Do you ever feel compelled to do a particular task over and over again? If you do, do you find yourself doing it every day? If your answer is a resounding “yes” to both questions, you have an addiction. Some common addictions are drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, and gambling. Addictions take over a person’s life and can strain your health, relationships, and career. Suffering from an addiction isn’t a sign of weakness and you have nothing to be ashamed about. Once you realize that your habit has turned into an obsession, you would have probably thought about stopping. Overcoming an addiction is not a one-day affair. It takes steely determination and months, sometimes years, of hard work to properly overcome any addiction. Applying pressure on someone with an addiction can actually make things worse. No one can force someone to become sober; it’ll work only if the addict wants to completely kick the habit. However, being strongly motivated to change is already half the battle won. So, are ready to change your life for the better? These steps will help you take the right path in the right direction.
Step #1: Acknowledge You Have a Problem
Acknowledge the ways your addiction has impaired your life. This will be tough, especially if you have been in denial about your addiction all this time. However, the impact will be stronger if you write it all down. So, pick up a pen and a paper, and start jotting down all the problems you face because of your addiction – it could be as small as having to frequently get out of your office to as big as losing your job. Note down the mental effects it has had on you, like exhaustion, embarrassment, resentment, etc. Also, add in the illnesses you might face later on in life if you continue your addiction, like cancer, cirrhosis, or heart disease. Don’t forget to end it with your prime motivation/s: the reasons you want to give it up.
Step #2: Enroll yourself in a rehab center
Once you’re honest with yourself, you can move on to the next step: seeking treatment to overcome addiction. While you can do it by yourself, it requires an enormous amount of willpower and support. Also, in some cases of drug addictions, it can be dangerous to suddenly stop without medical supervision. Rehab centers provide holistic treatment and care that will reduce chances of a relapse. For your treatment, you can choose anything from a self-detox to an . While treatment for every addiction has a different approach, you need to be aware of the procedure. Before getting enrolled, conduct a detailed research on treatment procedures, treatment centers, and how it can benefit you.
Step #3: Prevent Relapse
Relapse is a part of the recovery process. You shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself if you go back to your old habits. Instead, come up with different ways to prevent relapse and keep yourself distracted during cravings. Talking about your craving to a close friend or family member also helps bring honesty and restore the relationship. By expressing your feelings, you can also figure out the reason behind the trigger.
Step #4: Cultivate new hobbies
Addiction is nothing more than a habit that is very hard to let go. Change is hard, but after your first slip-up, stop and reflect on what caused the relapse. Once you figure it out, ensure you stay away from that trigger. For a lot of people, going back to their exact life before addiction can act as a strong trigger that cause relapses. So, it’s better if you cultivate new hobbies, foster new relationships, and bring some freshness and change into your life.
Step #5: Deal with your emotions
There was a reason you took to your addiction. And once you start becoming sober, those emotions and issues will reappear. Distracting yourself is a good short-term solution. But to truly avoid relapses, you need to address your problems and the stress it causes you. Experiencing negative emotions are a part of life and there are much better ways to handle it. Some healthy alternatives to handle stress are meditation, exercise, watching a movie, or indulging in a hobby.
Step #6: Connect with friends
Before your addiction, you used to hang out with your friends. When they tried to help you out, you pushed them away. Now that you’re getting sober, you should reconnect with them. Having a close circle of friends who care about you and motivate you helps in the long run. However, if your previous social life revolved around your addiction, it’s time to start making new friends through community activities, volunteering in church, recovery support groups, or joining a class.
Step #7: Take small steps
You cannot rush the process. Time is an essential factor in treating addiction. A treatment should last a minimum of 90 days, if not more. If the process is rushed, the treatment won’t be effective and patients will be more vulnerable to relapses. Staying sober can sometimes remain a commitment that lasts a lifetime. That’s because the longer you remain addicted, the longer it will take and the harder it will be to get out.
Step #8: Stay Committed
The de-addiction process is never simple nor is it straightforward. It requires a lot of effort, patience, support, and care. While remaining sober, it’s better to stay away from prescription drugs that have a higher potential for abuse. Ensure that you receive the right follow-up support and care once you leave the treatment center.
The vital thing to keep in mind is to never give up. Even if you face relapses, breakdowns or cravings, call up your doctor, keep in touch with your sponsor, and if needed, book an appointment with your therapist. Never forget that help is always available – all you need to do is reach out. Keep yourself motivated and use every experience to strengthen your resolve to break free from the shackles of your addiction.