Those struggling to overcome issues with drug addiction understand that the goal of sobriety can sometimes feel out of reach, but it’s important to remember that recovery is always possible. Treatment and support programs exist specifically to combat drug addiction, so the path toward sobriety has many helping hands along the way, even if the path itself is bumpy, twisted, and tiresome. Deciding to make a positive change in your life is the first step toward recovery, so merely by seeking advice, you’ve made a valuable choice that could change your entire world.
The Initial Decision
The choices we make determine how our lives progress, and the decision to seek help with a drug addiction is one of the most important choices you’ll ever make. It may be difficult to convince yourself to make such drastic changes to your life, especially when it comes to dealing with substance abuse, but that’s completely normal. The decision to commit to sobriety isn’t easy, not only because it represents a profound shift from one point in your life to another, but also because it involves so many real-world changes to your daily routine.
Don’t let the potential changes intimidate you. Many people initially question their decision, simply because of the extreme commitment required. Keep some of the following tips in mind while contemplating your options:
- Track your drug use
- Examine negative influences in your life
- Discuss your situation with those you trust
- Consider how drug use affects each aspect of your life
- Create reminders for why you wish to make a change
- Set reachable goals
- Ask for help
- Seek Treatment and Support
The next step on the road to recovery is finding an ideal treatment option. There are many options out there, so remember the following:
- There is no miracle treatment. Everyone is different, and everyone will react differently to the same treatment.
- The treatment you select should be comprehensive. An approach that focuses on repairing every aspect of your life is vital, as drug addiction affects every part. Correcting a psychological or medical issue that exacerbates your addiction will help prevent relapses.
- The key is committing to recovery. The process may be slow, and it may be even slower for those who’ve abused substances for a long period of time. Don’t give up.
- Take advantage of resources. There are many people who can help, both professionally and personally. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
The support system that you choose during your recovery will be vastly important to your progress. Positive influences help your chances of successfully reaching sobriety, and surrounding yourself with caring counselors, well-trained medical professionals, and helpful friends and family can make all the difference.
Stress and Triggers
Most drug abuse problems stem from deeper issues, so once you reach sobriety you must remain vigilant against those stressors. What sorts of things were you using drugs to mask? Keeping yourself aware of what can set off a desire to relapse can help prevent those relapses.
Many people claim to use drugs as a way to handle general stress. The fact is, there are much better ways to reduce stress without potentially harming yourself or others. Meditation, exercise, and breathing techniques can help manage stress before it gets out of hand. Ignore any negative thoughts you may have, and instead focus on the positives. Other techniques for managing stress include:
- Calming music
- Scented candles
- Fresh air and sunshine
- A hot shower or bath
These actions are great for quickly diminishing stress when you feel a relapse in the works. By quashing these feelings before they grow out of control, you gain control over your addiction once and for all.
Triggers are another aspect of drug abuse that must be dealt with. Triggers are situations, people, or objects that force a strong drug craving in the recovering mind of an addict. While recovering from recent drug addiction, the brain is much more susceptible to relapses due to these triggers. Make mental notes about what sets off your cravings, and actively avoid those triggers. Many of the most common triggers include:
Friends with whom you used drugs – It’s better to remove the bad influences from your life than to attempt to reconcile those influences, especially when they are ‘friends’ who won’t offer anything to your recovery except the potential for a relapse. Find a group of people that won’t tempt you in the first place.
Bars and clubs – Even if you don’t abuse alcohol, it can still lead to relapses thanks to impaired judgment. Bars and clubs are also the most likely places to find drugs, so avoiding those places is paramount.
Prescription drugs – A recovering addict can still require prescription medication, but it’s important that you remain honest with your doctor about your drug history. By keeping an open line of dialogue, you can prevent the possible abuse of a new drug.
Build yourself a new routine that completely departs from your old, negative lifestyle. Find a hobby, adopt a pet, volunteer, or do anything that offers a positive distraction from the urge to use. Keep track of your sobriety goals, and pay attention to how they affect your health. The meaningful changes you’ll see in your life will only provide more motivation to continue down the healthy path.
Relapses are a common issue amongst those suffering from drug addiction, but don’t be discouraged if you experience one yourself. A relapse is not the same thing as a failure. You only fail if you give up on sobriety completely. When you experience a relapse, the most important thing to remember is to keep trying. As long as the decision to achieve sobriety remains steadfast, you’ll never fail.