Transitioning from a life centered on drug addiction or alcoholism to a life centered on sobriety is a monumental shift. Many substance abusers used drugs or alcohol to mask feelings of depression or mental health problems. Facing life on life’s terms can feel overwhelming. Those feelings that were masked by substances can feel intolerable at any stage of sobriety.
According to an article in Psychology Today, “Substance abuse not only increases the likelihood that a person will take their own life, but it is also used as a means for committing suicide. Roughly one in three people who die from suicide are under the influence of drugs, typically opiates such as oxycodone or heroin, or alcohol.”
We know that depression rates are two to four times higher among addicts than the general population. These rates are the same for sober addicts. With depression prevalent in sobriety, there is an increased risk of suicide as a way out if things get too rough. Here are some steps you can take if you are having thoughts of suicide in sobriety:
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255. It is available around the clock for life saving support.
- Be honest about it. This doesn’t mean you have to share at your 12 step group. It can mean sharing with a trusted counselor, sponsor, or friend that you need help. We are as sick as our secrets.
- Remember suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
- Create a gratitude list. The sun is warm. My limbs work. I’m sober.
- See a doctor or psychiatrist. Suicide is often a symptom of untreated mental illness. Sometimes medication is necessary.
- See a counselor or therapist. Having someone you can speak with one on one about what is troubling you can be valuable.
- Create a no harm contract with someone you trust. In this contract you can make a list of 3 people to call if you feel suicidal as well as a signed promise not to harm yourself for a certain period of time.
- Ask for divine guidance. Prayer can alleviate stress. Your prayer may be as simple as, “a little help?”
Facing life sober can feel completely overwhelming. There may be unpaid bills, health problems, financial problems, and relationship problems. There is hope. If you are sober and having thoughts of suicide, know you are not alone. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. There are counselors available 24 hours a day to support you. You can also seek treatment at any emergency room. You are not alone.
One step at a time, one day at a time, you can recover. At Design For Change, we offer refuge to those seeking to win against addiction because there is freedom in recovery. There is hope. Call us today to learn more about our long-term treatment programs and recovery services creating change, one step at a time. (877) 267-3646