What Did It Take for Some People in Recovery to Seek Help?

According to a survey by the partnership at and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, 1 out of 10 adults in the U.S. have considered themselves in recovery at some point. The question asked in the survey was simple enough: “Did you once have a problem with drugs or alcohol, but no longer do?”

Of the 2526 people queried, 12% of men said they were currently in recovery for drugs or alcohol and 7% of the women said they were in recovery. Not surprisingly, more people aged 35-44 reported being in recovery than those 18-34; but shockingly, those 55 and up also fell below those in the 35-44 age brackets.

What did it take for those people in recovery to seek help? In a series of interviews with recovering individuals, one of the overwhelming responses presented was: “I knew I was ready when I wanted to help someone else get sober.” The other overwhelming response was that they felt ready when they were abandoned by someone who meant everything to them. Sometimes it was a significant other; other times a parent or sibling. The relationship was ripped out from under their feet as their loved one could no longer bear to watch the devastating effects of the disease of addiction. Spouses, children, and parents who witness a family member struggling with addiction, experience emotional damage, as well as financial, legal, medical, and other consequences which eventually forces them to take action.

The majority of family members attending Families Anonymous (a support group for families of individuals struggling with addiction and mental health disorders) admit that the healing start when finally they decided to stop “helping” their loved one and “cut the cord”. For most individuals who are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, when they see the road ending, and the relationship being over, they make the decision to get help and start seriously thinking about making changes, often getting rehab through addiction treatment programs. While the wake-up call that spurs the decision to get help and enroll in an addiction treatment program isn’t the same for everyone, generally losing something that can’t be replaced, like the relationship with a loved one, can be the trigger to seek help. The loss can be strong enough to provide the long term motivation to follow through and fight for recovery.

Recovery is taking one step forward, then another, and another…, while adding to the successful steps along the way. Unless something changes, nothing changes. It takes a transformation of thinking, a willingness to accept powerlessness over alcohol and drugs and accept the help of others. If one falters and falls while on the road to recovery, standing back up and making the next decision better is the only option. With motivation, determination, a strong support group and a treatment plan based on the individual’s particular needs, we believe “the warrior” will have, with him or her, the fighting arsenal to fight it through. RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE.

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