Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, you join the ranks of countless people with active addictions. This is how many have described their situations just prior to seeking help. And, it is the condition cited often when people with addictions are asked why they stopped using. It just sums it up. There’s little to say after saying I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Addiction is a Pervasive and Debilitating Illness
Addiction progresses and as it does, it worsens. It is often called an insidious illness—starting slowly and with few notable effects, at least in the awareness of the person who is addicted. Then, later, as negative effects begin to accumulate, one has trouble pinpointing the cause. Meanwhile, the illness continues to gain momentum. Eventually, it becomes a whole person, whole life problem.
The debilitating effects of an addiction also progress from mild to moderate and then on to severe. Among these are problems in thinking and other cognitive functions like learning, memory, decision-making and problem-solving. The emotions become more and more unmanageable as well, with persistent negative issues such as depression, anger, fear, and anxiety. Emotions also can shift rapidly, becoming unmanageable.
As these internal problems arise, so do their outer manifestations. One steadily has behavioral problems—impulsivity, lack of drive, or choices made with poor information and little insight. And, these add up to create multiple other problems. Among them are relationship difficulties, trouble on the job and even legal problems.
These are just some of the ways in which a progressing addiction can complicate our lives, erode our personal power and debilitate us. Whatever characterizes us as human and is an aspect of healthy living, addiction will inevitably work in them and cause at least decline in our functioning and well-being. Unfortunately, that decline can become profound if the illness is not addressed properly.
The Loss of Control: Helplessness and Hopeless
A characteristic of addiction is that we lose self-control and control of our lives. It is a frustrating and stressful way to live. Eventually, so many things go wrong—inside and outside us—that we feel cursed and battered—a victim of bad luck or fate, others or the world. A common reaction is to sink into pessimism and its companion feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. We feel the world has slipped out of reach from any control we could exert. We know others ‘have it together’, but we see ourselves destined not to.
Living without hope and with the feeling of utter helplessness is incredibly painful. Mentally, we see no point in doing much at all, and we can easily rationalize doing nothing, or doing nothing of any value or meaning. It is the perfect raft for a progressing addictive illness to climb aboard and float through our lives on. Many people regretfully feel they have wasted years, even decades of their lives in such a state.
Loss of control besets us internally as well. Our thoughts and feelings go haywire. We can’t focus long enough to follow through; we can’t think of any good thoughts; we can’t enjoy a sense of ease in our bodies without ingesting chemicals… Also, goals, dreams, ambitions, plans, promises, commitments, and resolutions do nothing but cause a sense of failure in the end. They don’t structure life for us as they do for others. Our addictions make sure of that. These sorts of things are often cited when people who say they are sick and tired of addiction begin to break it down into specific items.
Compulsion, Obsession, and Their Relentless Authority
Compulsion is the overwhelming urge to do something—even if it is irrational, and even if we do not particularly want to do it. A compulsion puts us in a no-win situation when we are addicted: if we satisfy the overwhelming urge, we make ourselves sicker and prolong our misery. If we resist the compulsion, we suffer overwhelming anxiety and fear, but also withdrawal symptoms which are at the very least distressful, and unfortunately, all too often compromising of our health and safety.
Obsession is the mental fuel of compulsive behavior, and there are strong obsessions in any addiction. It is the thoughts we think about ourselves, others, the world and our substances. And, in addiction, all thoughts are eventually colored by our need for substances and how we are going to them, as well as our desire for substances and the wonderful things we think they do for us. Along with compulsive behavior, obsessive thoughts about substances inevitably become the relentless authorities in our lives.
There are many tragic stories among those who are addicted. And, in recovery circles, we can hear them as cautionary tales, but also as stories of hope and courage. Countless people have freed themselves from compulsive substance use and the mental obsession with use. They have succeeded in replacing them with the healthier thoughts and healthier behaviors of a substance-free life.
Who We Are in Active Addiction
One of the things recovering people say they became sick and tired of was who they were in active addiction—the person they saw in the mirror, the person they believed themselves to be, and the person they were with others.
The loss of self-respect comes with the loss of self-control and an unmanageable life. You would be hard-pressed to find an addicted person with anything but a substance-induced high self-esteem. Self-loathing is more to be expected, and you can be sure it is present even though great efforts may be made to conceal it or to compensate for it.
Depression, self-deprecating thought, shame, guilt, fear, grief, hopelessness, helplessness, self-hatred, and even a desire to suicide are far more likely when addiction has taken its toll on one’s health, relationships, livelihood, social reputation, and spirit. It is not surprising that people who wake up every day with this burdensome experience want it to end.
How Long Will You Suffer?
This is always the question for someone entrapped in the compulsive and obsessive cycle of addiction. Everyone knows the answer is to stop using when using has taken priority over everything else in life. However, the problem is a host of barriers and obstacles between the problem and its simple solution. Each person has their own, and commonly, there are multiple challenges to overcome before recovery is possible.
Many in recovery say they continued to use and suffer from that use long past the time they wanted treatment. Among these challenges are fear of failure, fear of pain in withdrawal, and fear of not being about to tolerate sobriety. Also, there are many other barriers and obstacles to treatment and recovery including lack of support, inability to plan for treatment, an unstable mental illness, and single parent issues.
All such barriers and obstacles can be resolved with the right help, and there are many resources available to help people with addictions. Taking the sometimes frightening step to ask for help is often all that is needed to break through the blockages and get to treatment. However, shame and false pride can interfere, and keep people ill far longer than necessary.
In the Confusion of Your Illness and the Treatment World
When you do decide to reach out for help or to do some research, you may encounter yet another obstacle, and that is the extensive and confusing information available about addiction treatment programs. Most people turn to an Internet search for needed information, and if that is your first stop, you will find almost 2 million hits for the word ‘rehab’, about 97 million for ‘alcohol and drug rehab’, and 265 million for ‘addiction treatment’. The sheer volume of information alone is daunting. Couple that with the distress of needing treatment, and one’s decision to get help can quickly evaporate in overwhelm.
This issue is also complicated by the wide diversity of treatment program types. While such a diversity has made addiction treatment more accessible to a larger number of people, it has also confused those who need help. Treatment is no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition. There are extremely diverse philosophies, approaches, settings and price ranges, for starters. And, no every rehab is staffed with the same types of professionals; nor do they all offer the same services or provide the same amenities.
Let Us Help You Find the Right Help
If you or a loved one needs help to overcome an addiction, we can help you get the right help for you. You don’t have to navigate the deluge of information out there, and you don’t have to add the stress of researching to your already existing crisis. We offer free consultations to help you and your family resolve your crisis quickly.
In our consultation, we will help clarify your specific treatment needs, your preferences for location and setting, as well as treatment approach and amenities. In short, we will walk you through your decision-making process, collaborating with you to find the best matches we can. We will also clarify your insurance coverage for you, too.
We are well-informed about the world of addiction treatment and all the different types of programs out there. We make it our business to be so. Whether you prefer a faith-based, 12 Step or holistic program, we can point you in the right direction. If you need a setting in which you can continue your executive duties while in treatment, we can find that. If you have a co-existing mental health problem, we keep abreast of dual diagnosis treatment facilities… and more.