When is the right time to get help for drug and alcohol problems?

I used to ask myself this question a lot. Is my problem bad enough yet? Getting sober felt like a ridiculously big change – way too much. What I learned is, it’s all about the “yets”.

I figured, I haven’t had any trouble with the law yet, I haven’t had any medical problems yet, I haven’t been injured or had a car accident yet, I haven’t been fired at work or had any big problems with my family yet. These are the signs that my problem really is bad enough, so why should I do something today?

Well…the problem is that the “yets” were all coming. Why? Because everyone builds tolerance to drugs and alcohol over time, and so people struggling with substance use always have to use more to get the same effect as time passes. As a person’s use increases, that’s when the “yets” will show up.

Of course, I started experiencing some of the “yets” myself. But still, the idea of getting sober was too scary, completely overwhelming. I’m super grateful that someone eventually helped me understand how to make it less scary – before all the “yets” showed up.

She explained how “just for today” is a basic concept of 12 step programs. Rather than commit to the whole thing, a lifetime, why not just start with today? She asked me, what can you do – just for today – that moves you toward recovery? How about making a phone call to find out about getting help? Just the phone call, nothing more. You can decide the rest later. So I called.

I’ve been in recovery a long time now, and I learned that this idea is ancient wisdom. The philosopher Lao Tzu, born 2,600 years ago, wrote “a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.” The idea is the same: just get started with a small move forward. Figure out the rest later.

Can you do that? If you feel like talking about it, give us a call. 800.258.6550.