Do you know that 10% of US adults have struggled with drug use disorder at some point in their lives? An addiction is a disease that affects your brain and how you behave.
Developing a drug addiction isn’t a sign of weakness or a moral failing. It’s a chronic mental health condition where you find it impossible to control your drug or alcohol use. Continuous substance abuse affects your brain’s chemical system, which in turn affects your thinking, decision-making, and cognitive ability.
When suffering from addiction, people experience powerful cravings and compulsions that make it challenging to overcome addiction. But this does not mean recovering from substance abuse is completely out of reach.
No matter how serious your addiction is, achieving sobriety is always possible with the right treatment and support. So, if you are ready to take the road to recovery and don’t know where to begin, you are at the right place.
Here is a complete guide on how to overcome an addiction that you can follow
Decide to Change
Deciding to change is the first step toward overcoming addiction. Deciding to change begins with acknowledging you have an addiction problem that needs addressing. Some signs that show you are suffering from addiction include:
- Using drugs and alcohol more than you used to before
- Trying to stop abusing substances but being unable to do so
- Taking too much time while trying to recover from the effects of a substance
- Being unable to meet your responsibilities, whether at home or work, due to the effects of substance abuse
- Giving up hobbies and other activities you loved before for drug or alcohol abuse
- Continued use of a substance in situations where it can result in death, such as driving while drunk
- Stealing or lying to maintain your addiction
After acknowledging you have addiction issues, the next step should be strategizing how to make the changes. First, you must set a goal to be achieved at the end of the recovery journey. However, when setting a goal, don’t be too ambitious.
Setting unrealistic recovery goals will make you lose hope and even relapse after starting the recovery journey. To better set realistic goals, ensure you understand the risks involved with quitting your addiction and the best ways of alleviating them.
Prepare to Change
Once you have decided to change, you should prepare for the change. When preparing to change, you must remove all addictive substances from your surrounding. You must also eliminate all elements that trigger your substance use, including friends.
Tell your relatives and friends that you are committing to a recovery process. This will ensure you get the support you deserve from them. Another way to prepare for recovery is determining the best recovery approach and getting the needed resources.
For example, if you opt to go to a rehabilitation center, you must prepare financially and mentally.
Seek Social Support
Most people struggling with addiction establish a relationship with others having similar addictions. However, when getting ready to quit an addiction, you must cut off any associations with such friends.
But this might make you feel lonely, which can easily trigger a relapse. Therefore you will need to find people to support you in your recovery journey to prevent a relapse from happening. Ensure the people you choose as a support system understand what you are going through.
Such people will help you take positive steps towards achieving your sobriety goal.
Reach Out to Healthcare Providers
Reaching out to healthcare providers is essential when committing to a recovery journey. Not all addictions need medical help; however, the input of a local drug officer or a doctor cannot be ignored. Healthcare providers will guide you on the best approaches to help alleviate withdrawal systems.
Conditions such as depression and anxiety might easily worsen when facing withdrawal systems. In such cases, healthcare providers will offer guidance on navigating these conditions during recovery.
Explore Treatment Options
If medical help is required to break your addiction, you should understand the treatment options available. In most cases, the treatment method to suit you will depend on your addiction type, lifestyle, and budget.
Some of the successful treatment programs that can help you solve your addiction include:
Behavioral therapy and psychotherapy can help improve your coping abilities. They can also help you overcome challenges that often contribute to addiction. Different types of therapy that might help with your recovery include:
Cognitive Behavior therapy: This is a therapy that aims at determining and changing thoughts and behaviors that contributes to your addiction. This kind of therapy is suitable for various types of addictions. However, it might not be suitable if you find it challenging to analyze your thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness Therapy: This type of psychotherapy combines meditation, cognitive therapy, and mindfulness. It focuses on teaching people how to consciously pay attention to their thoughts and feelings without creating any judgment upon them. It helps reduce substance misuse and craving by modulating cognitive and psychophysiological processes.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This type of therapy is essential in preparing you to embrace change. In addition, it helps you to be more committed and motivated toward completing the recovery process.
Medications are essential in treating symptoms of withdrawals. They also help you remain in treatment and prevent the possibility of a relapse. The type of medication prescribed will depend on your type of addiction.
Talk to your doctor to determine the kind of medication to suit your addiction.
Go to a Rehab Center
Going to a recovery center is essential if you can’t quit substance abuse on your own. The main aim of going to a rehab center is to learn the approaches to help your break your addiction and build a productive life. When you decide to go to a rehab center, various benefits arise.
Here are some benefits of going to a rehab center:
Break the Addictive Cycle
A rehab center offers a drug-free environment where you interact with people committed to helping you quit your addiction.
