Creating Your Success Story: Seeking Alcohol or Drug Treatment

Every story has a beginning. Heroes, survivors, and dreamers take the first step when they know it’s time to move forward. They don’t know what will happen after they begin their journey. Despite knowing they will face challenges, plot twists, and obstacles, they take those first steps.

A burning desire to transform our lives by ceasing destructive habits and replacing them with healthy ones is essential as we begin our journey. Some reasons we decide we need to change are: 

  • Exhaustion from hiding our alcohol or substance abuse;
  • Hitting “rock bottom,” damaging relationships with friends and loved ones and finding ourselves devoid of feeling or self-worth;
  • Not recognizing who we are.

We don’t know what will happen in the future, but we have the chance to change how we face our future. Change, taking the first steps on a journey, begins when we become completely honest with ourselves and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. 

Beginning the Journey to Getting Clean

Often, we are reluctant to try something new because we are hesitant to step outside of our comfort zone. No matter how unhealthy or dysfunctional, the lives we are used to feeling safer than the unknown. However, we don’t need to dive into the new headfirst; we can take small steps. 

Has a friend invited you to attend a group dedicated to helping with mental health issues, alcohol or substance addiction? Ask yourself why they are reaching out to you. Sometimes joining your friend is a way to explore how others cope with issues. When we open ourselves up to new experiences or listen to others talk about their experiences, we recognize our behavior patterns. We begin our exploration in transforming our lives.

Think about your current life. You may recognize negative behavior patterns – some of which hurt you more than others. Do any of those behaviors suggest you have an issue with addiction? Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • Urges to drink or use substances to block emotions
  • The need to drink or use substances regularly or frequently
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or substances in an attempt to recreate the feeling you experienced the first time you drank or used a substance
  • Keeping a steady supply of alcohol or substance(s) available
  • Failing to meet responsibilities at work or in your personal life
  • Failed attempts to stop drinking or using substances

Substance abuse is often a response to or can exacerbate mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. Here are some symptoms to be aware of:

  • Depression
    • Feeling sad, hopeless, teary, or empty
    • Sudden angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration
    • A loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
    • Suicidal ideations
    • Feeling worthless, guilty, or self-blame
  • Anxiety
    • Feeling tense or restless
    • A sense of doom or panic
    • Excessive worry
    • An increased heart rate, breathing pattern, sweating
    • Trouble sleeping 

Individual or group therapy is a good starting point to address these symptoms. Whether you are active in a group or treatment, discuss your options with a trained professional. Find a group or therapist you feel comfortable with and keep going.

The Journey to Sobriety

A journey to wellness is seldom smooth. We will fail or face twists and turns as we travel our path. Learning to accept and cope with obstacles is essential to keep moving forward. The approach we choose is ours and ours alone. No one else will follow our exact route to recovery. Our journeys will be as unique as we are. We will seek different routes, experiences and ways to remain dedicated to our well-being. We must embrace our strengths and acknowledge our weaknesses, so we can make them strengths. 

Our inner goodwill exists even if we don’t believe in ourselves. Surrounding ourselves with those who believe in us and want to help us find our light is essential. Find a group or a therapist who sees your kindness and grant them a chance to help. Remember, you are taking the steps necessary to accept who you are. A few ways to change how you view yourself are:

  • Exercise – Whether you resume activities that once brought you joy or a sense of well-being or try something new, make exercise a habit. Dedicate time each day, every other day, or once a week to engaging in this activity. Schedule it on your calendar, so you are sure to have the time. 
  • Find Focus – Let go of everything and find your inner focus. Relax your mind, relax your body, and listen to what they are saying. The act of slowing down, emptying your mind, and listening creates the capacity to focus. A few ways to focus on relaxing are:
    • Tai Chi
    • Meditation
    • Connecting with nature
    • Journaling
    • Painting, pottery, or another form of creativity

Achievement through Recovery

You may reach a point when you finish treatment, though that will not end your recovery journey. Still, it is important to take stock of what you have achieved. Measure your success by the steps you took, the faith you have developed in yourself, and the healthy behaviors you learned. Even as you celebrate, keep in mind that recovery is a process. An essential part of your achievement is remembering you are always changing. Recovery isn’t an ending; it just the beginning. Maintaining a relationship with your group or therapist is essential for your continued success. As you build on what you learned, you will develop a greater awareness of your needs and how to attend to them. You will become the hero of your own story, a survivor and dreamer who perseveres in your quest to flourish.


We can achieve so much in our lives when we take a small step toward our future, creating our own success story. Cliffside Malibu will help you find your way to recovery. We provide group, individual and holistic therapies. We believe you are unique and will create a treatment plan that reflects your needs. For more information, call (855) 403-5641.