There were people in my life who wanted me to get sober long before I did. Your friends, partners, or family can very much want you to change, but it won’t happen until you’re ready.
There’s an idea that people only get sober after they hit rock bottom, but this is a myth. Sure, it happens like that for some people, but it’s certainly not the only experience. People have many ways of getting sober and lots of different reasons for doing so. The only thing that has to happen, unless you are forced to get sober by the state, is your readiness.
When making a big life change like getting sober, “ready” doesn’t always mean psyched or unambivalent. I planned to get sober a month in advance, and during that time I told people in my life who might support me. But I often added a caveat like, “I’m not totally sure I’ll do it,” or “I don’t know how long this will last.” I felt very at my wit’s end with active addiction and excited about what might change if I quit, but I was reluctant. That was as ready as I would ever be.
I’d had moments I might now consider “rock bottoms” throughout my substance use, but it wasn’t linear. Some periods were worse than others. When I decided to get sober, it had been an accumulation of hard things–and things that pointed to addiction–over time.
For the most part, drinking was no longer fun. This often happens with addiction; your brain learns to crave drugs or alcohol, even as they are no longer pleasurable. You drink or use drugs only to feel “normal” or to stave off withdrawal, not to feel good. I couldn’t imagine my life without alcohol, but I wasn’t enjoying drinking. The consequences of it were also outweighing any “fun.” If this is how it’s feeling for you, you might be ready.
In fact, if you’re thinking about it at all, you might be starting to accept the idea of sobriety. The Stages of Change model of addiction recovery has a phase called “contemplation,” which can last months or years. In this stage, you are open to receiving resources and information about sobriety, but are still unsure.
At this stage, it’s helpful to ask yourself some questions, like: why do you want to enter recovery? What is preventing you from doing so? What do you think you could gain from sobriety? What help could you seek out in making this change? If you have a therapist, they can guide you through these questions and help you explore your answers.
If you are contemplating getting sober, it’s likely because something about your drinking or drug use is making you unhappy. It’s okay to consider recovery because of that, even if you haven’t hit what you’d consider a “bottom.”
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for mental health disorders and addiction in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build a great life in recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 833.641.0572.