Once you have reached the point where you realize that you need help because your life has swung out of control (“you hit rock bottom”), where do you turn to?
I found that the most important thing to do is to ask for help. It does not really matter to whom you turn. You will know which advise to follow. Whether it is given by a good friend a school dean, a trusted colleague or a health care professional (counselor, psychologist, general practitioner). Ask. Elsewhere in this blog I told you that you are not the only one and many people have practical experience with addiction and help that works.
Personally I believe in a combination of some kind of group based program and individual care tailored to your own specific needs. The group aspect is useful to reinforce your awareness that indeed there are many others who experience suffering and unhappiness because of addiction in oneself, a loved one, family member or friend. You will realize that you are not abnormal. By listening to the personal stories of other group members and to their ways of dealing with addiction you will pick up very useful tips for your own good.
On an individual level I would recommend to start out by learning what you can about addiction and co-dependency. It will help you put the problem in a reliable perspective. It allowed me to take a step back and start to have a good and realistic look at the things I could do to make the changes necessary for recovery.
Mind you, this is an ongoing process. After so many years my behavior was “programmed” so deeply that I had to be vigilant to prevent myself to fall back (or relapse) into my old and unwanted behavior.
In talking to literally hundreds of addicts and co-dependents I have found that recovery also involves a change in the way you think and of what you believe in. I would call this the spiritual component of recovery.
In my opinion 12 step programs are a good option. They offer meetings, literature, sponsorship and fellowship.