Monthly Archives: June 2016

overcome hopelessness

How to Overcome the Feeling of Hopelessness

Feeling hopeless is something that almost every alcoholic or addict will experience at least once in their life, and it is a feeling that can be infectious to every part of a person’s being. While feeling hopeless, a person’s health can suffer as they no longer care about working out or their diet. It can affect their relationships as they slip into a depression, seeing only futility in their attempts to reach out to friends. It can affect their jobs as they no longer care about what the future holds. It can also increase the severity of their alcoholism or drug addiction as the person begins to see no point in attempting to moderate and so they drink or drug themselves into a constant stupor to try to avoid their pain. If left unchecked it can even lead to suicidal thoughts as the person suffering can see no way of getting out from under the weight of their feelings.

It is really less of a feeling than it is an overall pervasive state, like a black hole for the spirit, drawing any joy into its gravitational pull and obliterating it. As much as many of us alcoholics and addicts are familiar with the feeling, it can still be very confusing to experience, even being difficult to discern what exactly we feel it about. Psychology Professors Anthony Scioli and Henry Biller wrote a book, Hope in the Age of Anxiety, where they discuss just this. In the book Scioli and Biller state that there are 9 different types of hopelessness and they offer solutions for how a person can overcome such feelings.

The 9 Types of Hopelessness 

Scioli and Biller write that each of the 9 forms that stem from a disruption of one of the basic needs that a person requires in order to feel hope.

Alienation

This form stems from a feeling that the individual believes that they are different from other people and that they have been exiled in a sense,  deemed no longer worthy of love or support. The alienated tend to feel this way because they cannot see a future in which they are not cut off from others, which in turn causes them to close themselves off, causing further alienation.

Forsakenness

Forsakenness is similar to alienation except that the person experiencing this form believes they have been abandoned at their greatest time of need.

Uninspired

Feeling uninspired can cause similar despair in people, especially if they are in a job that does not fulfill their need to create. Likewise, creative individuals who experience writer’s blocker or some other form of creative un-inspiration can begin to feel despair, thinking that they will never get their creativity back.

Powerlessness

This category is interesting because it can be both the greatest liability and asset for the alcoholic or addict. An active alcoholic or addict who struggles with their powerlessness, in regards to drinking or drugging, will forever struggle with their addiction, but once the totality of their powerlessness becomes apparent to them, and they accept it, it becomes the bedrock on which their recovery is built.

Oppression

Feeling oppressed, whether that be racially, socially, or relationally, can lead a person to feel like they will never be able to overcome their obstacles. In fact, that is part of the goal of oppression, to have the oppressed participate in their oppression through acceptance of its credence. In a metaphorical way, this is what alcoholism and drug addiction does. It makes the alcoholic or drug addict participate in their own oppression, by making them believe either a) the oppression doesn’t exist, or b) it isn’t that bad.

Limitedness

When an individual believes that their own personal skills are limited, or that they do not have enough of what is needed in order to succeed, they can begin to feel hopeless.

Doom

People experiencing this form of despair usually believe that their lives are over and there is nothing they can do to save themselves. It arises many times with individuals who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

Captivity

For the sake of what we are discussing self-captivity or self-imprisonment can cause feelings of defeat and pessimism, in that a person will keep themselves in a relationship or situation longer than they should because their sense of self is wrapped up in that relationship or situation.

Helplessness

People who believe that they are helpless and vulnerable can begin to feel hopeless, as they see no way of defending themselves, either physically or emotionally from the world.

How to Overcome Hopelessness

For almost all of these forms of hopelessness the answer to overcoming them is the same, get outside of your own thoughts and take an accurate look at the situation. This, however, is not always easy and sometimes it requires asking for help and having the aid of others who can more accurately appraise our situation for us. For instance, if you are feeling alienated or forsake, you may want to start by thinking are these things really true? Has everyone truly abandoned you? Most of the time the answer to this will be no, but if even you find that it is true, you need to think, did you push these people away, and if so why did you do that? By taking a more accurate look at the situation and then moving towards remedying the thing that is causing these thoughts and feelings, you can restore hope and thereby remove your feelings of hopelessness.

The same thing goes for people feeling uninspired, oppressed, powerless, captive, or helpless. It is so easy to jump to the conclusion that how we currently feel is how we are always going to feel. When the feeling of hopelessness washes over us, it is almost as if it blinds us to the ability to see any solution to our problems, and so we begin to think that we will always feel these ways and never be able to change. Rarely in life is this actually the case. So once again, when hopeless feelings arise we must take a look at our lives, and see what it is we can change or what it is we must accept in order to overcome our feelings.

