable or not good enough that is exacerbated by the knowledge that people are most likely talking about them and know about their addiction.
As addicts, we often try to delude ourselves into believing that we’ve successfully pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes and they have no idea that we are suffering from a serious addiction. However, most of the time that’s simply untrue. People notice and they talk, and for someone with low self-esteem that can feel downright catastrophic. So how do we deal? We say we don’t care and we keep feeding our addiction, but the simple truth is that we do care. We struggle everyday with our low self-esteem and with the knowledge that people are disappointed in us.When we quit our addictions, we take back control over people’s views of us and our view of ourselves. If you change your lifestyle, people will admire you and you will come to admire yourself as well. It takes courage to stand up to your addiction and people will see that.
- Your body will thank you
Admit it, most days you feel like crap. Your body is suffering. The effects of drug or alcohol addiction are myriad and serious. They weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to common illnesses, flus and colds. They overtax your heart and can lead to abnormal heart rates and heart attacks. They cause liver issues, kidney issues, stomach issues, and the list goes on. Also, they cause depression. Serious depression. For the brief moments of euphoria or freedom you’re provided, your addiction is dragging you down. In fact, 45% of userswith untreated substance abuse issues commit suicide.
Ultimately, your addiction is rewiring your brain. Drug use—whether it’s nicotine, cocaine, alcohol, or others—affects the “reward” circuit in the brain. This part of the limbic system will then cause huge amounts of dopamine to flood the system. This means that over time drug use actually alters brain chemistry and creates a series of behavioural problems, like paranoia, hallucinations, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, and loss of self-control.
By quitting, you will be able to reclaim control over your body and allow it to slowly begin the process of healing—both physically and mentally.
- You are here to do something better
Whether you believe in a higher power or not, this isn’t about that. What this is about is the waste of a good life. When you’re abusing, your life reflects that abuse. Your relationships collapse or become strained and fractured. You’re lonely and scared and sick all the time. You avoid your friends and you are ashamed. To live this way is to live half a life. Your life is a gift. We can’t know if we get anything other than this one chance to experience the world and feel joy and love. By being addicted, you waste this time. You waste the precious gift that is life. You are arresting yourself with your own addiction. Maybe you have children that are waiting to be born, or a soul mate waiting to meet you. Maybe you’re meant to write or create art. Or maybe, you’re just meant to live a long and happy life full of stability and peace. Your addiction is stealing your chance to have a good life and your chance to be something more. Isn’t it time to take back your life and get on the path to recovery with arcproject.org.uk? We hope it is, because your real life is out there waiting for you once you’ve cast off this disease and found the strength to move forward. There are people waiting for you on the other side.