Hopelessness can frequently come with the illness of addiction. It is a feeling of darkness for many people. For example, when a person feels they don’t have a future or that nothing is going to change it’s easy to lose hope. You might describe hope as a feeling of expectation or having a desire that something is going to happen. When you have hope you know that the future will be different than it is today. There is a sense of possibility even when all seems lost. Yet, with addiction and the downward spiral of destruction that it can cause, it can be easy for someone to lose hope.
One of the most important things a family member, friend, or service professional can do is to instill hope in those they care about. When a person has even a glimmer of hope, they might make different choices, seek to get treatment, and perhaps work towards bettering their relationships. However, sometimes, a person needs to find hope themselves. They might need to find a way to feeling like there’s a possibility in life for change, growth, and healing. It’s certainly hard to find hope when you don’t have any. However, there are some steps that a person can take to help uncover hope even in the darkest of places.
Talk to others who have experienced addiction and/or depression. If you know of someone who has also struggled with an addiction, or even someone who is currently experiencing addiction, discover what they have to say. You might hear them say that they really want to get treatment. You might hear them say that they have a lot of hope for the future (which can inspire hope in you) but that they’re building up the courage to get the help they need. Or you might hear them say that they have a lot of hope for you and that they can see you clean, sober, and happy.
Watch a movie about addiction and recovery. There are some incredible movies about a person’s journey with addiction and how they overcame it. Movies like these can be inspirational and might be able to ignite a light of hope inside.
Journal. Some mental health professionals believe that each person innately knows how to heal and that by listening closely to themselves they can find their way back to the light. Although addiction and other types of mental illness can feel quite dark, by exploring yourself more deeply through journaling you might find a way back to where you want to be. At the very least, you might recognize what you need to do to get there.
These are a few suggestions for instilling hope for yourself. Of course, talking to a mental health professional can also help. Believe it or not, it’s possible for others to hold a sense of hope for you until you can find it yourself. If you don’t have a family member or a friend, a therapist can be the lighthouse that helps to safely guide you back home to yourself.
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