Recovering from a drug addiction isn’t easy and for many addicts it seems like an impossible task. This life-changing experience demands lots of time, motivation, commitment, courage and perseverance, and with all the right support and treatment, it can make the impossible seem possible. Here is the first part of eight things you can do to enhance your drug addiction recovery.
1) Make a change in your life
Deciding to make a change in your life is a crucial step in the path to recovery. Giving up the drug your body craves isn’t easy, regardless of the damage it does to you.
You have to be able to commit to change in your lifestyle. Things such as the way you handle stress, how you manage your spare time, whom you spend your time with and your perception of yourself will all have to change.
Start by keeping records of your drug usage. Include the costs involved in continuous use of the drug. By doing this, you will be able to see the role addiction is playing in your life.
Analyse the advantages and disadvantages of quitting. How you will benefit doing it?
Also, another good exercise is to list all the important things in your life, for example your family, your work etc, and ask yourself if your drug usage affects them?
Discussing your addiction with someone you trust is also a good idea. Get their honest opinion on how they feel about your addiction.
If there are barriers standing in your way that are preventing you from changing your lifestyle, remove them.
2) Prepare for change
You have to keep on reminding yourself why you want to change. By doing this you will keep yourself motivated and focused on your goal.
If you tried to quit previously, note what worked and what didn’t. This will prevent the risk of failure and increase your chances of recovery.
You have to work towards a plan, so set yourself realistic goals on what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve them.
Also, remove anything in your vicinity that reminds you of your addiction. This will prevent any temptation that might occur in the future.
If family members or friends want to help you, let them. Their support is crucial in helping you recover.
3) Find out what your treatment options are
When looking for treatment, it is important to know that everyone is different; therefore their addiction will also be different. Every single treatment should be tailor-made to suit your needs.
Your choice of treatment should also not just focus on your drug abuse. Your addiction affects your whole life: your health, your work and your personal relationships.
Success depends on addressing the factors that drew you to drugs in the first place and whether you are able to start a new life.
Also, the longer and more intense the addiction, the longer and more intense will your treatment be. Commitment to your treatment is very important, even more so, maintaining it in the future.
There will always be places for you to receive treatment. Not everyone has to reside in rehab, as this will depend on your age, your addiction and other medical or psychiatric conditions.
4) Get support
It is in your best interest to have people supporting you through this challenging process. Not only will it make your life much easier and manageable, it also increases your chances of a successful recovery.
Your family and friends are important cogs in the wheel. However, if you are reluctant to go back to them because you let them down in the past, you should consider going to family therapy or couples counselling.
If your previous social life involved drugs, then you’ll have to put it to bed and build a new one. Joining a church, a civic group or even attending community events are some options that you could use.
Also, if the previous home you resided in isn’t stable and drug free, it is important for you to consider moving to a sober home, which is safer and provides support and stability.
You should aim to spend time with people who were or was in a similar situation like yourself, so join a recovery support group where you would need to attend regular meetings. You can only benefit from their shared experiences of what they have done to stay sober.
5) Find better ways to handle stress
Whether it might be a simple argument with a loved one at home or pressure at work, many people begin to use drugs due to some form of stress in their lives.
Even after recovery from your drug addiction, there is a high chance that you will be faced with the same problems which led you to drug addiction in the first place.
It is very important that you are able to resolve these matters in order for your treatment to be successful.
Even though you might feel it is the only way to relieve stress, it’s not. There are better ways to manage stress rather than grabbing a quick beer after work. The trick is to find a method that works for you.
There are simple de-stressing methods you can try, for instance, by just playing with your pet, feeling its soft fur can help you relax. You could also run yourself a hot bath or shower or just take a walk outside and embrace the fresh air and beautiful surroundings.
It’s simple: When you’re confident in your ability to handle stress, facing strong feelings shouldn’t be a problem.
6) Ensure that you manage your cravings effectively
While staying sober might be an important first step in the recovery process, your brain still needs time to recover and begin to function normally.
In this period of sobriety, cravings will be a major obstacle. In order to remain sober, you will need to avoid anything that triggers the temptation to use the drug again.
If you have friends that are addicted to drugs, it is important for you to not spend time with them. Instead, rather surround yourself with people who are ready to support your sobriety.
It is also important to avoid bars, clubs or any other potential places that are associated with drug use. Whether you have an alcohol problem or not drinking can cause you to forget your sobriety and could eventually lead towards a relapse.
If you are in need of medical assistance, you have to be open and honest about your drug history. Find a provider that will either prescribe alternative medication or the bare minimum medication that is needed. In no circumstance should you ever feel embarrassed about your previous addiction.
Try to avoid any prescription drugs (painkillers, sleeping pills) that have the potential for abuse.
However, some cravings cannot be avoided. Some ways to handle is by talking it through with friends or family members. This can be extremely useful as then you can ascertain the source of the craving.
Another way control it is to keep yourself busy by being active. Play some sport, watch a movie, do anything that can take your mind off your craving.
7) Create a drug-free lifestyle
After treatment, it’s important to create a lifestyle that will protect you from relapsing.
Do things that will add meaning to your life, as once you find something you like, the craving for the drug will diminish.
Set yourself goals that you can work towards, get more involved in the community by attending drug-free groups and church, start a new hobby or just do something you’ve always wanted to try.
Just ensure that you do things that are able to give your life a new sense of purpose.
8) Don’t allow relapse to discourage you
Relapses are a common factor in the path to recovery. Even though it is a demotivating process, relapses also provide you with an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Relapsing does not mean failure. Instead of throwing in the towel, get back up and start again.
Ensure that you get back into treatment and once you reach sobriety again, evaluate the relapse.