Hi, my name’s Parker and I am an addict.
OK, so I don’t go around introducing myself as an addict, but I wish it were that easy to admit. The truth is, though, that I am an addict. A substance abuser. I have been for arguably my entire life (I believe being an addict is a chemical balance/imbalance that we have to learn to control), but it wasn’t until I turned 21 that I really realized I was an addict.
Looking back, I can see all of the signs. I started self-harming at a young age, started smoking cigarettes irregularly at about 14, which is also when I started drinking and smoking weed. Little 14-year-old-me didn’t know these were all attributes of an addict-in-the-making so to speak, but adult me definitely knows they were. Through the years, I continued turning to substances and self-harm to cope with what was happening in my life.
Recently, I realized that I was an alcoholic. I was drinking every chance I could and couldn’t stop at just one beer. I couldn’t just enjoy a drink, I had to get plastered. When I did realize this, I got really scared. There’s an individual who used to be a part of my life that was an alcoholic in denial and I don’t want to be anything like them.
This was a pivotal time for me. I had a major choice to make – ignore my alcoholism and continue on with my life, or stop myself and get some help? Luckily, I chose the latter. I’m not going to lie, it is a difficult change to make, but I know I have to make it. Dealing with my emotions and, overall, my life, is way more beneficial than getting hammered to ignore the bad things in life.
I want everyone to know that there is absolutely no shame in admitting you’re an addict. In fact, it’s very admirable in my eyes. Admitting you need help is by far the first step, and I know you can make it.
If you are struggling with addiction, please ask for help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has lots of great resources including treatment services locator. And of course, you can also call or chat with the Lifeline.