The First Step to Recovery
Stop trying to have control over everything. You don’t need to face every problem head-on or try to bend it to your will. Instead, take a step back and survey your life. Are you happy?
The moment you stop and take a breath is when you can start taking the first step to recovery. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) encourage those with a substance addiction to stop trying to control or battle every problem. Both programs follow the 12-Step Program. The program’s first step is to admit you have no control.
Step One: Admit You Are Powerless Over Substances — That Your Life is Unmanageable
Taking the first step is difficult. First, you must admit to yourself that your life is out of control. Substances harm more than your mind and body; they harm your friendships, family bonds, and professional life. Perhaps you internalized the chaos caused by your substance addiction. Although, the disorder will break you. The first step will help you begin to heal.
The Chaos of Addiction
When you begin the recovery process, you will first need to address why you started using a substance. Before that, though, you must recognize the chaos that surrounds you. At first, you may scoff at the idea that your life is chaotic because you think you have everything under control; you normalized chaos. Next, ask yourself if your substance addiction damages essential parts of your relationships or career. Finally, look at your financial well-being, your relationships, and your health.
The Financial Toll of Substances
When you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, you risk your financial well-being. One of the most common aspects of your financial stability is your job. The deeper you are in your addiction, the harder it is to uphold your professional responsibilities. Your tasks may be incomplete or poorly performed, or you may take an excessive amount of days off due to your substance use. Any of these circumstances can affect your employment status.
Substance addiction and those who supply you with your substances don’t care how much you earn; they care how much you use. Those who provide you with your substance care about their financial stability; the more you use, the more stability in their economic welfare.
Substance addiction can poison your relationships. Little white lies become more extensive, the need for secrecy increases, the fear of being discovered pushes you away from your loved ones, or you take what isn’t yours to pay for substances. Whatever your behaviors are, they are affecting how others interact with or view you. Some people will walk away from you because they can’t watch you spiral out of control. Other people can adapt to the chaos by taking on roles that can help them cope with your addiction. In the end, your relationships change.
Substance addiction hurts you, physically and mentally. The health issues that arise from substance addiction are vast and costly.
The following substance can cause these health issues:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Digestive problems
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum
- Prostate Cancer: males who start smoking marijuana at a young age are at a higher risk of an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
- Bladder cancer
- Mediastinum (the section of the body that includes the heart, thymus gland section of the esophagus) and trachea cancer
- Opiates can cause cancer of the:
- Oral cavity
Tips to Begin Step One
Admitting you are powerless is the beginning of your treatment process. Sometimes the best way to begin Step One is to enter a detox or substance addiction treatment center. Substance addiction treatment is a safe place to understand and accept your powerlessness and that your life is unmanageable. At some point or another, you are powerless and can’t manage everything, and Step One is a reminder that it’s okay to admit it.
Speak at a Meeting
Whatever type of group (open or closed) you attend, there is a time when you can share your story or speak. Speaking to others about your substance addiction is frightening, but you can do it, speak so others can learn and support you.
Reach Out for Support
Whenever you think you may relapse, talk with someone instead of falling into past behavior patterns. You will face the temptation to use; it’s normal. You shouldn’t be ashamed of the urge to pick up a substance again. Those in treatment and recovery understand how tempting it is to give in to your cravings.
Find a sponsor you are comfortable with and reach out to them when you think you may drink or use a substance.
Work With a Therapist
A part of Step One includes examining and understanding why you became addicted and how to use healthy coping skills to decrease your risk of relapse.
Tell Someone if You Relapse
Often, when you make a mistake, you feel ashamed and try to hide it. Instead of hiding your relapse and pretending everything is alright, reach out to your therapist or sponsor. Those who support you will help you find your back to recovery without judgment. Relapse is a part of recovery. You aren’t the first person to relapse, nor will you be the last person.
Review Step One
Take your time when you are working on Step One. There’s no rush. If you need to, go back to the first step whenever you need to work it again. The 12-Steps are fluid, and you decide when you are ready or need to work on a step.
The first step is the beginning of a new life, one in which you surrender control and allow yourself to heal. Don’t be afraid to admit you are powerless; it isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary, there is strength and courage in admitting you need help.
Too often, you hold onto things because you feel you need to control all aspects of your life. When you begin to admit you are powerless and your life is full of chaos, you can start to find peace in accepting you need help. You can receive substance addiction treatment by entering a detox or substance addiction program. While you are receiving treatment, work with your therapist to find manageable ways to cope with situations that can lead to substance abuse. Find healthy alternatives to substances and integrate them into your daily habits. Finally, review your progress and accept when you may need help or review Step One of the 12-Step Program. The detox program at Alta Centers of Los Angeles, California, can guide you in working on Step One. We understand your need to know who you are without substances. For more information, call us today at (888) 202-2583.