Few things can destroy your future as effectively as an addiction can. In the face of the grip of addiction, a person can find it all but impossible to think beyond their next “fix”—much less far into their future. Meanwhile, they may be doing things that will seriously disrupt any long-term plans or goals that they might have had prior to their substance abuse problem.
It’s a tragic reality, but it’s not unavoidable. Steering clear of poor decisions in high school and earlier can help you avoid this fate. And those who are already suffering from substance abuse issues can find resources in the United States, Canada, and beyond that can help them conquer their substance abuse cycle and live responsible lives in recovery.
How Substance Abuse Can Destroy Futures
Charting a successful future takes work. By the time a person is a high school student, they’ve already made some key decisions about their life. They may be in a college preparatory high school, where college prep is the focus of the whole school year. Caring teachers and great education programs can help put a student like this on a path to success inside and outside of the classroom.
Just as surely, however, substance abuse can derail this track. Students of any race, ethnic origin, national origin, and gender identity can fall prey to addiction. Once in its grip, a student with a substance abuse problem may stop doing schoolwork or participating in extracurricular activities. Their personal and educational lives can begin to fall apart. While their peers graduate and chart successful lives as alumni of prestigious institutions, the addicted student could be living in poverty and perhaps even homelessness. The homeless community has an alarming rate of addiction issues.
Addressing Substance Abuse
But not all addicts live in the grip of their substance forever. Not all addicts become homeless, and not all homeless addicts stay that way. There are ways to move forward.
Whatever your situation, the first step toward getting help with your substance abuse issues is to admit that you have a problem. Before a psychologist or the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous can help you, you must acknowledge that you need that help.
This isn’t easy. Denial is a key feature of addiction. But self-evaluations can help, as can therapy. Find the courage to confront your problem, and you’ll be on your way to recovery.
This isn’t a journey that you should make alone. Work with professionals who specialize in substance abuse issues. Many great psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists have dedicated their lives to helping people with substance abuse issues. Their specialized training and focus on your particular sort of problem can be a huge asset to you as you make your journey.
You and your mental health professional can work on a treatment plan that is tailored to you. It may include a stint in rehab, where a physical separation from your old environment can give you the time and the focus to make real progress. There are many wonderful rehabs that serve individuals in the United States, including Canada’s Rehab Finder. “CCFA” stands for Canadian Center for Addictions, but the CCFA does not help Canadians alone. Open to both American and Canadian clients, the CCFA is a strong option for those who need help with alcoholism and other addictions.
You may also find that a twelve-step program can give you the structure and support that you need. Your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous could be a powerful source of support as you make your journey. This option is not mutually exclusive with other forms of support and care. Speak with your mental health care provider about designing a recovery program that works for you.
In recovery, you can begin to think about your future once again. A future isn’t something that you can repair in one day, and the journey will surely be a long one. If you put in the work, though, you can live the life that you’ve long dreamed of—without your substance abuse problem getting in the way.