1 way to go when you’re at rock bottom
Dear Annie: I am writing to you looking for help with substance abuse. I would like to find a natural way of releasing myself totally from this disease, as well as from crushing grief I’m experiencing from loss.
I recently lost my kids’ father. I have taken it really hard, to the point that I lost myself. A part of me has so many regrets from all the wrong I did in my relationship because of my substance abuse. He thought I was against him, and I completely wasn’t. I was stuck in an addiction. I spoke negatively of him to some mutual friends, but that was because of my addiction, my selfishness and my need for instant gratification and validation. I regret that.
Since he passed away, I’ve truly lost the ability to look forward most days. My heart is so heavy with the pain I caused him with my substance abuse, lies and unfaithfulness.
I would really appreciate it if you could refer me to someone for help in dealing with grief and finding a way to mend the past and accept that he’s dead and in a better place so I can move on and hopefully have a future. I don’t want to see myself sitting in this same place next year. I want to see myself reaching up and building my self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth. I want to actually believe that I am somebody and deserve to find a better place in society and, more importantly, a better place within myself. — Lost
Dear Lost: Hitting rock bottom is painful. But it’s also powerful. As cliched as it sounds, it’s true: There’s nowhere to go but up.
I strongly encourage you to see a therapist. If that’s not feasible for you at this point, please consider attending a 12-step program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, where you might find peace in surrender and strength in solidarity. You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 24/7 National Helpline, at 800-662-4357, for referral to resources and treatment available in your state.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
Dear Annie: You didn’t give any specifics to “Crowded Canal,” the woman who wasn’t sure how to get friends to stop using her house essentially like a free vacation rental. I totally understand “Crowded Canal’s” difficulty with saying a simple “no.” Perhaps she could tell her self-inviters: “We are worn-out from having so much company lately. It seems everyone is asking to visit, and I’m having trouble keeping up with all the cooking and cleaning. I’d be happy to meet you out for dinner if you come to town, because I would love to see you and could use a meal out for a change.” Maybe they’d get the hint and see themselves in the mirror. — Robin
Dear Robin: In an ideal world, one shouldn’t feel compelled to provide explanations for having boundaries. There’s really nothing wrong with simply saying “no.” But we don’t live in an ideal world, and the line you suggested is a good compromise.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.