Every individual dealing with drug addiction has a unique set of circumstances surrounding them – from their relationships with family and friends, their personal financial situation, even the city or town where they live affects which treatment options are immediately available.
But there is also one thing that everyone suffering from addiction has in common: Change is possible. By finding the best combination of treatment and support that works for that individual and their unique circumstances, anyone can achieve freedom from addiction.
Here are five strategies that may be right for you or your loved one:
Understand Your Addiction
- Keep a record of your drug abuse. Begin keeping a diary or journal of when you use, how much and how often, and the consequences of your abuse.
- Don’t hold back. Talk to someone you trust. Have a conversation with someone you love and trust about your addiction. Discover how your abuse affects them and find out how they feel it is affecting you.
- Write down a list of your treatment options. List out the costs, would you need time away from work or family, how soon could you begin. Start trying to decide which treatment options will work best for you.
Choose Who Will Be a Part of Your Recovery
Successful treatment will change your life beyond just ending drug abuse. A critical component of any recovery is surrounding yourself with the love and support of a network of people who want you to succeed.
- Begin by looking to family and close friends for understanding and support. Even if your addiction has caused you to let someone down in the past, recovery is a time for healing the damage of addiction, especially in relationships.
- You may consider family therapy or couples counseling.
- Find new friends. When your life revolves around your addiction, many of your acquaintances and possibly your entire social life is absorbed in that world. Recovery will mean breaking free of those people who may drag you back down and find new relationships that will support and lift you up.
- Join regular recovery and support meetings, look into volunteer groups, or take a class in something you’ve always been curious about.
Create a Plan for Coping with Stress
Part of every successful recovery program is anticipating stress and anxiety and coming up with a plan to deal with them beforehand. Loneliness, fear, and frustration won’t disappear from our lives even after achieving sobriety. Look into ways to manage these emotions and anxieties so you can handle them when they arrive.
- Simple approaches like breathing techniques can be useful.
- Find an exercise program that will help relieve stress and create a healthy lifestyle.
- Consciously challenge negative and self-defeating thoughts – don’t let corruptive thoughts stand, push back against them and find new ways to see yourself and your life.
Find Meaning Apart from Your Addiction
For an addict, drug abuse often becomes the purpose in their life and the goal of each day. In recovery, you will have to replace that goal with constructive and enriching activities that are fulfilling for you.
- Find a new hobby. Most of us have something or a few somethings, we’ve always been interested in but never found the time for. Now is a good opportunity to get involved in your interests. Join a group, take a class, and challenge yourself.
- Get healthy. The tenants of a healthy lifestyle – regular exercise, good sleep, and a healthy diet – can improve happiness and reduce stress. Invest time in yourself – the better you feel, the less you will want to return to your past destructive habits.
Don’t Give Up, Even if You Relapse
Recovery is a long process, and it is not a switch you flip, and there are no shortcuts. Be aware of your triggers for relapse, those situations, and emotions that bring on cravings and the desire to abuse again. Avoid situations where you will feel temptation and focus on what is working for you. But remember, relapse never means you have completely failed. It is a setback, but it can also be an opportunity to learn how to sustain recovery this time, for the long-term.
Everyone dealing with addiction faces a unique set of circumstances. But everyone can change. There will be setbacks and frustrations in all recovery, but the important thing is to find strategies and solutions that work for you and never to give up.
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