Addiction is a condition, a disease of the brain in which one becomes dependent on a substance or activity. In the world today, the most common addictions we find are that of drugs and alcohol. Governments around the world have invested billions in the rehabilitation and control of the use of these substances, but the problem of addiction still affects millions each year.
While addiction can lead to many different results, the worst effect of addiction to drugs and alcohol is death. To avoid this painful end, drug users need to learn how to kill the addiction before it leads them to their grave.
“There’s a saying in the program, ‘There are three ends for an alcoholic: jails, institutions, or death.” –Andrew
Killing an Addiction before it kills you
The first and most important step on the road to recovery is accepting the fact that you can no longer control your use of the substance you’re addicted to. Many people can use that substance and stop. You, however, are not one of them.
Addiction is defined as a somebody who has an uncontrollable compulsion to repeat behaviors regardless of the negative consequences. Although personal motivation plays a part of the recovery process, overcoming addiction takes more than sheer determination. Without professional help, it is very difficult to quit drinking or using drugs on your own.
There’s a huge difference between trying to quit drinking on your own and having the tools and program in place to help you stay sober. –Pam, former guest at Duffy’s
1. Recognize your reality. This involves admitting that you are an addict and developing the desire and mindset to live without the controlling substance. As long as you’re in denial about your using, you won’t see any progress in achieving long-term sobriety.
2. Be honest with yourself and those around you. It takes a great deal of humility to stop making excuses for yourself and your using. Humility can be hard for us to access in our addiction, but we cannot move on in our process of recovery without it. It will be painful, but until you can honestly say that you alone are the one responsible for the addiction, you will find yourself stuck in the dangerous cycle of blame and addiction.
3. Seek appropriate help. Once you have recognized your problem and become honest about your need for help, the next step is to seek the help appropriate to the extent of your using. For some, that means joining a social network of other recovering addicts. These groups are available through the internet or just within your home area. Try attending one and no matter how uncomfortable you may feel, sit through the process and open up when you feel ready.
Those who have an extended history of substance abuse, however, will want to seek more intensive treatment. 28 day residential rehab is often seen as the best way way to build the foundation for long-term sobriety. In rehab, you learn the tools you need to stay sober while beginning to heal in a safe environment and forming the new habits that will help you stay clean long after you leave.
4. Seek medical supervision during any period of detox. Detoxing alone is possible, but it’s risky. While you may think you can white-knuckle it, many people underestimate the pain or the physical danger associated with detox. Often, those who try detoxing alone cannot make it through the whole process without turning back to the substance to put an end to the painful and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
While detox is never enjoyable, a doctor can prescribe medication to make the process safe and more comfortable. Often residential rehab facilities offer detox on-site.
5. Whatever treatment path you choose, be patient with the progress you are making. Do not anticipate instant results because lasting change takes time. Research shows that it takes about 3 months to solidify new habits. It will be tough, but if you choose to put tools you learn into practice, progress will happen.
6. Stay away from the influences that encourage you to take drugs and alcohol. While it’s ultimately your choice to use or stay sober, your environment can strongly influence your desire to use. Staying away from the people and places that could encourage your using is absolutely necessary for you to maintain long-term sobriety.
7. Take care of your body. Addiction affects you physically, and your body also needs time to heal. Maintain balance in your daily lifestyle, and establish an exercise and dieting routine that promote both physical and mental healing.
8. Build a supportive sober community. Interact with stable friends who do not use alcohol or drugs. Their company is especially important when you are lonely or feeling negative as these feelings often act as triggers to entice you back to the substance you have been addicted to.
9. Replace your using with healthy habits. Find interesting things you have always wanted to try out. List potential hobbies or activities and try to do them to keep you busy and motivated to maintain your sobriety.
10. Identify your addiction triggers and your relapse warnings. Knowing your warning signs will help help you know what activities or situations to avoid. While some triggers may be obvious, others may take time to uncover. In rehab, a counselor will help you identify those areas of danger you may not have even considered, as well as help you form a plan to handle stressful situations in a healthy way rather than turning back to a substance.
11. Be grateful. Keep reminding yourself of the effects of drugs on your body and find good support systems, like family members and stable, sober friends who will help keep you motivated and looking forward. Look for something good every day in sobriety that wasn’t present in your life during your using. Even the smallest things can help you find gratitude and happiness in sobriety. If you’re content, you’re less likely to turn to a substance for fulfilment.
Addiction is a complex disease and overcoming it can be one of the most challenging things you will ever face. But there is hope for those who want to escape the tyranny of this destructive disease.
No matter where you are in life, what you’ve been through, or how hopeless you think your situation may be, it’s never too late to turn your life around. Recovery is always possible.
“It’s just important for people to realize that if you’re suffering or depressed or dealing with mental illness and if it has something to do with your drug abuse or your drinking—or if you’re suffering from both at the same time and you think they’re completely unrelated to each other—that getting sober is always a positive thing. And it’s not easy. By no means is it easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s so worth it.” – Chiara de Blasio
If you or your loved one are ready to begin the journey of recovery today, call us at 707.348.4874. We would be more than happy to help.
We’d like to thank Eric Dunnes for writing this guest post for our site. Eric is a passionate blogger from Manchester. He is fond of writing on various health niches. He works for European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), a service for managing health expenses. Visit his website for more information.