Male Survivors

Male Survivors

What to do if you think you’re addicted

  • It may seem obvious, but make a decision that you want to deal with it. Talk through the decision with someone you trust.
  • Remember that the addiction has served a purpose. It has helped you survive.
  • Seriously consider professional help. Getting over addictions is very hard. In the case of alcohol/drugs it can even involve going somewhere to ‘dry out’.
  • Reach out to people around you who you can trust. This may include friends, a therapist or counsellor, professionals, or family members. When you break an addiction you can feel very distressed. It’s important to be able to talk about this.
  • Make sure you’re doing something about flashbacks, panic, sleep problems. When you break an addiction these symptoms can really hit you. If you’ve not found ways to handle them you might be tempted to go straight back to the addiction.
  • If you’re in counselling or therapy weigh up very carefully whether you’re able to explore your abuse whilst you’re still addicted. Whilst it’s necessary to talk about what happened to you it can also be extremely painful – so painful that you’re tempted to take more drink, drugs etc… to cope with the pain. Talk this through with your counsellor/therapist and with others you trust. There are no hard and fast rules. Some survivors have found it useful to sort out their addictions before therapy or in the very earliest stages of it.
  • Always remember that you did what you did to survive. Try to appreciate your great resourcefulness in surviving. Hold onto this thought if you feel guilty or ashamed about the ways you’ve coped.


You may find that you feel tense a lot of the time. You may feel ‘edgy’ or ‘jumpy’, things may startle you easily. When you have time to yourself you may feel ‘shaky’ and find yourself unable to relax.

This isn’t that surprising. As a child you may have had the experience of feeling continuously scared. You may have been always on the lookout for the abuser’s next move. Your body may have constantly expected danger to be just around the corner. When this happens in childhood the body becomes tense and learns to stay tense, even as an adult. After all, you may not have been given the opportunity to learn how to relax – it may simply not have been safe to let your guard down.

It’s important to try to learn to relax now. This is because :

  • Long-term, tension isn’t good for your physical health.
  • If we can’t relax by ourselves we sometimes turn to other ways of ‘relaxing’ like alcohol or drugs which can cause even more problems than the tension we are trying to get rid of.

Remember that learning to reduce physical tension isn’t easy and won’t happen overnight. Some techniques suit some people and don’t suit others. Experiment and find out what works for you.

Here are some suggestions :