There's almost a direct correlation between mental health issues and addictive behavior. It's no secret that when you suffer from mental illness, you'll do just about anything to clear your mind when your illness starts acting up, and this many times includes engaging in addict behaviors. In fact, the Foundations Recovery Network states, "The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) reports that there is a 'definite connection between mental illness and the use of addictive substances'," where people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness account for the majority of alcohol, tobacco and cocaine use. This doesn't even include other drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine and controlled substances which many people who suffer from mental illness are also addicted to.
There's a plethora of research done on this topic and I could write about it all day, but that's another topic for another article. Today I want to talk about how this affects someone trying to start or maintain a career.
I know firsthand how it feels to curl in a ball on the bed, crying my eyes out, wishing I didn't have to go to work in the morning -- wishing I could go get a fix instead because it seems like the only thing that will make me feel better. I also know that if I was to do so, I would lose everything I've fought so hard to achieve since I've been clean, including finally starting my career. Lots of nights are spent in an odd sense of nostalgia for the life I used to live, even though there's nothing there to remember fondly because it's what I was used to for so long. Despite everything, there was a sense of safety in the addict lifestyle. This is probably because when you're high you don't have to think about the seriousness of what's happening in your life. All you're thinking about is having fun and not addressing the monsters in your head. But it's time to let go of those thoughts and memories or you'll never move forward. Easier, said than done though... I know.
Having a career, 8-5 in the office and new responsibilities are scary, which makes me want to pack up everything and run for the hills... But, I know i can't. And neither should you.
Not everyone gets clean and actually makes a real future for themselves, which is a shame, but if you're strong enough to get out of the cycle in the first place then you have to continue being strong enough to stay out of the cycle. A career and a future is more important than a temporary fix that could send you straight back down the rabbit hole. It's not worth losing all the progress you've made.
The life ahead of you is so much greater than a life you would live if you gave back into your addiction. A greater career, goals, a future, a healthy life and family, and so much more are waiting for you when you continue with your career goals and don't give back into addiction.
Also, never forget there are several resources for someone in recovery. There are websites and apps to find meetings (AA and NA), therapy, medication (for any mental illnesses if applicable) and even just calling the hotline can help during a particularly difficult time. The number for a 24/7 addiction hotline is (888) 459-5511.
We all fall off the wagon sometimes, but what's important is that you get back up and don't let it ruin the wonderful life you're making for yourself by staying clean. You're doing great.
Drug Addiction Hotline Number
SAMHSA national hotline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) offers information on addiction and free referral services in English and Spanish 24 hours a day.
Helpline number 1-800-487-4889 is available to people with hearing impairment for information on substance abuse 24 hours a day.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America runs a drug hotline for parents 1-855-DRUG-FREE (378-4373) during business hours.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hope Line 1-800-NCA-CALL (622-2255) for assistance with affiliate programs nationwide.
Mental Health Disorder Helplines
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be called on 1-800-273-TALK (8255) around-the-clock by individuals with suicidal ideation.
The National Mental Health Association's number 1-800-969-6642 is available during business hours for questions about mental health issues.
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders at 1-847-831-3438 (not toll-free) is available during business hours.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) available during business hours for questions on mental health issues and treatment options.
24 Hour Alcohol Abuse Hotline
Alcohol hotline number 1-800-331-2900
Drug and alcohol abuse helpline 1-888-506-0699
Alcoholics Anonymous helpline by zip code