One Louisiana woman was arrested on drug charges after a search warrant was executed and released within 24 hours. A few weeks later, she was charged with a Class D felony possession of cocaine as well as possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia with bail set at $5,000. Rather than try to evade arrest, she came forward and turned herself in, posted bond, and prepared to move forward on addressing the issue proactively.
To many, this act demonstrates a commitment to making the situation right. Even if her choices in the past were not the most positive, her choice to turn herself in shows that she is ready to begin making healthier choices now and in the future. Not only will this likely serve her well when she faces the judge, but it will also help her on a personal level as she resets her course and begins the process of creating a new life for herself that is not defined by drug use and abuse.
If you are considering taking steps to address your own issues with drug use and make a fresh start in recovery, you too may benefit from “turning yourself in” and taking the initiative to start a comprehensive addiction treatment program. There are many things to take into consideration as you determine which path forward is right for you. Here are a just a few things to keep in mind as you begin this process.
You Are Not Escaping the Past but Processing It
Part of the process of growing in recovery comes with a commitment to address past choices however is most appropriate to facilitate positive movement forward. That is, if legal problems associated with drug use and abuse are an issue, then it becomes important for the individual to find out how to follow and meet legal requirements. The person has to prioritize doing everything possible to avoid further police contact and manage responsibilities associated with past charges.
This can also mean addressing trauma and abuse that may have occurred prior to or during active addiction, learning how to manage the symptoms (e.g., anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, etc.) so they do not continue to be a trigger for relapse.
It can also mean actively taking responsibility for choices made during addiction that harmed others, reaching out to those people when possible and appropriate, and “making amends” or otherwise working through those issues for the purpose of moving forward.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders Is Essential
Addiction is not just the use of drugs and alcohol. It indicates an underlying problem in behavior management that may happen to manifest through heavy drug and alcohol use. This behavior management issue is a brain disease that can be treated, but when it co-occurs with other mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, eating disorders, etc.), it is essential that both the addiction disorder and the co-occurring disorder are treated simultaneously. In this way, the mental health symptoms that trigger cravings for drugs and alcohol or other addiction behaviors can be managed healthfully, giving you the opportunity to address other issues you may be facing as you start over in recovery.
Patience Is Key
You did not develop an addiction disorder overnight, and it will take more than a few weeks to quit some of the old behaviors that are harming you and learn new ones that are healthier. It is possible, however, and with time and persistence and a solid support system helping you to stay on track, you will begin to change how you view the world, yourself, and your purpose for being here.
You Are in Control of Your Future
Though you may not be able to reverse your addiction on your own or to simply choose to just stop engaging in addiction behaviors without treatment and support, you are still in control of your choices and the direction your life will take from this day forward. You have the ability to decide what you will do next, no matter what you did this morning, yesterday, or last year. There is no one to blame for where you are or what heights you will or will not reach; there is just you, ready to accept responsibility for your choices, to accept who you are and what you’ve been through, and to begin making each choice that arises based on the healthiest option available.
Are you in control of your life? Are you ready to learn how to be?