“When should I actually get around to finally giving an addiction helpline a call?”
It’s a simple enough question, but the range of possible answers can vary as widely as a person’s genetics, as diversely as their favorite Netflix series to binge-watch at the weekend, and, if the truth be told, who they even choose to fall in love with.
And why do people’s responses vary so much? It’s all about where you draw the line. What psychological, physical or social issues are you prepared to tolerate or to endure just so you can go drinking with your friends on a Saturday night, be the live-and-soul of the college party, or to carry on the way you always have, even though your wife or husband left you long ago, taking your kids with them?
It’s all about that line in the sand where enough is enough, and you say to yourself, “No more. I really can’t go on living like this” – and it is certainly not the line of the finest coke being cut by your best friend in some club’s toilets.
Or maybe… it is.
Substance use disorders (SUDs) will bring a whole host of problems to your door – psychological, physical, and social problems you never thought would happen to you. Substances are not “the quick fix,” you think they are (no stupid pun intended). Whatever your reason or issue for wanting to get drunk or high the night before is still going to be there, sitting at the end of your bed the next morning, and grinning, to itself and to you – probably.
Here’s an example. A little extreme, yes, but it’ll put all this into context…
This is you. You like to drink, to socialize, and to have a few, and you like the feeling of getting drunk. So, where’s your line going to be? In no particular order…
- Insulted a friend, and now they’re not talking to me
- Can’t remember getting home at all – a blackout, a complete loss of memory
- Woke up in the bed of a complete stranger – and, yes, I learned we had unprotected sex
- Woke up in the ER with no idea how I got here or why
- My drinking made me lose my job and now I can’t pay bills or rent
- My partner is threatening to leave me if I don’t get help for my drinking
You’re still thinking about it, aren’t you?
Writer’s Note: Personally, I’ve experienced them all, and I still continued my substance (alcohol and cocaine) abuse. However, thanks to a Pennsylvania drug rehab, I finally got clean and sober – a life, and a far better way of living it, that I’ve enjoyed for over 6 years now.
Here are 4 very common reasons why people call addiction helplines – they are examples of the psychological, physical, and social problems that substance abuse can bring down upon you, your family, your friends – your whole life, in fact.
Which one do you consider is stepping over the line for you? Or… are all of them?
1. The Risk-Taking
Risk-taking is often normal behavior for some teenagers, but for an adult, it can present many problems – unprotected sex, legal issues, ER admissions, the amount of substance they consume, and so on. Cemeteries are full of people who went too far and took a risk they didn’t need to, simply because they were drunk or high.
What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done? Be honest. Chances are, you were under the influence of substances. Is now the time to call an addiction helpline?
Psychological: The majority of substances will cause direct changes in a person’s mental state, predominantly in their mood and behavior, like taking unnecessary risks, and can result in anxiety and agitation, depression, and even signs of psychosis.
2. The Blackout
Blackouts are a common experience for the seasoned alcoholic. Too much alcohol, particularly if consumed rapidly, can produce partial (i.e., fragmentary) or complete (i.e., en bloc) blackouts – periods of memory loss for events that happened while a person was drinking or drunk.
Have you ever woken up with no idea about the night before? Is now the time to call an addiction helpline?
Physical: The health consequences of prolonged substance abuse will range from mild to fatal (yes – fatal), depending on how long the user has taken the substance, the amount taken, and the type of substance.
3. The Falling Finances
Substance abuse will lead you to change your priorities – that’s a fact. What once was important, eg. paying that bill or covering the month’s rent, will take a backseat to ensure you have enough cash for what is now important to you – drugs or Alcohol addiction or both. It may start off small, like putting off a bill until next month, but, slowly and surely, that will escalate. It’s the simple fact of life shown by the high number of drug addicts and alcoholics that live on the street – without a home, and without a family to take them in.
Have you ever skipped a bill or didn’t pay back a loan, or make the installment? Is now the time to call an addiction helpline?
Social: SUD will impact the way an individual interacts socially. Just ask the homeless guy sleeping in the storefront doorway.
4. The DUI Conviction
Substances empower you – well, that’s what you think anyway. In reality, they don’t… “Hey, I’m ok to drive!” Hmm… no, you are not. Substances, like alcohol and weed, will physically slow you down – your reactions and your cognitive ability, especially. And, as we know from above, it makes you engage in risky behavior.
Think of a road traffic accident. They happen to sober people too. Is now the time to call an addiction helpline?
Combined Effects: There is another group – a combination of the above, where the effects of a SUD combine to present you with even more issues and problems, like being convicted of DUI.
Make Your Own “Wake Up Call”…
Whatever your circumstances, if this article speaks a little reality to you, maybe it really is time to call an addiction helpline. It may be the best thing you’ve ever done. And, when all is said and done, what have you got to lose?