Recovery from addiction is not a one-time process. It’s a lifelong journey for the addict and their loved ones. By knowing and understanding some of the obstacles that are most commonly faced throughout the journey, the support system the recovering addict has built can assist them in living a sober, cleaner life.
Living With Addiction
While the detox process is an uphill battle in and of itself, arguably maintaining sobriety throughout your life can be just as difficult. However, with proper treatment and support, a sober life and a bright future are absolutely possible.
Avoiding Relapse Staying away from addictive behavior, whether it happens to be something like gambling or a controlled substance, is a major key to staying sober. There are a number of things that can help prevent falling back into addiction; the most common method of staying sober is known as HALT.
The Halt Method
- Hungry: An unhealthy diet decreases your overall feeling of well-being.
- Angry: Being angry or frustrated can trigger the urge to relapse.
- Lonely: Isolation from friends, family and a support group can cause the urge to consume a drug of choice.
- Tired: When a person doesn’t get enough sleep or is highly stressed it can lead to a lack of motivation to stay on the path of sobriety.
Many people recovering from an addiction face relapse on a regular basis. Studies indicate between 40 and 60% of recovering addicts will experience a relapse at some point, but to say that relapse means there is no hope is not correct. Therapy and support groups teach recovering addicts how to take care of themselves when they relapse. A good support structure helps decrease the severity of relapse when it does happen.
Stress Relief Strategies
Stress is a big contributing factor to relapse. Even those who have experienced many years of sobriety may be tempted to relapse in a stressful situation.
There are a number of steps you can take to relieve yourself from stress.
- Avoid situations where there is a risk of triggering a relapse.
- Cut out any relationships that are a persistent source of stress.
- Highlight progress toward goals, no matter how small.
- Be sure to get regular exercise. Physical exercise is a fantastic stress reliever.
- Try to eat a healthy diet. This will not only help your mental health but your physical as well.
An Addiction Free Life
The overarching goal for life, one way or another, should be becoming and staying happy and being well. Those who are in recovery give themselves opportunities to find fulfilling jobs, develop friendships and push themselves toward goals. Those in recovery regularly attend support meetings, Seek out volunteer opportunities and may even pursue a spiritual calling. Keep in mind that everybody has a slightly different path, but all are headed to the same destination, a life of sobriety. It’s up to the recovering addict to find their purpose in life.
If you find yourself or someone you love is struggling with addiction there is always hope and a path to sobriety. You have nothing to lose by pursing recovery and everything to gain. Here is some advice that may lead you in the right direction.
Advice for Adults
It’s not an easy thing to admit that you need help especially when you feel you can’t control your thoughts or your actions. Living in denial is, however, a much worse option. If you’re having difficulties recovering from your addiction on your own, it is time to seek professional help.
Addiction is an illness of the brain. Medicine is an excellent and, arguably, the only way to recover. Affordable rehabilitation is available. You should consult with your medical insurance provider so you can find rehab facilities, or for those that are uninsured or underinsured, search for free federal, state or project supported centers.
You should embrace treatment as there is no shame in getting help. The more you put into the recovery process, the more you’re going to get out of it and the more likely you will stay sober.
Advice for Teens
It doesn’t matter how old you are as addiction knows no age. However, addiction is somewhat more dangerous to teenagers and to those whose brains are still developing.
If you’re worried about getting into trouble because of your addiction you should still talk to your doctor or counselor. Please understand that getting treatment is safe. There are certain treatment centers that specializes in helping teenagers and some facilities will allow you to lead a relatively normal life while recovering.
If you can’t seek the help of your parents, you should seek the help of your peers. You may be surprised to learn that there are support groups for teens that are in your situation. It’s the support that is critical to your recovery and sobriety.
Advice for Families and Friends
Those who are suffering from addiction often don’t want to share this burden with their family or friends. Their behavior and addiction can cause shame, and they don’t want to be demonized because they have an addiction. The loved ones of a recovering addict should be supportive and comforting during this difficult time.
It helps to educate yourself on addiction. Be on the lookout for symptoms and avoid shaming those who are seeking help. Encourage them to get the professional help they need to get the right type of treatment.
If you see a friend or loved one in what you believe to be an addiction, and they are not willing to seek help, it may be time for a safe and structured intervention. This could save someone’s life.
Support Groups and Meetings
As we’ve mentioned before, a strong support system of peers, professionals and loved ones is crucial for recovery. Peer support groups can be found almost everywhere for almost any addiction, including 12-step programs like Marijuana Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and so on.
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