7 Ways To Ask For Help When You’re Struggling With Addiction

By Beth Leipholtz 08/02/17

If you are struggling with addiction of any sort, what matters the most is that you’ve realized you need help and you are exploring your options in asking for it.

sad girl looking at camera
Reaching out for assistance with addiction can be difficult but these tips can help.

Though I only drank for a few years, there were numerous instances in which I realized I didn’t drink the way the people around me drank. Rather than drink to enjoy the taste or to socialize, I drank to get drunk. Every time. Often, this ended in me doing or saying something to embarrass myself or hurt someone else.

Still, for some reason, it didn’t often occur to me that I may need help. I sometimes thought I should stop drinking, but that was as far as I ever got in admitting that I needed help of some sort. In the end, I never asked for help. I actually ended up getting sober because I got myself into a bad situation and got caught.

In retrospect, there were a number of ways I could have and should have reached out for assistance. Here are a few ways to ask for help if you find yourself struggling with addiction:

  1. Write a letter/email. Though not the case for everyone, some people prefer writing over speaking, especially when it comes to difficult topics. To be honest, if I had asked for help, this is how I would have done it. There is something about putting your struggles and fears down on paper that makes them more real and easier to admit. Writing a letter allows you to carefully consider what you want to say and make sure it comes across the way in which you intend. It also gives you something concrete to read over if you are beginning to doubt that you should have asked for help. Once you send it, it’s sent and out of your hands for the time being.
  1. Talk to someone you trust. Writing isn’t the answer for everyone. Some types of people are more comfortable speaking about their struggles and voicing why they need help, especially when they are talking face-to-face with someone who knows them well and loves them. More often than not, your loved one will likely be relieved you have reached out for help and they’ll be willing to do what they can to assist you. It can be hard to have a conversation in which you feel vulnerable and are admitting that something has grown beyond your control. But there is also a freeing aspect to sharing this with another person and realizing you are not alone.
  1. Discuss your struggle with a stranger. Sometimes this is easier than talking directly to someone you know and love. So often we don’t want our loved ones to see the ugly and shamed sides of ourselves, so we avoid talking to them and even avoid asking them for help, though they’d often be willing to help. It’s easier to show those scared parts of ourselves to a person who doesn’t have a history with us. This could be a counselor or a teacher or anyone else you trust to open up to. Chances are good that if you willingly ask for help, they will do what they can to assist you, whether that be researching treatment facilities or talking to family members.
  1. Reach out to a medical professional. Addiction is a disease, and therefore it falls into the medical category. If you are unsure what steps to take to ask for help, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will know the correct questions to ask to determine how severe of a problem drugs and/or alcohol have become and will lay out what steps to take next. Often, this may mean pointing you in the direction of someone who specializes in the field of addiction and who can come up with a specific course of action for your specific addiction.
  1. Search for online resources. Sometimes people want help, but aren’t quite ready to express that to anyone in their life. There are many resources online, from chat rooms to AA meetings to Facebook groups to information about treatment facilities. Sometimes taking the step to simply educate yourself and talk to people who have sought out treatment for addiction can make the whole process seem less frightening and more manageable. Once you begin searching for resources online, you will be shocked at the plethora of information you find.
  1. Seek out someone who has been in the position you are in. Chances are, you know someone in your life who has been affected by addiction and who has gotten sober. If you don’t know someone directly, someone else in your life likely does. Talking to a person who has been in your shoes is a good step in reaching out for help. You can ask them how they got help and what they wish they had done differently. Or, you can even ask them to help you. Most people in recovery know of good resources and starting points for getting sober.
  1. Call a helpline. There are numerous helplines people can call to speak with someone who has knowledge in the field of addiction and mental health. Sometimes this is a less intimidating option because the conversation is not face-to-face and is not with someone you know personally. People who work at helplines are trained to be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to seeking help. They can look up treatment facilities in your area or point you to the correct people to reach out to. The people on the other end of the phone are there because they want to help, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.

In the end, there is no right way to ask for help. Everyone is different, as is everyone’s situation. If you are struggling with addiction of any sort, what matters the most is that you’ve realized you need help and you are exploring your options in asking for it. Do what feels right for you, but more importantly, do what you think will most likely get you the help you need and want.

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.