Overcoming Addiction

 

Helpguide.org writes

Developing a drug addiction isn’t a character flaw or a sign of weakness and it takes more than willpower to overcome the problem. Abusing illegal or certain prescription drugs can create changes in the brain, causing powerful cravings and a compulsion to use that make sobriety seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems. With the right treatment and support, change is possible. 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 well on your way.

Overcoming drug addiction: Decide to make a change

For many people struggling with addiction, the toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change. It’s normal to feel uncertain about whether you’re ready to make a change, or if you have what it takes to quit. If you’re addicted to a prescription drug, you may be concerned about how you’re going to find an alternate way to treat a medical condition. It’s okay to feel torn. Committing to sobriety involves changing many things, including:

  • the way you deal with stress
  • who you allow in your life
  • what you do in your free time
  • how you think about yourself
  • the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take

It’s also normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you know it’s causing problems in your life. Recovery requires time, motivation, and support, but by making a commitment to change, you can overcome your addiction and regain control of your life.

Overcoming addiction step 1: Think about change

  • Keep track of your drug use, including when and how much you use. This will give you a better sense of the role the addiction is playing in your life.
  • List the pros and cons of quitting, as well as the costs and benefits of continuing your drug use.
  • Consider the things that are important to you, such as your partner, your kids, your pets, your career, or your health. How does your drug use affect those things?
  • Ask someone you trust about their feelings on your drug use.
  • Ask yourself if there’s anything preventing you from changing. What could help you make the change?

Preparing for change: 5 key steps to addiction recovery

  1. Remind yourself of the reasons you want to change.
  2. Think about your past attempts at recovery, if any. What worked? What didn’t?
  3. Set specific, measurable goals, such as a start date or limits on your drug use.
  4. Remove reminders of your addiction from your home, workplace, and other places you frequent.
  5. Tell friends and family that you’re committing to recovery, and ask for their support.

 

Explore your addiction treatment options

Once you’ve committed to recovery, it’s time to explore your treatment choices. While addiction treatment can vary according to the specific drug, a successful program often includes different elements, such as:

  • Detoxification. Usually the first step is to purge your body of drugs and manage withdrawal symptoms.
  • Behavioral counseling. Individual, group, and/or family therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills.
  • Medication may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.
  • Long-term follow-up can help to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety. This may include attending regular in-person support groups or online meetings to help keep your recovery on track.
Types of drug treatment programs
Residential treatment – Residential treatment involves living at a facility and getting away from work, school, family, friends, and addiction triggers while undergoing intensive treatment. Residential treatment can last from a few days to several months.
Day treatment/Partial hospitalization – Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but wish to still live at home and have a stable living environment. These treatment programs usually meet at a treatment center for 7 to 8 hours during the day, then you return home at night.
Outpatient treatment – Not a live-in treatment program, these outpatient programs can be scheduled around work or school. You’re treated during the day or evening but don’t stay overnight. The major focus is relapse prevention.
Sober living communities – Living in a sober house normally follows an intensive treatment program such as residential treatment. You live with other recovering addicts in a safe, supportive, and drug-free environment. Sober living facilities are useful if you have nowhere to go or you’re worried that returning home too soon will lead to relapse.

As you consider the options, keep in mind:

No treatment works for everyone. Everyone’s needs are different. Whether you have a problem with illegal or prescription drugs, addiction treatment should be customized to your unique situation. It’s important that you find a program that feels right.

Treatment should address more than just your drug abuse. Addiction affects your whole life, including your relationships, career, health, and psychological well-being. Treatment success depends on…

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