The Power of Not Giving Up
Failure. Losing hope. Giving up. These are all common themes an addict deals with while going through the pitfalls created by addiction. Unfortunately for the loved ones of the addict, these elements associated with addiction aren’t exclusive to the person using drugs. Often parents, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters will ponder what they’ve done to fail their loved one struggling with addiction, lose hope that things will ever get better, and feel the urge to simply give up. Give up trying, give up hoping, give up helping—sometimes even attempt to give up loving. Addiction affects everyone involved, and it’s easy to start believing that giving up is the only thing left to do. I know because I’ve been there. My family has been there. I believed I had exhausted all options and that I was marching towards the inevitable result of complete ruin.
When I first started seeking help for addiction 11 years before I got clean for good, I had a lot of support; support from friends, friends of friends, girlfriends, and most importantly, my family. I was scared at the time to ask for help because I was afraid of how I would be judged for having allowed my life to get to the point it was at. The thing that surprised me the most (which in hindsight isn’t all that shocking) is that the people who mattered most and were closest to me already knew I needed help and they were relieved, possibly even thrilled, that I was seeking help and attempting to get my life together. The outpouring of support was overwhelming, which made the failure of staying clean and sober devastating, not just to me, but to the people I made empty promises to and the ones who believed in me.
With each attempt at treatment and with each subsequent relapse and slide into full-blown addiction, the support began to dwindle. The number of people in my corner became smaller until it was just a select few that, for reasons I may never completely understand, refused to give up on me. My parents, hurt as they were and as lost as they felt, never missed an opportunity to tell me they knew my life had a bigger plan than being wasted as an addict. They saw something in me that I struggled to see in myself, and with their belief, along with a few others, it made it far more difficult for me to give up on myself.
There were certainly times when I just wanted to throw in the towel when it came to the possibility of achieving a better life, times when it felt like all hope had been sucked out of me and that I was destined to die alone, driven to an early grave by the depths of my addiction. But with every moment of despair, there were also glimmers of a better life, a life which at times seemed like a fantasy but also one that could become real if only I made the changes needed to make it happen.
“I was able to find the power to not give up by seeing the people that I loved not give up on me.”
Sometimes we find strength in other people and for me, while living with addiction, I was able to find the power to not give up by seeing the people that I loved not give up on me.
The relationships with those individuals such as my parents were not healthy during my addiction. How could they be? But the people who stayed in my corner through everything and continued to love and support me are the ones I now have a better relationship with than ever before. They helped give me the strength to make the changes that have made me the person I am today, a person living a drug-free life full of possibilities and healthy relationships. None of this would have been possible had I given up on myself and if the people I loved hadn’t shown they weren’t giving up on me.
Addiction is a scary place for all involved. Seeking treatment and finding the right help can seem like a frightening proposition, especially when a person has not sustained a drug-free life after going to treatment. However, from the perspective of someone who found the power of never giving up and who became drug free, there is nothing more worthwhile than not giving up on yourself or your loved one and in the end overcoming addiction.
If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.
Justin P.—Narconon Suncoast Graduate