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How to Ask for Help When Dealing with Addiction

Reaching out to ask for help is often easier said than done, particularly for people dealing with substance use disorder. They hesitate to call for help, sometimes because of denial, pride, fear of rejection, or the guilt of addiction. Hence, many end up suffering in silence. 

But this should not be the case. Help is, and always will be, available. You just have to take the first brave step and ask for it. 

If you’re battling addiction or a mental health illness and feel overwhelmed, this blog is for you. Here are some steps you can take to get the help you need to bring you closer to recovery, especially when you are struggling to learn how to ask for help. 

How to Ask for Help When Struggling with Addiction 

1. How to Ask for Help: Stop Stigmatizing Yourself

Addiction is a chronic brain disease; it doesn’t happen due to moral weakness or lack of willpower. Looking for ways on how to ask for help does not mean accepting failure or defeat. Instead, it brings light to your courage and determination to steer your life in the right direction. Freeing yourself from social or internalized stigma towards addiction or mental health struggles can pave the way for true and lasting healing. 

2. How to Ask for Help: Reach Out to Someone You Trust 

If you’re wondering how to ask for help, start by figuring out who you trust most. Open up to someone who, without a doubt, has your best interests at heart and who can listen without prejudice. This could be your parents, siblings, or a close friend. Make sure that you go to someone who is sober and is not struggling with substance use themselves. 

Sometimes finding your “person” can be a long and arduous process, but you just need to keep trying. If you feel that you cannot find the support and empathy from friends and family, know that there are many ways on how to ask for help at school or work, like talking to your guidance counselor or HR manager.

Know that asking someone for help does not make you a burden. You’ll be surprised at how far people who genuinely care about you are willing to go through to see you get better.

Two sets of hands holding cups of coffee

3. How to Ask for Help: Get Professional Help 

If you are struggling with addiction but have no one to turn to, go to a doctor. It doesn’t matter if you go directly to a mental health professional or family physician. Addiction is a recognized health condition, and medical health professionals have the proper knowledge and training to assess your situation and recommend the next steps you need to take. They can make a referral to a mental health therapist or an addiction counsellor on your behalf. 

Does the thought of picking up the phone or going to the clinic by yourself seem too scary or overwhelming? If you feel uncertain or uncomfortable, it’s okay to ask a loved one to make an appointment or accompany you if necessary to ensure that you’ll show up and have a support network that has your back. 

4. How to Ask for Help: Write It Down 

Often, some people do not have the courage or find it difficult to talk about their feelings or painful experiences in person. If you find yourself in this situation, writing a letter may be relatively easier. When thinking of how to ask for help, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and pour out your feelings. 

You can also type it into a text message or an email. Putting your thoughts into writing allows you to reflect, clear your mind, and get closer to the core of your emotions. Hence, it’s not surprising to feel a sense of relief once you’re done with your draft. 

Woman in denim jacket writing a letter asking for help

5. How to Ask for Help: Call Crisis Hotlines 

If you suddenly find yourself in a dark place—desperate, hopeless, and thinking of taking your own life—but don’t know who or how to ask for help, dial the suicide crisis hotline in your area immediately. 

In Canada, this service is available toll-free anywhere via phone or text in both English and French. Crisis Services Canada is a barrier-free, non-judgmental space with supportive and responsive responders.

Aside from having sufficient training on listening to and handling distress calls from people struggling with mental health issues and addiction, these helplines also offer anonymity and confidentiality, making it more encouraging to confide.

6. How to Ask for Help: Attend Addiction Support Groups 

Addiction support groups are not a substitute for drug or alcohol rehab. However, they make an excellent venue to learn how to ask for help by listening to past and current experiences of recovering addicts. Hearing their personal stories of struggle or success can make someone feel less alone and more hopeful. 

Participating in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can also give you a clear understanding of the next steps to achieve recovery. 

A person asking for help in an addiction support group meeting

Do You Need Help? The Tell-Tale Signs of Addiction 

Sometimes the more significant issue isn’t necessarily not knowing how to ask for help, but acknowledging the reality that you need help. If you are not quite sure yet if you have a substance abuse issue, start asking yourself these questions.

  • Do you have uncontrollable cravings to use alcohol or drugs?
  • Do you abuse substances to feel pleasure, numb pain, or forget your problems?
  • Are you having issues at work or school because you keep calling in sick, slacking off with your tasks, or getting into fights with classmates or colleagues?
  • Are your relationships on the rocks because you forget to show up at important events, like your child’s recital or anniversary date with your spouse? 
  • Do your family and friends worry about your alcohol use?
  • Do you find yourself often drinking alone?
  • Have you done things while under the influence that you wish you never did, including unprotected sex, stealing, aggressive behaviours, or getting into accidents?
  • Do you have withdrawal symptoms, like migraine, irritability, aggression, or anxiety, whenever you stop drinking or abusing drugs?

You Don’t Have to Do This Alone — We’re Here to Help 

If you are looking for ways on how to ask for help for yourself or a loved one struggling with substance use disorder, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Freedom From Addiction is one of the most innovative addiction recovery homes in the country. We follow evidence-based and individualized treatment approaches, including interventions, cognitive behavioural therapy, and individual and group counselling sessions.

For more information about how our addiction treatment can make a difference in your life, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly. Contact us today!

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