Speaking openly about addiction begins the journey of recovery. Addiction thrives in silence, and recovery struggles without conversation. Speaking up leads to freedom and a fulfilling, drug-free life.
Speak Openly Because You Cannot Recover Alone
Recovery begins with conversation. It begins with opening up and talking about what you are experiencing. It involves being honest with yourself and with others. The first honest truth you may share is that you struggle, you are tired of doing so, but you don’t know how to stop. You may not feel ready to actually take action at this time, but speaking up begins the conversation. It lets others know what you are facing. It makes you consider what you are facing and the reality of the situation. When you speak up, the next steps begin to become clear. The next steps involve asking for help. You can ask loved ones to research treatment options, talk with your doctor about recovery or call helplines like ours that connect you to invaluable information and resources.
You need immediate, professional support to begin your recovery. There is a reason an entire medical profession surrounds the disease of addiction. The U.S. Army shares, “Recovery is a process of change. Individuals work to improve their own health and live a meaningful life to achieve their full potential. Recovery from an addiction to alcohol or drugs is a complex and active process that involves others.” Few individuals struggling with addiction can stop on their own. Psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors with addiction specialties and a wide range of supporting therapists and counselors make treating addiction a life goal and mission. These professionals are widely available and offer evidence-based, proven care. However they cannot give this care until you ask for it. They do not know who is suffering in silence.
The conversation doesn’t end once primary treatment is over. You need lasting social support to maintain your recovery. Psychology Today shares the recent theory, “that addiction is not about the pleasurable effects of substances, it’s about the user’s inability to connect in healthy ways with other human beings. In other words, addiction is not a substance disorder, it’s a social disorder.” Connect with others through conversation to strengthen your recovery. Speaking up enriches your life and builds social connections. It reminds you why you have worked so hard to get where you are and why you should continue to do so.
Speak Up to Help an Addict
Individuals struggling with addiction aren’t the only ones who can, and should, speak up. If you see a loved one struggling, say something. Don’t wait for him or her to come to you. Let the person know you are available and that you are supportive. Speak up to set healthy boundaries and end enabling. Let your child, parent, sibling or friend know what you will and will no longer tolerate. Let him or her know you will be there the second he or she is ready to make a change and get help. You cannot recover for another person. You can ease the path by preparing and discussing treatment options. You can hold conversations and interventions about substance use. You can be there to talk. Be open and supportive, and you will be there when he or she is ready to take the right action.
Speak Openly to Change the Language Around Addiction
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids shares, “Language plays a huge role in how we think about people and how people think about themselves. Words have to change so attitudes change.” Words cannot change until we speak up. They cannot change until we start to shift the meanings and associations behind some words while substituting and inserting the terms and phrases that are kinder, more helpful, and more accurate. The Partnership continues, “Language can discourage people from seeking help and lead health professionals to treat patients harshly.” Words may seem harmless, but they have a real impact on how perception, emotion and behavior. When we talk openly and honestly, discouragement becomes encouragement. Those struggling or those who do not know how to reach out to someone who is can listen to conversations about addiction. They can learn that words aren’t about perfection or about saying exactly the right thing right now. They are about the meaning, intent, concern and support behind them. They are about ending the silence that is nothing but continued pain and creating an opportunity for action and greater understanding.
How to Speak Up
Addiction thrives in silence. Speak up. Start the conversation about addiction by calling our toll-free helpline. Our compassionate, judgment-free counselors are available 24 hours a day. There are no wrong words or wrong questions. We are here to guide and encourage you through the process of talking, of taking action, of ending substance abuse and addiction. Speaking up is always the right choice. Call and talk with us today.
 https://www.army.mil/article/132842/Join_the_voices_for_recovery__Speak_up__reach_out. “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out.” U.S. Army. 29 Aug 2014. Web. 15 Jul 2016.
 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-and-sex-in-the-digital-age/201509/the-opposite-addiction-is-connection. “The Opposite of Addiction Is Connection.” Psychology Today. 30 Sep 2015. Web. 15 Jul 2016.
 http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/advocates-call-judgment-free-language-speaking-addiction/. “Advocates Call for Judgment-Free Language When Speaking of Addiction.” Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. 4 Feb 2016. Web. 15 Jul 2016.