Human beings find it very difficult to admit they are wrong. An addict is no different.
The first and most challenging step in healing from addiction is to admit you have a problem in the first place.
Admission is in no way a reflection of a personal character flaw but somewhat an understanding of human genetics.
You are bound to feel uncertain about your decision to change. To shift from the comforts, you have grown accustomed and build a new life. It’s alright to feel torn.
Recovering from an addiction is considered to be a lifelong process, and for someone who took their last drink last night or the previous year, it can feel like looking through a dark and cold tunnel with no apparent end in sight.
You need to recognize the harm your addiction has done to you, your relationships, and your other commitments. And take the first step towards healing.
To heal, you must first understand the source of your addiction.
Overindulgence in substances typically starts as an effort to self-soothe and forget about one’s problems.
Drugs alter your brain to temporarily attain a different state of conscious where feelings become numb, and one only feels the thrill and excitement of the rush.
The temptation to stay addicted is alluring, but when you decide to get clean and sober; you open your life to countless life-changing possibilities.
Once you stop using, you need to learn other ways of dealing with emotions.
A helpful resource is the numerous available support groups. Don’t try to do it alone- in the dead of winter, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.
A robust support system gives you the best chance at long-term recovery. You meet others who are recovering from a similar addiction. You learn of the different ways people have used to handle their addiction- from success stories to failed attempts.
Within these groups, everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner. Such groups keep you accountable and affirms your choice of adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Any addiction counselor worth their salt will tell you that your recovery hinges on you addressing underlying emotions that pushed you to snort, shoot, or drink yourself to oblivion.
Addictions are often unhealthy coping mechanisms come to life. You must learn to deal with them.
Seeking out a qualified addiction therapist will help you identify the painful memories or traumatic events that you’re unconsciously or conscious suppressing and help you adopt healthier ways to handle such feelings in the future.
You must monitor instances where you are tempted to relapse. Being aware of your addiction triggers is like knowing the exact chamber a bullet is in a game of Russian roulette. You’ll be prepared and have a better chance of survival.
Another helpful habit to adopt is meditation. Take 10 minutes a day to sit in silence with your eyes closed. Inhale and exhale deeply. Clear your mind by focusing on the sensations of your body. Practice welcoming the feelings rather than pushing them away.
Strong emotions tend to physically manifest as tightness or constriction of the throat and shoulders. That’s why when one is stressed, you usually hunch your back and have difficulty swallowing.
Practicing mindful silence teaches you to attain inner peace even when emotions violently tug at your self-control.
Start journaling to get uncomfortable emotions off your chest. Writing down what you find difficult to express leaves you no room to cower and hide your feelings.
You are giving yourself a chance to reevaluate your thoughts and understand the source of discomfort.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, journaling is a healthy way to ruminate over issues and organize your inner thoughts. Sleep will come soon after.
Once you’re an addict, you’re an addict for life. PERIOD. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t used for ten seconds or ten years. Never forget this.
Rehabilitation centers equip one with essential tools to help manage addiction. Not a cure. That’s why before anyone shares in an addiction support group, they refer to themselves as “recovering addicts.”
The phrase serves as a permanent reminder that you have not fully cured your addiction and are only continuously managing it to remain clean and sober.
The fate of your recovery rests in your capable hands.
Forever is a long time, and for most people staying committing to something for more than a month is a challenging task.
Looking at recovery as a red tape finish line that’s miles away makes it seem achievable only by Hercules. Such thoughts will drive you back to an addiction quicker than monsoon winds start dessert fires.
A common expression in recovery is “take it one day at a time.” It references making a daily choice to remain sober.
Focus on the things you can control; yourself in the here and now. Stay clean, set manageable goals, and take it one day at a time.
The more people you can turn to for encouragement, support, and guidance, the higher the chances of a long term recovery.
You may be reluctant to turn to family and friends because you’re ashamed of your addiction, but their support will be invaluable.
Burn down all negative connections revolving around your addiction- old friends, activities, and groups.
Surround yourself with healthy and supportive people who are clean and sober; it will encourage you to commit to your recovery and help you stay accountable for your actions.
Try to take up healthier interests such as working out, meditating, volunteering, or learning a new skill.
Consider moving into a sober home if your current residence is not conducive to your new lifestyle.
Additionally, make your attendance to support group meetings a priority.
The time you spend with other recovering addicts can be very healing.
The ideal treatment for various addictions is different for every addict.
If your problem is with alcohol or instead it’s with illegal drugs, the treatment should be tailored to meet your unique situation.
Addiction doesn’t just affect your physical and mental state; it impacts your relationships, career, education, and spirituality.
