First of all, I’d like to congratulate you! Surprised? Just knowing that you have a drug problem is the first step on your road to recovery. Most drug abusers and addicts are in denial. Either they think that they aren’t addicts, say that they ‘use’ but don’t abuse drugs, or they believe that their habit isn’t a problem.

The fact that you’re wondering what you should do next is positive too. You have to take the next steps as soon as possible. What should these be?

Don’t try to go it alone

Quitting drugs on your own is extremely difficult. It’s not impossible, but the chances of falling back into your old ways with potentially fatal consequences is much greater. You can also suffer physical symptoms during withdrawal and even die.

See a doctor and talk to your family as soon as possible

Don’t put it off. A doctor will be able to tell you whether you need inpatient care or whether you can get by with outpatient treatment and counselling. Don’t chicken out. Your life may depend on it. If you find your doctor intimidating, you can get in touch with drug rehabilitation experts who’ve seen it all and get their advice about a medical consultation.

Tell your loved ones what’s going on

If you are underage, you will want to talk to your parents or some other adult whom you trust. If you’re an adult, you will have to come clean with your family and tell them what you’re doing. The support of those who are close to you can make your recovery a whole lot easier.

You may find that they aren’t surprised, even if you’ve kept your habit a secret. They will have seen behavioural changes and they may have expressed their concern in the past. Although telling those close to you about your drug habit is difficult, you need to take this step. Talk to a counsellor if you aren’t sure how to go about it.

Start your treatment program

If you’re an inpatient, you’ll have help and supervision every step of the way. If you aren’t, be sure that you do everything that your doctor and counsellor recommend. And if that isn’t working for you, consider going for inpatient treatment – it may sound like the ‘difficult’ option, but actually, it’s a whole lot easier.

As an inpatient, you’ll get more than just medical attention. You’ll also get a whole lot of support covering everything from group therapy to family counselling. Treatment methods for substance abuse and addiction should cover every aspect of your life: mind, body and soul.

You may be worried about the word getting out. Will it damage your career? Your reputation? Read my blog about the myths and misconceptions that surround telling your employer about what you’re doing.

If you’re still worried, you can choose the option of non-disclosure. After all, your medical matters are confidential, and you don’t have to tell your employer about them.

Follow through

Kicking the habit is hard enough, but even after you’ve stopped, you will be confronted with temptation.

Use every resource at your disposal to stay on the straight and narrow. If you do backslide, be honest with your counsellor about what happened. You may be feeling ashamed of yourself, but hiding your problem can put you back in the same position you were in when you started out.

Remember, you’re not quitting for the sake of your counsellor, or even your family. You’re doing this for you, and it’s one of the best things you will ever do for yourself in your life. It may not feel like it at the time, but in future years, you’ll look back on this time and be glad that you took positive action.

“I have a problem” is the beginning of a difficult but positive journey

I’m not going to pretend that you’re going to have an easy time, but I will guarantee that you won’t regret choosing to take action. And I’m not talking about something I don’t know about either. I’ve been through the whole process myself.

When the going gets tough, remind yourself about why you’ve chosen this route. There are many reasons, but one or more of these could fit you:

  • I want to have a long, healthy life.
  • I want to fulfil my potential and be my best.
  • I want to achieve real happiness.
  • I want to stop hurting myself and others.
  • I want to be in control of my own life.
  • I want to be free.

Think about it. You can probably add to this list. What matters to you? Keep your goal in sight and never give up on giving up.