When dealing with substance use disorder, it’s common for people to feel hopeless and helpless. In fact, these false beliefs can be thought of as one of the main symptoms of addiction: the idea that recovery is out of reach and there’s nothing you can do about the problem. These feelings can lead you to start using drugs and alcohol – and they can keep you using. For example, if you try to quit, life can seem more depressing and unbearable, especially in the early stages of quitting. You might think that the only way to find relief is through drugs and alcohol. These feelings can be so overwhelming that many people abandon their efforts to quit, sometimes within hours.
Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome this feeling of hopelessness. Recognizing these emotions is one of the first steps in recovery, as you’re allowing yourself to feel these negative emotions and work through them. As you’ll learn in outpatient addiction rehab in Phoenix, negative self-talk limits your abilities and stops you from reaching your full potential.
Why Do Addicts Feel Hopeless?
When you first start using drugs and alcohol, it can feel liberating. Substance use occupies your time, gets your mind off your problems and introduces you to people who enjoy doing the same things as you. But over time, your substance use can trap you in a dangerous cycle. Here are some of the reasons why addicts tend to feel helpless and hopeless.
- Withdrawal. Withdrawal is not a pleasant experience. It involves many intense physical and emotional symptoms that are difficult to get through without drug rehab in Phoenix. This can make you feel like quitting is impossible.
- Cravings. Drug and alcohol cravings make you feel cranky, irritable and depressed. You may not feel complete unless you have drugs and alcohol in your life, further confirming (in your head) that you can’t be without them.
- Depression. You may have dealt with depression before your addiction, but even if you didn’t, substance abuse affects your mental health. This can interfere with your ability to see things clearly and rationally.
- Guilt. Guilt is a crippling emotion. It can stop you from moving forward and make you more dependent on substances.
- Relationship problems. Addictions – especially severe ones – don’t leave room for healthy relationships. As you break away from friends and loved ones, you can end up feeling more detached from yourself and others.
How to Recognize Hopelessness
A telltale sign that you feel hopeless is when you stop caring about things. You may stop exercising, eating healthy foods and getting enough rest. This affects your relationships, your job and your mental health. You may also feel no need to moderate your drug and alcohol use because you feel so deep in your addiction. It’s at this point that some addicts increase their substance use.
Here are some examples of how hopelessness can manifest itself:
- Alienation. This happens when you feel different from everyone else and believe that you are not worthy of love and support. You may cut yourself off from others, further alienting yourself.
- Forsakenness. Forsakenness is similar to alienation, except that it feels like you’ve been abandoned by friends and family during your greatest time of need.
- Powerlessness. When you’re active in your addiction, it’s easy to feel like you will always be addicted. The first step in the 12 step program is admitting you’re powerless against your addiction and turning this over to a higher power.
- Oppression. Any form of oppression gives the illusion that it’s impossible to overcome your addiction. But this is not true. Addiction is treatable, especially with the support of holistic outpatient addiction rehab in Phoenix.
- Doom. If you’re experiencing doom, you’ll feel like there’s nothing you can do to save yourself. Your life is over and that’s that. Of course, this is the addiction talking. It’s possible to treat and overcome addiction.
Having Hope When You Feel Hopeless
Addiction has a way of separating people from themselves and their loved ones. You may think that your addiction is far more powerful than yourself, but this is a false belief that the addiction causes.
The first step in overcoming feelings of hopelessness is to admit that you have a problem. You can then start an outpatient drug rehab in Phoenix that addresses your addiction and underlying mental illness. Unfortunately, feelings of hopelessness can still persist during treatment. There are a lot of unknowns in the recovery process, but it does get easier. Take one day at a time.
Below are some tips to help you overcome hopelessness as you recover from addiction:
Maintain a routine
Feeling depressed and hopeless saps your energy. It may look appealing to crawl into bed and stay there all day, but this will only distance yourself from your goals. The easiest way to start new habits is by maintaining a healthy routine.
Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, get outside. Something as simple as walking around the block will increase feel-good chemicals in the brain, lower blood pressure, boost metabolism and enhance energy. This all makes it easier to fight depression.
Spirituality is an important part of the recovery process. This practice helps you connect with a higher power and find your greater purpose in life. A helpful way to increase your spirituality is by practicing prayer and meditation. Start by clearing the mind and picturing the things that make you happy.
Reach out for support
When you’re dealing with substance abuse, it’s normal to pull away from friends and family. You don’t want them to see you in pain. However, it’s important that you reach out to loved ones and accept their support and help. These connections will motivate you to keep moving forward.
Focus on what you have
In order to stop the cycle of addiction, you have to give up things like your current social circle and your concept of “fun.” But rather than focusing on the things you’ve lost, focus on the things you have. The more you look for the positive aspects in your life, the easier it is to have a healthy attitude.
You can’t change your circumstances overnight, but you can make things better for others. Share your story with others. Inspire others to get clean. Work the steps and become a sponsor. You can save someone else from going down the same path.
Start Your Journey Today
Addiction can be successfully treated with the right outpatient treatment center in Phoenix. Continuum Recovery Center successfully treats addiction and mental illness. It’s not uncommon for clients to feel hopeless, but it doesn’t take long for them to change this mentality once involved in our program. We have a wide range of therapies that can get you on the road to recovery and help you reclaim a life you love. Contact us today to learn more. Hope is on your side!