Once you get to the rehab center, you are taken through a detoxification process. Detox helps get rid of drugs from your body and treat withdrawal symptoms.
Learn About Addiction
Learning about addiction helps you know the events, habits, and triggers that cause your addiction. Rehab centers have professionals who understand triggers surrounding the various type of addictions. These professionals teach you the best ways of avoiding and managing such triggers.
Dig Into Underlying Issues
Many factors draw people to substance abuse. Understanding the specific element that draws you to substance abuse helps you learn how to avoid or manage the element. Once in the rehab center, the underlying issue behind your addiction is identified.
After that, you are trained on how to handle the underlying issue. For example, if the cause for your substance use is coping with stress, you are trained on how to deal with it without substance abuse.
Build New Habits and Practices
Drug addiction makes people develop poor discipline and self-care habits. After rehabilitation, one of the goals should be to develop discipline and better self-care routines. In the recovery center, you are taught how to set long-term and short-term goals.
Most of these goals revolve around physical, emotional, and occupational growth.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
Substance users pay little attention to their behavior and how such behaviors impact those surrounding them. For this reason, the boundary that helps maintain healthy relationships among friends and relatives is distorted.
When you go to a rehab center, you are taught how to establish healthy boundaries for better relationships.
However, to successfully quit your addiction, you must select the best recovery center. Select a recovery home with a good reputation and whose budget you can comfortably meet.
Manage Withdrawal Symptoms
Managing a withdrawal system can be challenging, whether dealing with substance or behavioral addictions. However, withdrawal symptoms of substance addiction are more severe and can sometimes be life-threatening.
Luckily, most acute withdrawal symptoms don’t go past two weeks after quitting. But some people might experience the symptoms for longer periods of up to a year.
In some instances, addictions usually mask some conditions such as depression and anxiety. Once you quit your addiction, these conditions surface. For this reason, it’s better to consult your doctor on medications to help with withdrawal symptoms and other conditions masked by the addiction.
A relapse is usually disheartening and frustrating. It can be disturbing to relapse after investing a lot of money and time into a recovery process. Unfortunately, between 40% and 60% of individuals with substance use usually relapse after recovery.
The main causes of relapse include:
Cravings: Cravings are strong urges to use a substance that occur during withdrawal. They can also arise weeks or even months after quitting.
Thinking you are in control: Believing you are in control of your addiction and one drink or binge won’t matter can easily cause a relapse. Once you have decided to quit substance abuse, you should completely avoid triggers that can cause a relapse.
How to avoid a relapse:
- Accept you are struggling with an addiction
- Be honest to yourself and others
- Understands the phases of a relapse
- Develop approaches for coping with cravings
- Learn how to handle negative feelings and thoughts
- Develop goals and visualize yourself as a sobber individual
Relapse is not a sign of failure. It can happen to anyone trying to quit an addiction. The most important thing is to get back on track and continue working towards sobriety.
Build a Meaningful Drug-Free Life
Engaging in activities that provide meaning to your life is essential in preventing a relapse. After the treatment, you should be involved in activities that make you happy and adds value to your life. When you develop a purpose, your addiction easily loses its appeal.
Some of the best ways to build a meaningful life include:
Adopting a pet: If your addiction is triggered by feeling lonely, then adopting a pet is a good option. A pet offers you companionship and creates a sense of responsibility.
Spend time on a nature walk: Being alone at home can easily tempt you to fall back into your odd habits. To prevent this, you can go fishing, camping, or hiking. This will keep you occupied and allow you to relax.
Get Involved in your community: Participating in community activities keeps you occupied. It also helps develop a sense of responsibility that keeps your addiction behavior at bay.
Set realistic goals: You must set meaningful and realistic goals after quitting substance use. When you have goals you are working towards, you spend most of your time working around these goals. This automatically works as an antidote to drug addiction.
Look after your health: When recovering from addiction, you must look after your health. You should exercise regularly and eat the right diet. Exercising regularly and eating the right diet keep your energy at the right levels.
Don’t Let Relapse Keep You Down
Relapse is common in the recovery process. While relapse can be frustrating and heartbreaking, it can be a learning opportunity. You can determine your mistakes and triggers after a relapse.
If you experience a relapse, don’t allow it to keep you down. Instead, contact your therapist or sponsor and arrange for a meeting. Be honest with your therapist about the circumstances surrounding your relapse.
Once the therapist understands the cause of your trigger, they will give you a piece of advice on how to handle the trigger.
However, after a relapse, you mustn’t fall for the same mistake again. Create a relapse prevention plan and stick to it.
You Can Overcome Addiction
Addiction affects your brain’s chemical system, which in turn affects your thinking, judgment, and decision-making. You enjoy a sober and more meaningful life when you overcome addiction. If you want to break your addiction, follow the above guide, and you will get it right.
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