Hey guys, I know I normally write about technical pool stuff or things that I find humorous. Today I wanted to talk with you guys about something that isn’t filter or algaecide related and is definitely not funny. I want to talk to you about an illness that is treatable and a cause that is near to my heart. Today I want to talk about substance abuse. I’m not a doctor, but I am your friend, so keep in mind as you read this that it is me, Jules, that’s talking to you. If you are drowning in addiction: Reach out.
I know, like I said, far from my norm. The reality is that if this is something that you have gone through, you know the road to recovery is a long one. If this is something you are going through now, someone is waiting to walk that road with you, so you don’t have to go it alone.
Learn what to look for
Even if you are not using or recovering, even if you have never touched a drug or taken a drink in your life, the odds are that you know someone who may need help. You may even know someone that needs help that you are unaware of. Please don’t sell these folks short; they have an illness, they’re not stupid. These may very well be some of the most intelligent people you will ever meet.
Before I go on, regardless of your situation in this, I want you to know first and foremost that I love and respect you. I am here for you, and you can get through this. If you still think this one doesn’t apply to you after you’ve read through it, at least do me one favor. Learn what to look for. An individual with a substance abuse problem is not likely to be very open about it. It will often be something they are not proud of, or that beautiful person may not realize they need help.
Denying is Lying
Denial is a powerful and evil bastard who uses trickery and deceit to keep a person from seeing their situation clearly. Even then, a person admitting to themself that they have a problem takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage, and I know you have that in you.
But, saying it out loud to someone else after you’ve confessed and confided in yourself, it would seem easier to go three rounds with Tyson in his prime. That said, I need you to see what I see. I know you have what it takes to go the distance, and there are plenty of people that want to sit in your corner. Reach out.
When no one is watching
Substance abuse is the loneliest of all diseases. If it’s not bad enough, people have to go and attach a stigma to it, using terms like a junkie, drunk, and addict. Let’s squash that shit right off the bat. If you have an illness, you are struggling with, that illness does not define you. You are not an alcoholic; you still get to be you, but you are you with an illness, and you may need a little help to get well. Just remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness; asking for help is a humongous show of strength.
“Drug use is on the rise in this country, and 23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. That’s approximately one in every 10 Americans over the age of 12 – roughly equal to Texas’s entire population. But only 11 percent of those with an addiction receive treatment. It is staggering and unacceptable that so many Americans are living with untreated chronic disease and cannot access treatment,” said Dr. Kima Joy Taylor, director of the CATG Initiative.” (https://drugfree.org)
Drowning in Addiction
These are typically honest and hard-working people that have gone down the wrong path sometimes through no fault of their own. So don’t pass blame, don’t look down upon, you don’t know anything about anyone until you walk a mile. Trust me; it is not uncommon for a work-related injury to result in a prescription for pain meds.
Opioid use, commonly prescribed, even short term, can result in addiction. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, of the 31.9M people using illegal drugs (excluding tobacco and alcohol), prescription stimulants are in a tie with marijuana for most misused.
Help is waiting
You have to remember that no matter what, you have a family and friends who love you. Maybe a company instills their trust in you; you drive a car and possibly operate machinery. You interact with clients, customers, and strangers out and about daily. Just because we’ve been f**king up, it doesn’t mean that we are a f**k up. Everyone is entitled to a do-over or two. We start by helping ourselves, then we worry about fixing what we can fix.
Like I said above, You are a human being, a person who makes mistakes just like everybody else. The same holds for you just as it does for them; these do not define you. You can have a better life. I would be lying if I said it is going to be easy, but you got this. The first thing you need to do is admit that you are a person with a problem.
If your life has become unmanageable or is heading that way, reach out. When you find yourself saying that you are in control, reach out. If you are hiding your substance use or can’t face the day without it, reach out. You are risking your life daily. You are damaging your health. If you are reading this, you are a part of my life, which means that I care about you, so please, reach out.
You Are Not Alone
While millions of people suffer from addiction, millions of people have found a better solution. You have to find what works for you. Turning to God or a 12-step program are widespread and successful yielding methods. Find a preacher, a sponsor, or a program. You don’t have to be religious. The universe is bigger than you; even you can admit that.
When we rely on our own power, we create wreckage—both for ourselves and others. I bet you would be amazed at how many friends, co-workers, and even family members have struggled with something similar.
We Do Recover
While prepping for this article, I was flooded with success stories of people who had enough. They wanted a better way. Some have only been doing it a couple of months, some for decades. They all do it one day at a time. They don’t do it alone. The common thread is that they all humbled themselves, threw their ego out the window, and admitted that something had to change. The second commonality is that no one did it alone, so please, reach out.
There are a ton of resources available. There are church programs, 12-step meetings, rehabs (both in-patient and out-patient), counselors, and other support groups. Only you know the level of severity. Only you know what you feel least uncomfortable with. I say least uncomfortable because things are going to get REALLY uncomfortable, at least for a while.
Somebody does care; I care
But nothing compares to the discomfort of living in addiction. Over time you will add tools to your toolbox and find new and exciting ways to cope with life. You may stumble. You may backtrack. But you can get right back on the horse. All you really need is some humility, so please, Reach out.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please, please…take that first step. We don’t want to lose you. You don’t have to lose yourself. Not anymore; reach out, and you’ll see that there will be someone there.