The First Step to Overcoming Addiction
Before you begin on a journey to addiction recovery from an alcohol or substance use disorder, the best place to start is to think about what addiction is. Addiction is a chronic disease and an often relapsing mental disorder generally characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol seeking, even in the face of severe consequences. It is often considered a disorder of the brain because it usually stems from behaviors created or changed by neurotransmitters. It also causes significant changes to the reward and pleasure centers of the brain.
Think About Change
Since much of the addiction occurs in the brain, the person must be firmly committed to recovery. It’s also vital to consider why they are now entering long-term recovery and what that will mean for their life and lifestyle.
The commitment of time and effort is not to be taken lightly. If you are struggling with addiction, getting help is essential. Still, ensuring you are ready and willing to accept that help is vital. The change can happen as a result of the effort that is made. So someone who isn’t committed isn’t going to see the long-term effects they want.
Preparing for Change-5 Keys to Addiction Recovery
Stepping onto the road to recovery is a significant life change. This means there is much to consider beforehand regarding how committed to recovery you are. Before you start, here are five things to focus on that will give you the best chance for a successful recovery journey with a low risk of relapse.
Remind Yourself of Your Reasons for Change
Although treatment for alcohol use and dependence is available, many people do not seek or receive the help they need. Most people can benefit greatly from some form of treatment for their alcohol issues. Unfortunately, many individuals do not realize they have a problem until their alcohol use has progressed to alcoholism.
Understanding the stages and timeline of alcoholism is one of the first steps to achieving recovery. Additionally, there are 22.3 million people with an alcohol use disorder and 20.8 million people with a substance use disorder that have sought a treatment option.
Explore Your Past Attempts at Recovery
This step will mean little for those entering recovery for the first time. For those who’ve already been through one or more attempts at recovery, it can mean everything. If you have had previous attempts at recovery, take a deep look at those attempts and find out what worked and what didn’t.
Finding out what worked is essential because it can help make more progress when you’re in active inpatient and outpatient treatment.
Finding out what didn’t work is equally important since it can help isolate treatments that waste time and money. It also helps refocus efforts on treatments that are more beneficial. New therapies that haven’t been tried before can also be evaluated.
Set Specific Goals
When considering entering treatment, you must have specific goals in mind that you wish to achieve. This can mean having a firm start date, limiting how much of a substance is used, or even bringing on accountability partners. These are just examples; however, feel free to create your own goals.
Many people put off recovery with excuses like “after the holidays” or “once this next work busy season is over,” even “I’ll start recovery next month.” Have a definite date that you have arranged with your treatment center, your job, your school, and your family. Make sure you have no excuses.
Limits on Usage
Some users can do this, while many can’t. Entering treatment to be able to control your substance use is admirable.
Having accountability partners gives you peers in recovery. You can also help keep each other on the right track.
Remove Reminders of Your Addiction
You can’t recover when you’re still mentally or physically living around addiction reminders and triggers. Here are some ideas.
Clear out all addiction-related reminders from places like:
- Your home: make sure you have a haven to come home to
- Your vehicle: many people use in the car or while in different locations
- Your social life: you may have altered your social circles to accommodate drug addiction
Tell Friends and Family You’re Committing to Recovery
Finally, tell your friends and family that you’re entering recovery and let them know you need their support. One of the most critical factors in recovery is having a solid support network.
Learn About Your Triggers and Cravings
Knowing what triggers you and causes you to want to use is a big part of lowering the long-term risk of relapse. Once you know your triggers, you can build a toolkit of healthy emotional responses and coping mechanisms.
Build a Meaningful Substance Free Life
One of the most important things for someone in recovery is to join a 12-step program. This puts the individual in contact with countless peers with similar recovery struggles and gives them a safe and open place to share their stories and progress updates.
Another vital recovery factor for many individuals is finding appropriate hobbies and distractions to fill their lives. Finding hobbies gives them meaningful occupations while leaving no time or desire to fill time with drugs or alcohol.
Don’t Let Relapse Stop You From Trying Again
If you feel like treatment isn’t going to work because you’ve relapsed one or more times in the past. Each relapse is a chance to learn what doesn’t work for you and a new opportunity to find out what does. Reach out today and speak to the experts at Agape about your treatment needs.