Relieved happy man and woman embrace give support during therapy

Many people with a substance use disorder can feel alone and afraid to reach out for help. It can be hard to acknowledge you’re struggling, feeling vulnerable, or admit that you have a problem. Asking for help can be intimidating, but it may be a brave first step that can change your life for the better. Here are some ways to overcome fear and tap into your support system for help starting the recovery journey.

Write out your feelings. If it seems too difficult to ask for help in person, writing down your feelings is a great way to acknowledge the problem. It will also help you organize your thoughts when it is time to have a conversation with a friend, family member, treatment provider, or other helper.

Reach out to a loved one. Talking to someone you trust about your substance use disorder is an important step toward recovery. If you have struggled with substance use for a while, you may realize not everyone you meet while having used substances can be trusted. Think about who in your life is really there to support you and reach out to them. This person will most likely be relieved you’ve asked for help. They can provide support on your journey through recovery. Knowing that someone is rooting for you might help you stay motivated to continue in recovery.

Look for support groups. There is no such thing as too much support when you are in recovery from substance use disorder. Once you’ve realized you need help, finding people with similar experiences who can guide you on the journey is crucial. Many people worry about sharing their experiences due to shame or embarrassment, but seeking out mentors and peers who have also struggled with a substance use disorder can help with this fear. Some of the specialists at CleanSlate are also in recovery and have knowledge of what it is like to experience a substance use disorder. Offering a safe space for patients to get help and build community is part of our mission to provide care without judgement.

Talk to a medical professional. Talking to a professional is the best way to get honest answers about a substance use disorder and learn about the next steps in recovery. Consulting with a medical or behavioral health professional will allow them to assess the severity of your substance use disorder and the best path forward.

It is natural to have doubts. If you are nervous about seeking out support remember:

  • Asking for help takes strength.
  • Be honest with yourself and your support system.
  • It is never too late to ask for help.

No matter how long you have struggled with a substance use disorder, recovery is always possible. Call 833-505-HOPE or visit to find a CleanSlate location near you.

Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith is a licensed clinical addiction counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist. He serves as Care Coordination Supervisor in Fort Wayne, Indiana.