Drug and alcohol addiction are life-long battles. To live a healthy life and find victory over your addiction it requires a strong support network and lifestyle changes. A well-stocked tool kit is essential for when memories pop up, no matter how long you’ve been clean, in order to avoid the temptation. Make sure to have one in place before the temptation arises.
What your tool-kit should include
As you embark on this life-long journey here are some essentials to take with you.
- National Helpline for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Professional counselors
- Network of friends who support this new journey
- Accountability partners
- Support groups
- Healthy diet and exercise routine
- A new hobby for stress relief
- An escape plan when tempted
Benefits of recovery
There are a number of benefits that come from recovery.
Drugs and alcohol are often used to mask other problems. They are a coping mechanism for stress or a way to numb against physical and emotional pain. As you recover the underlying issue will be discovered. It’s important to have counselors and physicians walk you through this step and help you find healthier coping mechanisms along the way.
Overtime a history of drug and alcohol abuse leads to poor self-care habits. The road to recovery is filled with goal setting and milestones to achieve. As you progress through recovery your sense of self-worth will improve as goal after goal is accomplished. You’ll soon see that you are capable of doing this and so much more!
Addiction wears away at healthy relationships. Recovery offers the chance of restoration, to rediscover defined boundaries, and find new supportive friends. During addiction you are in survival mode, and so are those around you who love you and want the best for you. A major benefit of recovery is learning to set healthy boundaries and reconnect with loved ones.
You will go from merely existing to living again. Recovery allows you to discover who you are, gain self-esteem, and find the energy and time to do things the drugs and alcohol have kept you from.
Drugs and alcohol rewire the brain so that the body becomes dependent. To begin down the road of a successful recovery you have to acknowledge the damage done and recognize the addiction as a disease to fight. According to James, co-author of “The Craving Brain,” “…not only is [addiction] one of the hardest things in the world to fix, you’re going to have to deal with it for the rest of your life. You can’t get rid of the bad wiring and you can’t get rid of the euphoric recall.”
The truth is, it’s going to take some work.
So, what can you do?
Making the decision to be sober will require many changes. You will have to think seriously about who you allow in your life and what you do in your free time. Learning positive self-talk and new ways to cope with stress are essential.
You’ll also want to take stock of the people who are around you. Do they want the best for you? Will they support your new sobriety? If not, then they are not your people. You must build a solid network of support and walk away from the temptations that pull you back into your old habits.
The same with your job. Is it triggering your addiction usage or exposing you to further temptation? Take stock of your surroundings and identify what is a trigger and what is not a trigger. Then take steps to change your environment in a way that will support your success. This may mean finding a new job, moving to a new town, or enrolling in a rehab program.
Once you decide to make a change, be all in.
Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you on your new journey.