The hardest part about any addiction is admitting that you have a problem. If you are reading this, it means you’re already a step in the right direction. Drug abuse is dangerous because it can damage and change brain structure, especially in the areas that deal with stress and self-control.
These changes can make it extremely difficult for users to stop even when they want to—making withdrawal effects painful, and causing drug users not to quit because they don’t want to experience that pain.
Luckily, you are not alone. Many find it difficult to discern which recovery program is for people with a drug addiction and opt to try overcoming it themselves. If you are like that, hopefully, the points listed below will help you on your road to recovery from drug addiction.
- Surround Yourself With A Strong Support System
It is essential to your journey of getting out of your addiction to surround yourself with individuals who can make the process less challenging for you. It is understandably tough to remove yourself from the unhealthy relationships that got you using drugs in the past, but being around people who support your goal of staying sober will help you in the long run. Your support system can come from your family, trusted friends, or a community of health enthusiasts who can give you words of encouragement. These people can help you become extra motivated to escape your addiction and live a new life.
- Find New Hobbies
It is a good idea to find new interests and hobbies that will keep you productive and occupied. Staying busy is a simple way to keep your mind off drugs. Besides keeping you distracted, a hobby can help provide a secondary source of income and give joy and purpose to your life. It will eventually replace unhealthy habits with activities void of the substances that held you hostage.
One example of a worthwhile hobby would be volunteer work. Finding a cause to follow and support is a good way to keep you busy while giving back to the community. Through those programs, you may encounter new friends and build healthy connections.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is good for improving and maintaining your health. When you exercise, you’ll experience the ‘high’ that comes from endorphins released into your body which help elevate your mood.
Exercises routines can help you practice and instill discipline in your life. All these work towards reducing the chances of you relapsing.
- Follow A Healthy Diet
Diet is an essential aspect of maintaining your mental and physical wellbeing. It pairs well with the above point of the exercise. A well-balanced diet will help keep you in shape, improving your chances of feeling good, which, in turn, keeps you from turning to drugs to feel good about yourself.
It is possible to suffer brain damage from prolonged drug abuse, and one of the ways to help it heal is by eating healthy food. Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flaxseed, walnuts) and carbohydrates will help your body heal brain damage. Limit your caffeine intake. Fried foods and saturated fats should be avoided where possible.
There is a branch of counseling called nutrition counseling. Its focus is on reducing stress and cravings and stabilizing your mood through good nutrition.
- Talk With Someone You Trust
Many of these abstinence programs and rehabilitation centers provide you with a ‘sponsor.’ It is usually someone you can go to when your thoughts are in disarray. More often than not, they are someone who is farther along in their sobriety journey than you. So everything you say is something that they can relate to.
If you can’t find a sponsor, you can always call upon a friend you trust to talk to during rough patches in your journey
- Identify Your Triggers
It is imperative to recognize your triggers. A trigger is any stimulus that can cause you to have a specific emotional reaction. This reaction is often based on experience. With substance abuse, being triggered usually leads to an urge to use to escape the emotions.
Common triggers include:
- Specific Environmental Situations (enclosed spaces)
- Social Isolation
- Mental or Physical Illness
Identifying triggers is a lengthy process. It requires you to have honest introspection into your behavior. The first step is to identify your responses.
How are you feeling at the moment that you are triggered? Is it anger? Is it sadness? Jealousy? Are there any physical signals experienced? Shortness of breath? The excessive pounding of the heart?
When you have identified your emotions, rewind, and trace back the sequence of events. What happened just before you got triggered? Was the stimulus from your senses(visual, audio, smell) or something else? It is imperative to pinpoint the exact steps that led to the triggering.
Don’t expect this method to work the first time. Feelings are complicated to navigate through, sometimes it requires repeated attempts to notice a trigger.
Once we understand what triggers us, we can work towards developing healthy coping mechanisms we can employ once we realize they are about to occur.
- Seek Professional Help
Sometimes it is wise to seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with failing to overcome your addiction alone. Recovery is always a challenging task. Some physicians and therapists specialize in helping you overcome this tough battle. With structured programs that incorporate one or more of the points listed above, they provide a safe way to find yourself again. So, if you can’t manage your addiction anymore, it’s best to consult a health expert.
There are plenty of other tips to help you on your road to recovery. What was shared in this article is just the tip of the iceberg. Depending on the severity of your drug addiction, you can resort to many ways to overcome this battle. But consulting a health expert is the best advice you can get from anyone. It can be challenging at first, but gradually, you can get through it. Remember, you are not alone. Seek help when you feel overwhelmed.