Seeking Treatment in Order to Overcome Hopelessness

If you are currently feeling any form of these feelings mentioned above due to your drug addiction or alcoholism, don’t despair because there is a multitude of help out there for you. Remember that you don’t ever again have to feel the way that you feel right now, so call Coastal Detox today at 1-866-802-6848, and allow our trained professionals to aid you in getting the help you need.

lies alcoholics tell themselves

Lies Addicts/Alcoholics Tell Themselves: Debunked!

A chief characteristic of someone in active addiction is lying. Many people who get sober describe how they were incapable of telling the truth, even when it would serve them better than the lie. These lies aided the person in being able to continue to operate in their addiction and get the things that they needed, and so to many lying becomes a survival mechanism that is not easily stamped out. However, for the alcoholic or the addict lying is not only manifest through the tales they tell other people but is also shown in their self-deception. This form of lying is perhaps the most difficult for an addict/alcoholic to overcome because it is formed in their mind, the same mind where their addiction resides. This makes being able to differentiate between the true and the false an almost impossible feat, especially while the addict or alcoholic is in active addiction.

The most interesting part about the self-deception attributed to an addict or alcoholic is that regardless of gender, ethnicity, or age, the lies are essentially the same. It is almost as if the alcoholic/addict is given an archetypal playbook by which to draw their denial from. Each person will tell you in earnest why they believe certain things and these conclusions are usually drawn completely apart from outside influences, yet they mimic the same exact lies that an addict on the opposite side of the world is telling themselves. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the most common lies that people in active addiction tell themselves, and why these things are categorically untrue.

Lies That Addicts/Alcoholics Tell Themselves

Lie: I am not hurting anyone besides myself.

Truth: This is a great lie that many alcoholics and addicts tell themselves in order to quell the guilt they feel for their actions. On a certain level, many people in active addiction are aware that this is not true, but its prevalence as a thought can continue even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. The reality is that alcoholism and addiction greatly affect the people surrounding the addict. Addiction is even described sometimes as a family disease because the people closest to the addict, usually the family, are even made sick by their proximity. All that a person would have to do is look to the fact that 12 step programs such as Al-Anon exist, in order to debunk this myth that they tell themselves.

Lie: I can control my drinking or drugging.

Truth: If you are an alcoholic or an addict then this is completely false. Yet, it is the greatest lie that the addict or alcoholic tells themselves. The disease of addiction is one of the only diseases on this planet to convince those afflicted with it that they don’t have it. The denial of the illness has resulted in the continued suffering and death of many people. Overcoming this lie is usually an extremely difficult task and it is why the 1st step in every 12 step program is contingent on the acceptance of the fact that control over substance use has been lost. Only once the addict or alcoholic has accepted this fact can recovery begin.

Lie: I tried the 12 Steps and they don’t work for me.

Truth: While Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous both assert that they do not have a monopoly on recovery, there has been little to no evidence proving that there is a more effective way of getting and maintain sobriety. That being said a majority of the people who say they have tried the 12 Steps and that they didn’t work them have actually never really given them a try. Many people have done the first 3 steps and then stopped, which usually resulted in their relapse. Many others did a 4th and 5th step, but without the level of honesty necessary to have it take hold, and so they relapsed. Others worked all of the steps but stopped doing the things they needed to do and so they relapsed, and to the addicted mind these things can be taken as a sign that the 12 steps do not work, but the reality is that this is not a reflection of the steps, but of the actions of the addict.

man staring and thinking

Lie: I am too terrible of a person. I am not worth saving.

Truth: This is probably the saddest lie that the alcoholic or addict tells themselves, and many people in active addiction believe this. There is so much guilt and shame that comes with being a drug addict or alcoholic and that shame can be overwhelming. After years of hurting others and themselves, many believe they are beyond saving and that they are just going to die addicted. This, however, is not the case and every single person afflicted with addiction or alcoholism is worth saving. This idea stems from another lie that alcoholics and addicts tell themselves which is that they are bad people and not sick people. Many people with addiction are extremely intelligent and thoughtful people, but because of their addiction they act in ways contrary to their nature. Understanding that they are sick and not bad will help with these feelings of guilt and allow the person afflicted with the disease be open to receiving the help that they need.

Lie: I can’t go to treatment or everyone will find out about my addiction.

Truth: Chances are everyone already knows. As great as alcoholics and addicts are at hiding what they are really up to, majority of people already know but just never broach the subject with them. Also, even if people were completely unaware that they suffered from addiction, many people will not react unfavorably to learning this. Most people on this planet know someone who suffers from addiction, so they will understand what you are going through, and if anything, commend you on your want to change.

