The title of your post requests not being judged, and I very much understand that feeling. I've been lucky to have friends that have been able to help me and support me, and they've never judged me. I'm so thankful because, as I've communicated with them, addition is seldom the cause in itself, but instead very often the symptom of something. For me, it's the symptom of mental health issues and complex PTSD. I've been in cycles like what you're describing, and I just kept coming back to pills and alcohol because given enough clean time, I'd always return to idealizing the high I used to be able to get and then that would inevitably eventually lead to using again. I will say that after 1.5 years of working with a skilled trauma therapist along with a psychiatrist, I feel like I finally have found a better recipe for longer clean time. I also started attending AA meetings. Much of the language is total crap, in my opinion. They use very archaic paradigms for addiction which can really end up shaming people, and those paradigms are so outdated when it comes to what new research is saying. I'm speaking so poorly of AA, and yet... YET... I use it. Why? I'm not sure. I think it's because it doesn't matter to me what language the other people are using since I know we come together around the same issue. Also, many of them have significant periods of sobriety under their belt, so something's gotta be working for them.
I sure do wish this site was more active these days, because it used to be a great place to find community. I feel like community is really important to recovery. I still obviously come here occasionally, and you might notice that I've been coming here a very long time. However, I also do use another website with chat for strictly male survivors of sexual assault. I mention that because I needed not only a place like this where I could talk freely about addiction and not be judged, but I also needed that for talking about my traumatic experiences. People in my everyday life do support me and listen, though I've only just started opening up to them. Even so, none of them really "get it". So, to summarize, my must successful recipe has been finding a couple friends who can be a support and share things in moderation with them. I've also been seeing a therapist every week and a psychiatrist, as well as addressing underlying mental health issues which definitely were fueling my use. Finally, I've really engaged with support groups of all kinds- AA, this forum, the survivor site, texting helplines when I feel mental unwell or an struggling with urges (they're free for both), and other things too.
How well is all this working? Well, I've been off my drug of choice since May without any significant urges to get it back. That's not something I've ever been able to say before. I can't make it out to be a smooth ride, though. I've had some not good situations with alcohol too. However, even though it's still a bumpy ride, I feel more capable and empowered than ever before. That all would also be overwhelming to try to start all at once. I've been working the past year and a half to build that support system. It takes time, but it's possible. The biggest thing - you're not alone, and just because you're struggling with addiction does not mean you should be judged for it.
Thanks for your post. I hope you'll find this place to be helpful. :)
Ahh, my sweet friend. This is indeed a vicious cycle. That you WANT to is a great thing. How to is hard. Is there any way you can get into treatment? Even outpatient if you can't afford inpatient. Getting off opioids, they have replacement meds to help you but nothing like that really exists for crack. I'm serious about considering an outpatient treatment program as that has been known to help with crack cravings and addiction. I've read that outpatient is just as effective as inpatient for this. You may need a small dose of antidepressant or anti anxiety medication. That helps with the regulation of your dopamine. Have you ever done CBT for exactly this? One thing I'm concerned about is what seems to be a lack of support for you.