Despite the significant social stigma associated with addiction, suffering from a substance abuse disorder doesn’t mean you’re weak. Addiction is a complex disease that causes structural and behavioural changes that can’t be overcome just by deciding to quit. Quitting a habit takes a lot more than self-control or a strong will; you’ll need to implement significant lifestyle changes to help you follow through with your decision. Here are some practical steps to help you get started on -and stick to- your road to sobriety.
Take a stand
We know we’ve just mentioned that deciding to end your addiction doesn’t mean it will automatically terminate, but making this decision remains an integral point in your journey. It’s the first step you’ll need to take to start getting your life together, but it’s nowhere near easy. Addiction changes the personality; it makes you keep craving the substance at the expense of anything else. Forcing yourself to be honest enough about the addiction and how negatively it’s affecting your life can be the last thing you want to do, but it’s also what you need the most.
Seek rehab and therapy
There are many reasons why addicts refuse to seek treatment. It may be fear of the social stigma or the added financial stress of the rehabilitation costs. Unfortunately, many rehabilitation institutes adopt a business mindset, prioritizing profit and charging high rates for their services. That’s why finding reputable drug rehabilitation centers are crucial for any addict seeking treatment. The best centres focus on providing full medical detox, followed by a comprehensive and personalized rehabilitation plan that helps patients overcome their addiction and turn their lives around.
Build a support system
While you’ll need to believe in yourself and your ability to overcome addiction, putting too much faith in yourself can be disastrous. It’s essential to recognize your limitations and ask for support when you need to. Surrounding yourself with a support system will help you stay on track and combat your urges. This support system can consist of your close family and friends, but seeking support groups to connect with similar people and share your stories can also be necessary.
Develop healthy alternatives
To get rid of the old and destructive habits, newer, healthier alternatives need to fill their place. The truth is that your brain will never forget the addiction. It has it stored there for when the right moment comes, which is signalled for by triggers. For instance, visiting your old spot or hanging with old friends can trigger your mind to relapse. That’s why overcoming addiction starts with removing the substance, but it’s soon followed by erasing all its traces by developing healthier alternatives.
You always hear people saying that to overcome your addiction, you should go for a run, take up a sport, eat healthier, or simply just quit. However, getting over substance abuse is not as easy as they make it out to be. It takes significant lifestyle changes and integral mindset shifts to successfully achieve sobriety. Recovery is a lifelong process, but with the right treatment plan and a support network by your side, you can successfully end your substance dependence.
Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.