Stop Lying to Yourself and Seek Treatment Today

If the only thing keeping you from seeking the help that you need is self-deception then hopefully the above information helped to clear this up. You no longer need to lie to yourself, you are worthy of being saved, and you absolutely can make the necessary changes in your life. Call Coastal Detox today at 1-866-802-6848, our trained professionals are standing by to help you find the recovery you need.

asking for help for alcoholism

Asking for Help: The Hardest Step

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
-T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot perfectly expresses the difficulty that we have with making a new beginning. There are often times that we know something in our lives needs to change, but in order for that change to occur we must be willing to give up something else up, because as he says, “what we call the beginning is often the end.” No matter what that thing is or how harmful it may be, letting go is often an exceedingly difficult task. Ending one thing to begin another means leaving the safety and comfort of the known for the unknown, and if human history has shown anything, it is that what people fear most is that which they do not know.

As with many things that plague the alcoholic or the addict, the difficulty with making a beginning is amplified. Alcoholics and addicts react against change in any form as if it is a life-threatening condition and their minds spring shut to the idea, circling the wagons of the psyche in order to protect the known. Breaking through this in order to make the changes necessary to their lives can be almost impossible, causing a great many addicts and alcoholics to follow the known all the way to their graves. To many on the outside looking in, this seems to be mere insanity, and to a certain degree it is, but to the alcoholic or addict, not changing or asking for help seems to be the most logical thing that they can do, and their mind will concur with this assumption, allowing them to remain so sick.

So why exactly is asking for help so difficult for the alcoholic or the addict? Why when they are faced with their own destruction do these often verbose peoples, find a lack of ability to communicate? There is not a singular answer to these questions, but the nature of alcoholism and addiction, the societal implications of being an addict, and the larger social implications of asking for help, can shed some light on this confounding predicament.

How the Nature of Addiction Stops People from Asking for Help

The illness of addiction is strange in that it tends to convince the person afflicted that it doesn’t exist. If someone is not aware that they are in trouble, then how could they possibly ask for help? The people around them see that their addiction has taken complete control of their lives and so to them they cannot understand why the person reacts so violently against the suggestion that they seek treatment. To the person with the addiction, their addiction is still controllable, because this is what their diseased mind tells them, and since there is a perceived measure of control, there is no reason to seek help.

Usually, before the person will ask for help, there needs to be an understanding that they have lost all control over their addiction. However, this understanding does not always mean that they will ask for help immediately after, and this is because addiction and alcoholism have numerous tricks up its sleeve in order to keep someone in active addiction. It can convince them that they cannot seek help because they are not worth it, or that no one will help them, or that the withdrawal symptoms will be too much, or what’s even worse that they are resigned to the life of an addict and they will die this way. All of this contends with the person’s ability to ask for help, making such a declaration exceedingly difficult. This is why usually people do not actually seek the help they need until their lives have become so unbearable that there is no longer an alternative.

asking for help quote

How the Societal Implications of Being an Addict or Alcoholic Keep People from Asking for Help

We have come a long way in this country in our understanding of what addiction and alcoholism truly is, but that being said, there is still a societal stigma attached to having the disease of addiction. When you tell someone that you don’t know that well that you are sober, they are usually happy for you, but in their eyes, there is a sort of sadness that sometimes appears, and this sadness is the result of an unknowing of what addiction truly is and what recovery truly means. For many people who need help, they are afraid of what their jobs, their families, or their friends and peers will think if they out themselves as an addict or alcoholic. The main logical fallacy with this line of thinking is that many people whom the addict thought they were fooling were extremely aware of what was going on.

This underlying fear of what society will think if they ask for help with their addiction is not always a conscious thought that the person suffering from addiction has, but most of the time it is present, and often it can keep someone sick longer than they need to be.

How the Social Implications of Asking for Help Can Keep Someone from Doing So

This is often not addressed in regards to why people, especially addicts and alcoholics, do not ask for help, but within our society, there is a push towards self-sufficiency, and asking for help is seen as a weakness. From an early age, we are sent mixed signals as to what asking for help means. On one hand in school, we are told to raise our hand if we do not know something or need extra help, but on the other hand, we know that if we do, we could open ourselves up for ridicule. This causes confusion as to whether or not we can safely ask for help, and our pride will mostly keep us silent when we should speak up. This results in the addict and alcoholic not asking for help, because on an either conscious or subconscious level, they are afraid that they will appear weak and that people will ridicule them.

Asking For Help and Seeking Treatment

The interesting thing about all of this is that once you take that first step and ask for help, you realize how all of your fears were not actually true, and even if any of them do come to fruition, it doesn’t affect you in the way you thought it would. So if you are on the fence as to whether or not you need to seek help for alcoholism or addiction, call Coastal Detox today at 1-866-802-6848. Our trained professionals are standing by, waiting to help you make a beginning and in doing so put an end to the harmful path that you were on.