Desperation leads us to rash or extreme behavior. As addicts and alcoholics, we aren’t unfamiliar with being desperate or in a state of despair. Fully chemically dependent on drugs and alcohol, the need to get high or drunk permeating every ounce of our being- we’ve been desperate. Dope sick, hungover, shaking, sweating, craving, obsessing- we’ve been through desperation. Eventually, the desperation shifts. Suddenly, we aren’t desperate to get high or drunk anymore, we’re desperate to find a way not to. Desperation is called a gift in recovery because many feel that their drinking and using hasn’t become a desperate situation yet. For those who realize desperate times call for desperate measures, their lives can be saved.
Despair is defined as “the complete loss or absence of hope”. Drinking and drug use once gave us hope. We had hope that we wouldn’t have to feel the pain and discomfort we were feeling inside of ourselves. We hoped that since we couldn’t make pain go away, drugs and alcohol would do it for us. When we started experiencing symptoms of withdrawal like shaking without a drink or getting sick without a drug we hoped it would go away. Hope against hope kept us continuing to abuse substances with the ignorant outlook that it wouldn’t get any worse. It did. It always does.
Finally a moment came when we completely lost hope in our drug and alcohol. They stop working. Hope is completely abandoned when tolerance reaches such a threshold that there’s no way to get drunk or high. We feel hopeless when we try to take matters into our own hands and attempt to quit. Quickly we find, that’s a hopeless situation as well because we cannot stop. This is desperation. We can’t keep using. We can’t make quit on our own. We are in anguish.
To most people who have never experienced the living terror of being in such a state because of drugs and alcohol, this might not sound like a gift. The gift of desperation is the gift of losing hope in drugs and alcohol in order to find hope in recovery. Without the gift of desperation, many people continue to search for hope in all the wrong places. Tragically, with harmful substances like drugs and alcohol, this can be a fatal attempt.
Hope exists in recovery. If you’re desperate for change, there is an answer. Design For Change offers residential treatment programs and multiple levels of care in addition to other recovery services. Everyone is capable of change. Everyone is capable of recovery. Call (877) 267-3646 for more information.