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How to Ask for Help with Addiction | 5 Steps

an image of someone who learned how to ask for help for addiction

If you’re among the 47 million people in the U.S. grappling with diagnosable addictions, know that you’re not alone. Making the decision to seek help can help you to initiate sustained recovery from substance abuse with professional oversight.

Although it can be challenging to ask for help, doing so could transform your life. Engaging with an evidence-based addiction treatment program empowers you to thrive rather than just survive in sobriety.

For those in need of immediate assistance, this guide addresses the following issues:

  • How to ask for help with addiction to alcohol.
  • How to ask for help with drug addiction.
  • How to ask for addiction help in a crisis.

Why it Can Be Hard to Ask for Help with Addiction

Seeking help for addiction is a fundamental first step in the journey to recovery, yet it can appear like an insurmountable obstacle for many people. How to ask for help when you’re a drug addict or alcoholic can be complicated by many factors.


Fear of judgment and stigma

One of the most significant barriers to seeking help for addiction is the fear of being judged or stigmatized. Society often harbors negative perceptions and stereotypes about addiction, viewing it as a moral failing rather than a medical condition. This fear of judgment can prevent many people from reaching out for the help they desperately need.


Denial of the problem

Many individuals struggling with addiction are in denial about the severity of their situation. Admitting the existence of a problem with drugs or alcohol requires confronting painful realities and acknowledging the need for change, which can be a daunting prospect.


Fear of change

Change is inherently frightening, especially when it involves altering your lifestyle and coping mechanisms. The thought of living without substances that have been used as a form of escape or comfort can be overwhelming, making the prospect of seeking help and embracing change appear overwhelming.


Concerns about privacy and confidentiality

Some people may hesitate to seek help due to concerns about privacy and confidentiality. The fear that their struggle with addiction will become known to others and potentially impact their personal and professional lives can be a deterrent for some people.


Not knowing how to get started

The complexity of addiction treatment options and not knowing where to begin can also be bewildering. People may feel lost in a sea of information, unsure of which resources are trustworthy or what steps to take first.


Financial constraints

The cost of treatment can be a barrier. Concerns about the affordability of treatment programs and the potential financial burden can prevent people from seeking the help they need.


Emotional overwhelm

The emotional toll of addiction, combined with the prospect of recovery, can be overwhelming. Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and hopelessness can cloud judgment and hinder the decision to seek assistance.


Recognizing these challenges is the first step toward overcoming them. Resources and support systems are in place to help navigate these barriers, offering a path to recovery and a chance for a healthier, substance-free life.


5 Steps to Ask for Addiction Help

Here are five steps to guide you through the process of asking for the help you need:

  1. Acknowledge the need for help: The first step in seeking help is acknowledging that you have a problem with addiction and that you cannot overcome it alone. This realization can be difficult, but it will set the foundation for beginning your recovery journey. Accepting that you need help is a sign of strength and the first step toward healing.
  2. Educate yourself about addiction and recovery options: Gain knowledge about addiction as a medical condition and familiarize yourself with the various treatment options available. Understanding the nature of addiction and what recovery involves can empower you to make more informed decisions about your treatment. Research evidence-based treatment programs, support groups, and other resources that align with your needs and circumstances.
  3. Consider your needs: Feeling supported and understood is highly beneficial, particularly in moments when everything feels like it’s too much to handle. In your conversations, be direct about your current needs. Are you looking for assistance in locating a healthcare provider or a support group? Seeking affection and support, or simply need an ear to listen? State your needs clearly from the start. If anxiety rises, pause for a few deep, soothing breaths. Remember, you are valued by the person that you’re speaking to. During your conversation, articulate your emotions, thoughts, moods, and physical sensations. Providing a detailed account of your situation helps them understand your needs better. Aim to be as precise as possible. Common requests include help with locating a healthcare professional or treatment program, finding support groups or community resources, scheduling appointments, transportation to appointments, and receiving emotional and moral encouragement
  4. Reach out to someone you trust: Opening up about your struggle with addiction to someone you trust can be incredibly relieving. It could be a friend, family member, healthcare professional, or a counselor. This person can offer support, understanding, and possibly assist in finding treatment options. Sharing your burden with someone can lighten the load and provide encouragement to take the next steps.
  5. Contact professional addiction treatment services and commit to the process: Reach out to professional addiction services or treatment centers for guidance. Many organizations offer confidential helplines where you can speak to someone about your situation and receive advice on the next steps. These professionals can provide detailed information about treatment programs, answer any questions you have, and guide you through the intake process. Deciding to seek help is a significant step, but committing to follow through with the necessary steps for recovery is equally important. Recovery from addiction is a journey that requires time, effort, and patience. Committing to the process means being open to change, participating actively in treatment, and utilizing the support systems available to you.

Remember, asking for help is a courageous act and the first step toward a new, healthier life. Support is available, and recovery is possible with the right help and commitment.


How do I tell my loved one I have an addiction?

Prepare for the conversation by choosing a quiet, private setting and a time when you are calm. Be honest and direct, express your feelings, and the desire for help. Acknowledge the impact of your addiction on yourself and others, and convey your commitment to recovery.

Who can I go to for help with addiction if I don’t want to go to loved ones?

There are many resources available for those seeking help with addiction. Consider reaching out to professional counselors or therapists specializing in addiction, support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous), or confidential helplines and online forums dedicated to addiction recovery. Medical professionals such as your family doctor can also provide guidance and refer you to appropriate treatment options.

Who can I call for help with addiction?

If you need help right away, calling an addiction support hotline can connect you with resources like support groups, detox centers, and rehab centers, enabling you to kickstart your recovery from addiction.

Find Professional Help for Addiction at Drug Rehabs Centers

Data from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) show that more than 1 million U.S. adults needed addiction treatment in 2022 but did not know how to go about engaging with professional help.

Reach out to Drug Rehabs Centers in Southern California for advice, guidance, and referrals to reputable rehabs throughout the state. We can connect you with detoxification facilities, outpatient treatment centers, and inpatient rehabs near you, enabling you to begin your recovery the right way.Call (844) 739-2005 if you or a loved one needs help overcoming addiction in Southern California.

Joe Gilmore
Author: Joe Gilmore


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