For many of us, the last two years have been challenging. We have been isolated, financially stressed, and we may have lost loved ones. The combination of stress and isolation has been a perfect storm for mental health and increasing drinking/drug use. If you have found yourself slipping further away from the best version of you, you are not alone. Studies show depression, anxiety, alcohol, and drug use at unprecedented levels.
As we enter 2022, we know that we still face many of the challenges that have been present over the last two years. Another variant is on the rise, which means that we are still not free from the risk and stress of COVID. The holiday season may be one of the more stressful on record, with family missing from the table and the fallout from the recent challenging years lingering like a dark cloud over the festivities.
But we have a choice. We can choose to make 2022 a year where we begin the healing process from the damage done in the previous two years. We can choose to stop our bad habits in their tracks. We can choose to mend strained relationships with family. We can choose to be more active and less sedentary. And finally, we can choose to get help. If you find yourself in either of the two following camps, here is a roadmap to getting yourself back to you.
For those of us who hit a “rock bottom” (myself included), the writing is on the wall. Consequences are apparent. Bad things are happening all over the place because of our increased alcohol/drug use and mental health struggles. We’ve lost jobs, strained relationships, and faced legal issues. We probably have no doubt that we need treatment, so the next step is getting started. Detox facilities can help you stop using in a medically safe way. Residential treatment can give you 30 days of intensive training to put you on a path to success. And PHP/IOP programs can serve as a standalone to help you transition back into your full-time life when you are ready.
For others, maybe you haven’t hit rock bottom yet. You still have your job, your house, and remain free of legal issues. You may be asking yourself, “do I really have a problem with X?” Well, I want to say this as assertively as possible…“You don’t need to wait until rock bottom to seek treatment”!
One of the exercises that we sometimes do in treatment is a “yet” letter. It’s all the things that haven’t happened yet, but might if things continue to slide. Try adding yet to the following common objections to treatment.
- I haven’t had any legal consequences (yet).
- My kids don’t even know I drink/use (yet).
- My marriage hasn’t suffered (yet).
- I don’t drink during the day/week (yet).
- I haven’t lost my job (yet).
- I haven’t hit rock bottom (yet).
In these cases, you have a special opportunity that most of us never did. With the right effort, none of these things may ever transpire. You have a chance to hit the brakes. Reverse course. Stop the consequences before they start. This is truly the BEST time to get help. In my time in treatment and recovery, I’ve never heard anyone say, “man, I really went to get help before I needed it…really should have waited longer.” On the other hand, I know that I certainly wish that I personally had just gotten help a little sooner. PHP/IOP treatment, therapist appointments, 12-step or SMART meetings (or a combination of all)…you have options based on your own commitment level and goals.
2020 and 2021 were difficult. After times like these, it is okay to not be okay. We cannot do anything about what we did or failed to do over the course of these recent years. But we have a choice. We have a choice to seek help this year. We have a choice to start moving forward from where we are. We have a choice to make 2022 a year of healing.
Nick Padlo is the Founder and CEO of Sophros Recovery, a treatment facility for addiction and mental health. He is in recovery himself and started Sophros to help clients regain their lives. www.sophrosrecovery.com