You’ve probably tried to quit drinking or using other substances at some point in the past. You may have been able to stop drinking or to give up using drugs for short periods of time, but for some reason you always end up going back to your old ways. You may even try to tell yourself that you can quit any time you want to but that you just don’t really want to. You may be aware that addiction is starting to cause problems in your life. You are getting into trouble frequently and the situations you’re getting into may be harder to get out of than they used to be. You’re starting to realize that your use of addictive substances is out of control, but you’re not convinced you’re going to be able to get sober. What happens if you never manage to get sober?
The Progression of Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Few addicts or alcoholics can get sober without help. The compulsion to drink or to use mind-altering substances is too overpowering. But ignoring a problem with alcohol or drug abuse isn’t likely to result in the problem going away. Instead, the disease of addiction progresses. You find that you need more and more of your drug of choice than you used to in order to get the same result. You may be embarrassed by your behavior on multiple occasions, or you may start to experience blackouts and may not even remember what you did when you were under the influence of substances. As the disease progresses, you will experience more and more losses. You may lose your job. You behave in ways that you never would have if you hadn’t been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and you may end up getting arrested or having other legal problems. If you continue to drink or drug, you may develop major health problems, some of which are irreversible.
The Pain You Are Causing Innocent People
If you don’t make a decision to give up drugs or alcohol, you will continue to cause a whole lot of pain to innocent people. You may think that in refusing to get help, the only person you are hurting is yourself. This simply isn’t true. You are causing a world of hurt to the people you care about. Friends and family spend endless hours worrying about you or bailing you out of situations caused by addiction. Your loved ones may issue ultimatums and eventually will cut off communication with you if they haven’t already. If you are married, your relationship may be completely destroyed. If you have children, you will be unable to be any kind of a positive role model to them, and they may eventually turn their backs on you, too. You are hurting other people outside your immediate family without even realizing it. You may steal from family members or strangers to support your chemical dependence. You may fail to show up for work or important events. You may drive or operate machinery while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and every time you do that, you put innocent people at risk. The longer you continue to drink and drug and don’t get help, the more innocent people are at risk of being harmed by your addiction.
How to Get Help
You may have tried to get sober on your own without success, or you may keep hoping your compulsion to use will simply go away. It won’t. You have to take action to make a change, and you will need help to do so. You can start by discussing your problem with your family doctor or a counselor that specializes in addiction. Don’t try to quit cold turkey by yourself. Withdrawing from certain chemicals can be physically dangerous. Once you get past withdrawal, you need guidance in learning new coping skills so that you won’t go back to drinking and drugging. It is possible to learn the skills necessary to lead a sober and productive life. But if you never succeed in getting sober, it’s pretty certain that your life will continue to get worse. There’s a good chance that you will eventually end up in a prison or hospital, and your addiction may even cost you your life.