There are a number of ways in which you can get help and support for potential substance addictions such as drugs or alcohol issues, or behavioural addictions such as food, gambling, sex or pornography. It is strongly advised not to prolong seeking help for an addiction so that it may be treated earlier thus reducing the impact on your life. Once you have identified that you are struggling with a dependency or an addiction, or indeed any unhealthy behaviour, it may feel daunting and confusing knowing where to start to get help. It might help to think about the personal challenge ahead as simply creating a new and healthier lifestyle for a brighter, more balanced future.
Invest in yourself - practising self-care, compassion, acceptance, mindfulness and self-love helps promote deep emotional healing. Investing in yourself on an emotion, physical, mental and spiritual level promotes wellness and a stronger sense of self-realisation. Find activities and past times which you enjoy to help you relax and unwind and engage in experiences which bring you a sense of happiness and laughter.
Stay committed - try, try and keep on trying!!! Remember you are working towards a happier & healthier lifestyle. By staying focused on changing your overall perspective on life, you are recommitting to what you can control, not on what you have to give up.
Take control - make clear conscious decisions and follow through with actions to get the help you need. Simply thinking or ‘trying’ to stop is not always enough, you need actions, targets and goals. Write a list of your bad habits and behaviours that are taking over your life and identify how you can help yourself to overcome them.
Talk - try talking to your partner, family, close friends or Helpline counsellor about your feelings, emotions and concerns. This may feel daunting at first but it can help you break the cycle of secrecy and isolation. It’s possible they are concerned about you already and want to help you get the support you need. Communication is Key!
Personal therapy - seek a qualified counsellor in your area through your helpline service so that you can speak to someone in confidence about your problematic behaviour. It may be beneficial to find a therapist that specialises in your particular issue, ie, drugs, alcohol, food, sex, etc.
Visit your GP - speak to your GP about any problems you may be experiencing. Your GP may refer you on to a mental health professional such as a psychologist, psychotherapist or an addiction centre. While this may be an uncomfortable conversation for you in the short term, it will be beneficial in the long term. Your GP is trained to help you discuss uncomfortable personal issues and is a reliable source of information.
Educate yourself - find out more about the causes, symptoms and the behaviour you are struggling to manage and what possible interventions and support might work. There are vast amounts of websites dedicated to mental health and addiction, or pop into your local library to access free resources. Reading can help empower you to access the support you need and identify how to deal which your addiction. Knowledge is Power!
Healthcare providers - if you have private health care insurance, speak to them to find out if your policy covers you for counselling, psychological services, psychologists fees or addiction treatment centres and ask them how you may go about accessing them.
Group support - there are many support groups and 12 Step groups such as AA, CA, NA, S&LAA, CODA, Gamblers Anonymous, etc. with daily meetings helping people struggling with addiction. Many people instantly rule out going to a support group but it is recommended that you give these a chance before your make a decision to rule them out. Try to attend at least 6 meetings before you make a decision whether or not you find them beneficial.
Addiction Treatment Centres - contact your local addiction centre and find out if they provide any support services which may be relevant to you, these may be residential, outpatient or drop in services. Many provide treatment for gambling, food, sex addiction and substance and alcohol dependencies.
Local support groups - local community centres and organisations provide free or low cost counselling services or group support. You may need to register to go on a waiting list and be referred to a support worker in the organisation. Go online and found out what’s available in your local community and drop into them the next chance you get.
Religious organisations - if you are part of a religious congregation, very often there is a local priest, pastor, spiritual advisor or counsellor available to provide a comforting ear and support during your times of need. Many people can find emotional support and guidance within their congregation and through their faith.