Making a Change In Your Life
If you’re having a hard time making that phone call, you’re not alone. Making a change in your life, no matter the type of change, can be hard for anyone. And yet, for those who are struggling with addiction, there’s another layer of difficulty – ambivalence.
Ambivalence is an experience of feeling two opposing emotions at the same time. You might want to quit because of the negative effects drugs or drinking has on your life. But at the same time, you don’t want to live without the pleasurable experiences that come with substance use.
Besides, there’s a reason why someone becomes addicted to something in the first place – it feels good! But when the consequences (hangovers, warnings at work, effects on a marriage, and other negative effects) begin to outweigh the pleasure, that’s when someone might consider calling for help.
When Your Considering Getting Help
But even when someone considers asking for help, it’s often not until something drastic happens that they wake up to the necessity of getting addiction help. In fact, if you’re an addict and considering entering an addiction treatment center, you might have heard a similar statement to the following:
If you continue using, it will be hard. If you stop using, it will be hard. But if you stop using, at some point, it will get easier.
That doesn’t leave a person with very good options – both are hard. Plus, this statement points to the ambivalence that addicts can feel. Somehow they already know that either route is going to be challenging.
However, one of the two options indicates light at the end of the tunnel. And with that light comes promise, hope, change, and renewal. Sure, the light is far off, but at least it becomes clear which direction to start moving in.
Nonetheless, even if you’ve arrived at this insight, you might still find yourself stuck in ambivalence. You might want to quit because of the destructive cycle you find yourself in. At the same time, you don’t want to quit because of the ways that drinking and/or drug use helps you cope with life.
Ambivalence can keep a person stuck in their addiction for many years. It’s easier to keep doing what you’re doing then to make a change in a different direction.
How to Get Addiction Help
- Work with a therapist who specializes in addiction. Motivational interviewing as well as harm reduction are two forms of therapy that can address the ambivalence an addict too often experiences. Find a therapist that specializes in one or both of these techniques to help you break out of your cycle of ambivalence.
- Write out the pros and cons of using and not using. It’s easy to have a bunch of thoughts in our heads. Sometimes you would never quit and at other times you’re ready to pick up the phone to get help. But if you put your thoughts down on paper and compare the pros and cons, you might be surprised. You might find that answer is right in front of you.
- Talk to someone you trust. If you’re not ready to go to a mental health professional, at least get your feelings out by talking to someone who won’t be judgmental. Give yourself an opportunity to hear yourself, and by doing so, you might find that your ambivalence decreases.
These are a few suggestions to consider if you’re weighed down by ambivalence. What’s most important to remember is that addiction can get worse over time. If you don’t get help now; you might find yourself asking for help later.
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