Your Complete Addiction Hotline Guide
If you’re struggling with addiction, but aren’t sure where to turn for help, an addiction hotline may be the solution. These hotlines are there for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, all you really need is someone to talk to who won’t judge you. That’s what these 24-hour support hotlines are for. If you’ve never called a drug abuse hotline, though, you may be hesitant to reach out. Here are the basics of addiction hotlines and how they can help you.
What Are Addiction Hotlines?
An addiction hotline is a toll-free phone number you can call to talk to someone about your addiction. There are both statewide and nationwide hotlines. While each addiction hotline has its own methods and goals, they are all focused on helping callers recognize their addiction and get help for it.
These support hotlines want anyone who realizes they need help to call. That’s why they are free. It doesn’t matter if you need to talk for several hours—you won’t be charged anything. Someone is always ready to take your call, too. It doesn’t matter if you need to talk during the day, at three in the morning, or even on a holiday.
It is important to understand that the people who work at the hotline are not doctors. They aren’t rehab specialists or experts in dealing with addiction. They will listen and provide support, but they can’t prescribe medication or make any arrangements for treatment. However, they do have resources they can share so you can begin the next step in your journey to sobriety. Most hotlines also have a list of rehab facilities and other services they can transfer you to.
What Is The Goal Of An Addiction Hotline?
The only goal most addiction hotlines have is to help callers get help. They’re not there to sell a product or even endorse any particular treatment facility. Instead, their only purpose is to provide you with someone to listen. Ideally, after your conversation, you will seek out help. Even if you don’t, though, you can always call the hotline. It doesn’t matter if you have to call every day to talk to someone. As long as you’re trying to address your addiction, the hotline team is there to help.
We’re here to help, too. We partner with addiction treatment facilities to help those struggling with addiction get the help they need. If you’re ready to begin rehab, please reach out to us today. We will help you find the right treatment facility and get the help you need to live a sober life.
What Else Do You Need to Know About Addiction Hotlines?
Here are a few other things you should know about addiction hotlines:
• There is no restriction on who can call or how often you can call.
• They won’t keep any information on you, nor do you have to identify yourself. It’s fine to be anonymous.
• There are different hotlines for different addictions. For example, there is a specific hotline for cocaine addiction and another for alcohol addiction.
• Everything you say is completely confidential. The person you talk to will not share any information about you or discuss what you’ve talked about with others.
• Addiction hotlines are not overdose hotlines. If you believe you’ve overdosed, you should always call the National Poison Control Center or 911.
When Should You Call?
You can call an addiction hotline at any time. However, the best time to call is when you’ve decided you’re ready to get help with your addiction. That’s not to say you shouldn’t call any other time. You should call one of these addiction hotlines any time you need to talk about your drug or alcohol problem. When you’re ready to get clean, though, you’ll find addiction hotlines are very helpful in taking the first steps to sobriety.
Another good time to call is when you’ve realized that your health and your life are suffering. If you realize that your addiction is causing problems, reach out to a hotline. You may not be ready to quit yet, but you can listen to what the person has to say. They may give you insight into your habit that you haven’t been able to see. You may hang up the phone ready to get sober.
What Should You Expect When You Call an Addiction Hotline?
Getting up the courage to call an addiction hotline can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure what the process is like. You will likely be asked a few questions when you call:
• Are you safe? If you’re not, the hotline representative will suggest you call 911 or will transfer you.
• What drugs have you used?
• Do you have a co-occurring condition that affects your addiction?
• How long have you been using?
• How old are you?
• Are you ready to start treatment?
• If you are, they may ask you additional questions to help you find the right recovery program.
You don’t have to answer any of these questions. However, it does help the hotline employee provide you with more resources and better answers to any questions you may have. Again, hotline employees will not share any of your information. You are completely anonymous if you choose to be. Hotlines won’t call the police on you or send a social worker to your home. You won’t face any repercussions from calling addiction hotlines.
How Should You Prepare to Call an Addiction Hotline?
If you’re ready to make the call, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself:
• Find a quiet, private space to call. You don’t want to get interrupted or have someone overhear your call.
• Tell others that you will be on a call and shouldn’t be interrupted.
• If you can’t trust others not to interrupt, consider going for a walk, sitting in your car, or finding another private place to call.
• Set aside at least an hour to talk. You may not need all of that time, but it’s better to set aside too much time than too little.
• Be ready to get emotional. For some people, this will be the first time they fully open up about their addiction. It’s okay to cry and feel upset. The hotline representative won’t judge you.
• You may want to write down some things from the call, so it can help to have a pen and paper on hand.
• If you’re calling from a cell phone, make sure it’s charged or that you can plug it in if the battery gets low.
What Should You Say?
What you talk about on an addiction hotline is up to you. Most people start out by telling the person on the other end that they’re using drugs. Some people will admit that they’re addicted. Others may not. Some may wonder if they’re addicted and want to talk about the signs of addiction. The hotline team member will encourage you to discuss your drug use and to ask any questions you might have.
Don’t hold back your questions or thoughts because you think the hotline representative will judge you or think you’re stupid. Those who have worked at the addiction hotline have likely heard similar stories or questions before. They’re not there to judge you.
You do want to be as honest as possible on the hotline. Remember, no one is going to use any of the information you provide in any way. You’re completely safe, and everything you say is confidential. The person at the hotline center can’t fully help you or understand what you’re going through if you’re not honest. You don’t necessarily have to answer every question. In fact, there may be questions you just can’t answer at the time. That’s okay. But instead of lying, tell the person you aren’t sure or don’t know.
Don’t Get Embarrassed
You may have been told that showing emotion or admitting weakness is wrong. If you start to feel upset or emotional during your call, don’t feel embarrassed. Many people do. It can actually be very helpful to let it all out during your call. Some people actually find it easier to get upset and emotional with someone who is basically an unknown voice on the phone. Your breakdown won’t impact any future interactions or relationships because you don’t know the hotline person and never will. You can be fully honest, have a breakdown, cry, and let your emotions out without worrying about how it will impact the future.
Family and Friends Can Call, Too
Finally, while many addiction hotlines are set up for those who are using drugs and alcohol, it’s a good time for friends and family to call them. There are even some hotlines specifically for loved ones of people struggling with addiction. If you’re worried about a loved one but don’t know how to help them, call an addiction hotline. You can gather some resources and get advice on how to approach someone with a drug problem. Sometimes it can help just to have someone tell you that you’re not alone.
If your life has been impacted by drugs and alcohol, addiction hotlines are a great resource. If you need help with addiction or want to help a loved one, addiction hotlines are a good place to start. You can also reach out to us for help beginning the rehab process.