How to Recover From a Drug Addiction
Last Updated on December 11, 2021
Tips for overcoming addiction
Drug addiction is always a difficult problem to deal with but one that thousands of people tackle every year. There is a multitude of reasons why someone may get addicted to a substance and having compassion for those that suffer from this is essential to destigmatize the issue and help those on the road to recovery.
No matter what your addiction may be, there is always the option to opt towards a road to recovery, and there is help for you along the way. There are several things you can do to help yourself overcome an addiction that will lead to a better and healthier future.
Recognize there is a problem to begin with
One of the most significant milestones you will have to face when you are battling with an addiction is admitting you have one in the first place. There can be a great deal of shame admitting you’re addicted to something, but you must overcome this to get better.
A great place to start is by looking up what the symptoms of drug addiction are and consider which ones you are exhibiting yourself.
- Have you or the people around you noticed a dramatic change in your character? Many substances can alter the way you behave and cause feelings of irritability, despair, anger, and even lead to depression.
- Do you have any physical symptoms? These can include bloodshot or glazed over eyes, abrupt changes in your weight, and poor physical coordination to name a few.
- Are you feeling a dependence or need to consume alcohol or use drugs?
If you find you tick several of the symptom boxes, there is a chance you are suffering from addiction and now is your time to act to get your life back on track.
Don’t do it alone
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t need to battle your addiction alone. Although it can be scary to reach out for help, having the support and guidance of professionals and those who love you will increase your chances of a long-lasting recovery.
There are several treatment programs available which will help you tackle your drug dependency once and for all. These include:
- Residential treatment
- Day treatment (also known as partial hospitalization)
- Outpatient treatment
- Sober living communities
Each of these offers their own benefits, and which option you choose depends on several factors, and will depend entirely on your own addiction and what you feel is right for you.
How to Find the Best Treatment for You
While admitting you need help is the most crucial step to take on this journey, finding the best treatment is the next. But how do you find the best treatment for you? Take into account the following key factors:
- Not Every Treatment Work For Everyone: Your drug addiction is personal to you. That means it needs a treatment tailored to you. While someone may recommend a specific option, such as a sober living community, it may not suit you and your personality. Therefore, you need to assess what you want out of treatment before you choose one.
- Treatment Needs to Address Every Aspect of Your Lifestyle: The addiction you have is only one aspect of you and your lifestyle. The optimum treatment for you needs to address the “why.” Why did you turn to drugs in the first place? Were you unhappy, struggling with a mental illness? Is it escapism from the reality of your life? The best treatment for you will help you accept and evaluate your current lifestyle, and most importantly, how you can change it for the better. Do you need counseling with family members to address deep-rooted issues? The treatment should allow you to face this with courage and honesty.
- You Must Commit to Treatment: Finding the best treatment is critical, but commitment is even more so. Once you accept help, stick with it until you truly feel it’s making a difference. Rather than entering a rehab program for a couple of weeks, commit to staying for the full duration. Only by doing so will you face your demons and leave treatment a changed person, ready to take on the world with fresh eyes.
Long-term residential treatment, for example, is one which lasts 60 days or more. It will help you to delve deep into the reasons for your addiction, and you will have the required time to come to terms with the mental and physical withdrawal you may go through during treatment.
If the route you need to take to recover is a long-term inpatient treatment option, you may consider enrolling yourself in a specialized treatment program. For example, you may discover a one year drug rehab program is the right fit for you, especially if you are serious about getting your life back on the right track and have a deeper level of substance abuse. The professionals at these programs can help you detox safely and give you the tools to maintain your sobriety in the future with specialized after-care options.
Be prepared for entering the real world again
When you leave a drug rehab center, you need to learn how to identify addiction triggers and cravings without the aid of having professionals around you, although you will most likely be paired with an ongoing treatment therapist following inpatient treatment.
When you reenter society sober, the temptations will be there but, by knowing what makes you want to use a substance, you can better monitor yourself and your emotions to stop using again. The treatment option you chose will have discussed your triggers in the real world and the reason why you turned to drugs in the first place, but actually facing these is a highly different experience.
That’s why staying at a residential facility for the duration of the program is a very effective method. However, when you are ready to return to your life, your family, your friends, and your work, you will need to have coping techniques close at hand. Unfortunately, a relapse into drugs is very common, and you will want to avoid this at all costs. Coping techniques may include:
- Avoiding specific groups of friends, especially if they were people you once indulged in drugs with: Although this can be tricky, it’s vital for your wellbeing and recovery. These people may influence and tempt you to fall back into old habits, which will be highly detrimental and damaging to not only your physical health but your mental health too. The feeling of failure, particularly once you’ve done so well to overcome the addiction in the first place, can heighten the need for the drug once more, to numb the feelings.
- Walking away from difficult situations: If you initially turned to drugs to deal with difficult family situations and issues, while you may have addressed this during treatment, knowing you can walk away if it flares up again is essential. There’s no reason to stay in a tricky situation if you don’t need to. Having the courage to walk away and reassess your thoughts and emotions is an important skill to learn, and one to remember.
- Get involved in a distracting activity: If you are finding dealing with craving when you’re alone and at a loss of what to do difficult, a great coping technique is to start a new, distracting activity. Perhaps this could be heading to the gym to run off the excess energy. Or it could be journaling your thoughts. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it distracts you enough to ignore the cravings.