If your treatment option fails to address all the underlying issues of your addiction, then it’s setting you up for relapse.
Long-term recovery is sustained by recognizing the causes of your addiction and developing healthier ways to deal with the issues. For instance, if your drinking started as a way to cope with the loss of a loved one, you will need to find a healthier way to grieve.
Addiction treatments don’t offer a quick and easy fix. And the longer you have been addicted, the more prolonged and more intense your treatment should be.
It’s crucial that you find a program that feels right- for YOU.
If you’ve ever experienced rehab, you’re probably aware of how triggers tend to sneak up on you.
In such a situation, your reasons for getting clean can seem trivial and hazy.
Like a soldier going to war, always be ready for battle. Write down at least five reasons why you chose to get sober. Read them every morning and every night before you go to bed.
Consider making your written list the wallpaper for your, laptop, or iPad.
If someone like your mother is on the list, also include her picture.
Make copies, and place them in your car, on your office desk, on your bathroom mirror, in your wallet or purses, on your doors, and your refrigerator door. You can even tape it to a corner of the TV; such that even when you’re watching Netflix, you’re reinforcing your decision to remain in recovery.
Triggers are nothing to feel ashamed of; they happen. How you cope is what matters.
Openly talk about your triggers with your family and friends to help dissipate the strength of your cravings and help establish an open and honest relationship.
Talking about your desires also helps to pinpoint the exact source of your trigger.
Take up activities that interest you and engage your mind. Once you are occupied in other activities, you will find instances of cravings reducing.
Some recovering addicts have found ‘urge surfing’ to be a useful tool in handling triggers.
The technique alludes to its name- surfing, where you imagine you’re a surfer out at sea riding the wave of your addiction. You stay on the board until the wave crests and breaks. The craving passes just as the tide turns into foamy surf.
Read about your addiction in books, brochures, internet articles, and magazines.
Understand the underlying issues that led to your addiction and learn healthier ways to cope. Don’t allow yourself to be caught off guard due to your ignorance about your disease; ignorance is NOT bliss.
Study your enemy. Addiction recovery is a personal journey, and in as much as your recovery support group is essential, you will need to find your individual path to recovery to supplement these meetings.
Know all the tricks in your addiction’s arsenal.
You’re preparing to go to war, and like any battle, you will need provisions- sponsor, sober friends, healthy relationships, and supportive family.
Addicts have little or no willpower when it comes to their addiction. That’s why it is so easy to become an addict and so much harder to recover from an addiction.
If you know of specific places that act as triggers, avoid them. Don’t put yourself in scenarios where your new lifestyle becomes threatened.
Recovering doesn’t imply that you are now able to resist your addiction. You are now at an even higher risk of relapse because you are thinking about it more often and much harder.
If history says, you start drinking each time you play poker, stop playing poker.
If you have a particular friend who hands you a drink each time you meet, you may have to create some new rules, limit the time you spend with them, or end your friendship altogether.
A willingness to stop using or stay sober will only get you so far. Reaffirming your decision to live a healthier, more productive life can be helpful, but long-term recovery requires that you strategize and take decisive action.
Make informed choices and set manageable goals for you to achieve. It’s the only way to move forward.
Hoping that things will change isn’t an effective strategy.
An Olympic athlete who breaks a world record won’t tell you they “hoped” to win. They sat down with their team and strategized. It took commitment, determination, practice, and knowledge. Those are the same tactics you should employ.
Read up on all the best recovery science addiction has to offer regardless of your type of addiction then come up with a plan.
Few people will speak about the feeling of loss during the first year of recovery.
Recovery is a beautiful thing, but your addiction had been an integral part of your life, like an arm or a leg. Now that it’s gone, it’s alright to grieve.
All life changing processes are only ever truly effective if they leave a mark and affect you in a profoundly spiritual and soulful way.
You should not expect that your decision to mend your ways will automatically server the ties you had with your addiction.
You will need to both mentally and emotionally process the loss to move forward.
And if in the ensuing years you do relapse, remember that it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It usually means that you need to work harder at staying clean. Plus, you have identified a trigger to look out for in the coming years.
Don’t give up. Call your sponsor or your counselor, go to a meeting, or go back to rehab and get back on the recovery horse.
When you’re finally clean, sober, and out of danger, examine what caused you to relapse and what you could have done differently to handle the situation.
Use the experience to strengthen your commitment to healing from your addiction.
Remember, you are not alone!
If you need help with your recovery, you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center where trained and experienced professionals are available to assist you in every way.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with all of your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime.
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program.
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.
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