Almost 21 million Americans struggle with some form of drug addiction, but only 10% of them ever receive any kind of treatment. However, those who do come out on the other side much stronger, happier, and more successful than ever before.
If you’re someone who struggles with addiction, there is both hope and help for you. While some may treat addiction as a moral failing, it absolutely is not- it’s a sickness that can happen to anyone, and treatment is out there for you.
Read on to learn how to fight your illness and stay drug-free for the rest of your happy and full life.
Identify the Reasons Sobriety Is Important
Once you’ve acknowledged that you have a drug problem, the first thing that you need to do is identify the reasons that you want to become sober. While this may sound like a daunting task, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
Grab a pen and paper (or a laptop or iPad) and start jotting down reasons that sobriety is important to you. Good examples would be that you want to become a healthier person, that you want to fulfill a lifelong dream that you must be sober for, or that you want to experience time with loved ones without the haze of drugs clouding your time together.
However, these are only examples. Breaking a drug habit and taking steps toward sobriety is a highly individual task, and only you truly know the things that matter to you. Look inward a little bit and identify your values. Write down the ways that becoming sober will help you achieve these values. Then keep the list somewhere handy that you can access later.
Get Support From Loved Ones
Once your list is made, you’re going to want to contact your family and close friends to tell them that you’ve made the decision to become drug-free. People with a good support system have an easier time achieving sobriety than those who don’t, so make sure that you tell people who will offer unconditional love and support for your cause.
If you have people that enable your addiction, you’re going to want to take a step back from them, too. Instead, spend time with the people who support your journey to freedom from drug dependence. Put your foot down and demand that everyone respect your decision to become sober.
Get Professional Assistance
While having supportive friends and family is essential to becoming drug-free, you’re also going to need to get professional support. While you may be resistant to this help at first- who wants to go to a psychiatric hospital?- it isn’t as scary as you may have seen or heard that it can be.
For one thing, you won’t need to go to an inpatient program like those you see in movies. All you need to do is go and talk to a licensed professional a couple of times a week. Besides these short sessions, you’ll get to be at home surrounded by people and things that you love. Your therapists are here for help and support, and they understand the difficulty of what you’re going through.
You can read here about an awesome outpatient program that will let you do these things!
Work Through Withdrawl
Anyone who has ever become sober after issues with drugs will tell you that the most difficult part of becoming sober is dealing with withdrawal symptoms. These come in a variety of forms and what happens to you will vary based on the specific drugs you’re getting off of as well as the doses that you took.
Withdrawl is a natural physical response to coming off a substance that chemically alters your mind. However, there are ways to cope with it and make it easier on yourself. For one thing, attending a detox program is a great way to meet people who are going through similar struggles and encourage each other.
Exercising regularly and eating right are also essential. Regular exercise will release endorphins within your brain that restore its chemical balance. Exercise can also help you to sleep better and reduce muscle tension, which will make it easier for you to get through withdrawal.
Remember that the symptoms that you are experiencing during this stage of sobriety are temporary. Most people see a reduction in withdrawal symptoms after just a couple of short weeks, so stick it out!
You were strong enough to make the decision to quit, so you must know in your heart that you’re strong enough to get through these couple of weeks.
Keep Priorities in Check
Remember the sheet of paper or Word doc that you wrote your reasons for pursuing sobriety on?
Whenever you begin to feel the need to take drugs, take this sheet out. Read it over and remember the reasons that you wanted to become sober in the first place. Take a deep breath and think about some of the goals on the sheet that you already are obtaining and the others that you now have the mental wherewithal to work towards.
After that, take out your cell phone and text a friend or family member who you know will support you. Take a walk around your neighborhood and know that you can do this.
While staying sober is a difficult challenge, it will all be worth it when you get your life back on track and begin to fulfill your dreams.
Now that you know how to fight against addiction in a way that will allow you to remain drug-free, it’s time to get started with treatment. Check out the search function on our home page to search for any keywords related to recovery. Here, you’ll find a lot of different information on how to stay sober.