If you think you’ve got a problem with meth, recognizing that you have a problem is the first step in getting help.
A lot of people think they can kick meth and other drugs on their own, but that’s not going to work for most people. To get started, you need to find someone you can trust to discuss your
problem with. A friend or loved one can be a good option at first, particularly if you think they can help you without being judgmental or trying to use your problem to control you. A supportive and understanding person outside of your family or friends may be your best option, especially if that person has faced a problem with meth before. If you can’t talk to your significant other, a sibling
or a parent, you may want to approach a counselor, a doctor, a religious leader, a former user on the road to recovery, or a hotline operator.
So, how do you ask for help? Try nine simple words “I have a problem, and I need your help.” Practice those words over and over until you can say them to the person you want to turn to for help. If your intended helper doesn’t know you use meth, or even if he or she does know, you need to continue: “My problem is meth.” Saying it is very powerful—you take your problem out of your head and puts it where others can help. There! It’s not a secret anymore, and you’ve asked someone for help. Now, to make certain that you get the help you need to deal with your problem, here are some things you can do to make getting help for you easier on the person you asked. Have a vision of what “help” means to you right now.
If you still need to talk with someone to figure out what that “help” is, ask your helper to help you find and show up for either a Crystal Meth Anonymous meeting or a counselor. You can start by looking at http://www.crystalmeth.org/
If you just want to get your use to a level where it isn’t running your life, tell your helper that you want to learn to use less. Let them know that you want to cut back on your use and ask them to help you find a “harm reduction” program or specialist. In the D.C. area, you can start by calling Whitman-Walker Clinic’s Crisis Intervention Line at 202-797-4444.
If you want to stop using completely, tell your helper that you want treatment to stop using and what type of insurance you have, if any. Don’t let a lack of money or
insurance stand in your way, though. Let your helper know that there are lists of
treatment centers available online at http://dasis3.samhsa.gov/ or by calling 1-800-662-4357 Have this guide handy when you ask for help, too. If emotions keep you from saying too much, you can always point to words on the page to ask for help and to describe the help you need. The website at the bottom of this page can help your helper and you, too!
Overcoming a drug problem is not easy. Quitting drugs is probably going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it will be one of the things you’re most proud of having done, too.
It’s not a sign of weakness if you need professional help from a trained drug counselor or therapist. Most people who try to kick a drug or alcohol program need professional assistance or treatment programs to meet their goals.
Once you decide start a treatment program–whether inpatient or outpatient or through 12-step meetings (CMA)–try these tips to make the road to recovery less bumpy: Tell your friends about your decision to stop using drugs. Real friends will respect your decision. But also keep in mind that you may need to find new friends who will be 100% supportive. Unless all of your friends get off drugs together, you won’t be able to
hang out with the buds you got high with before. It may hurt like hell to give up your friends, but you’re choosing the life you want for yourself, not they life that they want you to have. Ask your friends or family to be available when you need them. You may need to call someone in the middle of the night just to talk. If you’re going through a tough time, don’t try to handle things on your own — accept the help your family and friends offer. Accept only invitations to events that you know won’t involve drugs. Going to the movies is probably safe, but you may want to skip a Friday night party until you’re feeling more secure. Plan activities that don’t involve drugs. Go to the movies or to museums,
try bowling, or take a class with a friend.
Have a plan about what you’ll do if you find yourself in a place with drugs. The
temptation will be there eventually, but if you know how you’re going to handle it, you’ll
be OK. Establish a plan with your friends and family so that if you call home using a
code, they’ll know that your call is a signal you need to get out where you are fast.
Remind yourself that having a drug problem doesn’t make you bad or weak. If you
slip up and use a bit, talk a counselor or someone in your treatment program as soon as
possible. There’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it’s important to recognize the slip
quickly so that all of the hard work you put into your recovery is not lost.
If you’re worried about a friend who has an addiction, use these tips to help him or her, too. For
example, let your friend know that you are available to talk or offer your support. If you notice a
friend using again, talk about it openly and ask what you can do to help. If your friend is going
back to drugs and won’t accept your help, don’t be afraid to talk to a counselor. It may seem like
you’re ratting your friend out, but it’s the best support you can offer.
Above all, offer a friend who’s battling a drug problem lots of encouragement and praise. It may
seem corny, but hearing that you care is just the kind of motivation your friend needs.
Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction doesn’t end with a 6-week treatment program. It’s a
lifelong process. Many people find that joining a support group can help them stay clean. There
are support groups specifically for teens and younger people, too. You’ll meet people who have
gone through the same experiences you have, and you’ll be able to participate in real-life
discussions about drugs that you won’t hear elsewhere.
Many people find that helping others is also the best way to help themselves. Your
understanding of how difficult the recovery process can be will help you to support others —
both teens and adults — who are battling an addiction.
If you do have a relapse, recognizing the problem as soon as possible is critical. Get help right
away so that you don’t undo all the hard work you put into your initial recovery. And don’t ever
be afraid to ask for help!
Distributed by the D.C. Crystal Meth Working Group www.letstalkaboutmeth.org