When you’re struggling with drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems. Change is possible with the right treatment and support, and by addressing the root cause of your addiction. Don’t give up—even if you’ve tried and failed before. The road to recovery often involves bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about change, you’re already on your way.
A successful recovery would involved the following steps :
- Decide to Make a Change
- Explore Treatment Options
- Reach out for support
- Healthy ways to deal with anxiety and stress
- Keep Triggers and Cravings in check
- Build a meaningful drug-free life
- Don't let relapses get you down
Deciding to make a change
For many the biggest and toughest step toward recovery is the very first one : Deciding to make a change. It is a normal feeling to feel confused and conflicted about giving up a drug, even when you know its causing problems in your life. Change is never easy. Recovery is a like a marathon, its going to be a long run. When you get to that finish mark, it doesn't matter if you come in first or last. All that matters is that you have finished the race.
You may need to make the following decisions to help you in making the change :
- The way you deal with stress
- Who to allow in your circle of trust
- What you do in your free time.
- How you think about yourself
Explore Treatment Options
As you consider your options keep the following in mind :
- There is no magic bullet or single treatment that works for everyone
- Treatment should address more than just your drug abuse.
- Commitment and follow-through are key.
- There are many places to turn for help.
Reach out for support
- Reach out to close friends and family
- Build a network of sober friends
- Consider moving in to a sober living home
- Have meetings with Recovery and Support Groups
Learn healthy ways to cope with stress
Even when you've recovered from drug addiction, you will still have to face the problems that led to your drug problems in the first place. Did you start using drugs to numb painful emotions, calm yourself down after an argument, unwind after a bad day, or forget your problems? After you become sober, the negative feelings that you used to dampen with drugs will resurface. In order to be successful you will need to resolve these underlying issues as well. You will, however, be in a healthier position to address them.
Strategies for relieving stress without drugs :
- Exercise releases endorphins, relieves stress and promotes emotional well-being
- Try running in place, jumping rope or just walking.
- Step outside and enjoy the warm sun and fresh air. Enjoy the view around you.
- Yoga and mediation helps tremendously.
- Play with a pet.
- Listen to calming music
- Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers, or freshly brewed coffee.
- Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place
- Look at your favourite family photos
Keep Triggers and Cravings in Check
While getting sober is an important step, its only the beginning. Your brain still needs time to recover and rebuild connections that have changed while your were addicted. During this time, drug cravings can become intense. You can support your recovery by making a conscious effort to avoid people, places and situations that trigger the urge to use drugs.
Sometimes cravings cannot be avoided, and it is necessary to find a way to cope :
- Get involved in distracting activities.
- Talk it though with a friend or support group member
- Ride out the urge.
- Challenge and change your thoughts.
Build a meaningful drug-free life
You can support your drug treatment and protect yourself from relapse by having activities and interests that provide meaning to your life.
- Pick a new hobby
- Adopt a pet
- Get involved in your community
- Set meaningful goals
- Look after your health.
Don't let relapse get you down
What causes relapse? Various triggers can put people at risk of relapse.
- Negative emotional states (anger, sadness, trauma, stress)
- Phsyical discomfort (such as withdrawal symptoms or physical pain)
- Positive Emotional states( wanting to feel even better)
- Testing personal control (I can have just one drink)
- Strong Temptations or Urges
- Conflict with others (arguments with spouse etc)
- Social Pressures to use
- Good times with others
Source : Centre for Addiction and Mental Health