Calusa Recovery

Calusa Recovery

9 Steps to Overcome Addiction

steps to overcome addiction

9 Steps to Overcome Addiction

If you’re concerned that you’re no longer in control of substance use, there’s probably a lot on your mind. People who struggle with addiction are often at the mercy of drugs and alcohol, which can rewire the brain to shift your priorities and distort your worldview. Luckily, there are clear steps to overcome addiction that anyone can take.

Understanding addiction

Addiction is a complex disease that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It can have devastating consequences on every aspect of a person’s life, including their physical and mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. Understanding addiction is the first step towards recovery.

Addiction is not simply a lack of willpower or a moral failing. It is a chronic brain disease that alters the structure and function of the brain, making it difficult to control impulses and resist the temptation to use drugs or alcohol. It can stem from a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

To truly understand addiction, it’s important to dispel common misconceptions surrounding it. Addiction is not a choice, but rather a compulsive behavior driven by changes in the brain. It is not limited to illegal substances but can also involve prescription medication, alcohol, or even behaviors such as gambling or gaming.

The impact of addiction on individuals and society

The impact of addiction goes beyond the individual struggling with substance abuse. It affects families, communities, and society as a whole. Substance abuse can lead to strained relationships, financial problems, legal issues, and even loss of life.

Individuals battling addiction often experience a decline in physical and mental health. Substance abuse can lead to liver damage, heart problems, respiratory issues, and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Additionally, addiction can impair cognitive function, making it difficult to perform daily tasks and maintain employment.

On a broader scale, addiction places a significant burden on healthcare systems, law enforcement, and social services. The costs associated with addiction, including medical expenses, criminal justice expenses, and lost productivity, are staggering. Addressing addiction is not only crucial for the well-being of individuals but also for the overall health and stability of society.

Can You Take Steps to Overcome Addiction?

Addiction treatment looks a little different for everyone, depending on their experiences, triggers, and various other factors. However, there is some common ground when it comes to getting sober. The initial recovery period takes hard work, but as you continue on your journey, you’ll build courage, resilience, and pride in how far you’ve come.

Drug addiction and alcoholism are chronic diseases, which means there’s no definitive cure. Instead, people with the condition need to learn new habits and actively focus on using coping mechanisms other than drugs and alcohol.

Doing this alone isn’t an option, but you’re the one who’s ultimately responsible for your recovery. Medical professionals at rehab will provide support and care while giving you the tools you need to maintain sobriety long-term. Here are the steps you can take to get back in the driver’s seat and banish addictive behavior.

1. Admit That You Have a Problem

Practically all experts agree that admitting you have a problem is essential for recovery. This doesn’t necessarily take place before rehab for everyone. In fact, many people go to rehab because they’re court-ordered or because their family wants them to. Therapists and other care workers can help clients see they need help, so don’t worry if you or your loved one isn’t quite there yet.

Denial is a close relative of addiction because as long as you’re not thinking about the reality of the consequences, you can convince yourself that your behavior is acceptable. Without seeing how damaging your actions are, it’s hard to understand why you should stop doing something you feel so compelled to do.

2. Learn About the Mechanisms of Alcohol and Drugs

A barrier for many people is also another major cause of denial in addicted people: not fully comprehending the devastating impact psychoactive substances have on the brain and body.

Drinking alcohol is perfectly legal, and a large proportion of people can do so without drinking so much that it damages their health. For an alcoholic, it’s practically impossible to see the difference between themselves and other people who drink socially.

Drug addicts often understand that they shouldn’t take drugs because it’s illegal, but they don’t necessarily know how badly drugs affect the brain’s reward system. Part of the recovery process is facing up to the reality of the long-term consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.

3. Detoxification: The first step towards recovery

Overcoming addiction is not a one-time event but a lifelong journey. Support groups and aftercare programs are essential for maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse. These resources provide ongoing support, encouragement, and accountability.

  • Support groups: Joining support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide a sense of community and understanding. Sharing experiences and learning from others who have walked a similar path can be immensely beneficial.
  • Therapeutic aftercare programs: After completing a rehab program, individuals may benefit from enrolling in an aftercare program. These programs offer continued therapy, relapse prevention strategies, and life skills development to support individuals as they transition back into their daily lives.
  • Lifestyle changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial for long-term recovery. This includes implementing regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, practicing stress management techniques, and developing positive coping mechanisms.
  • 4. Get Counseling for Substance Use Disorders

In addition to psychoeducation, individual counseling, and group therapy are essential tools for getting sober. Everyone has different experiences and reasons for turning to substance abuse. The better you understand your “why,” the more adept you can get at coping with the emotions or stressors that push you into a place where inebriation is a go-to solution.

For some people, peer pressure and exposure are bigger contributors to the development of addiction than trauma. Counseling is still necessary to help you avoid getting into a similar situation in the future and help you form healthier habits.

5. Learn Your Triggers and Develop Coping Mechanisms

During therapy, a major part of the work you do is focused on learning triggers and developing coping mechanisms. Triggers are situations, emotions, and thinking patterns that make you feel like using drugs and alcohol. Criticism, rejection, anxiety, guilt, and shame are common examples.

A counselor will help you understand your emotions so you can start to label them and know when you might be triggered to use substances. Over time, you’ll develop coping mechanisms and learn how to implement them when the feelings that could lead to drug or alcohol abuse arise. This can help you develop different steps to overcome addiction.

One of the most important coping mechanisms is sharing your feelings with loved ones. Keeping negative emotions inside without expressing them can lead to resentment and anger, which is much harder to work through if you let them build up. By getting how you feel off your chest, you give less power to the negative emotion and provide yourself with an opportunity to resolve the problem.

6. Rehab programs: Inpatient vs. outpatient

The journey to recovery is not without its challenges. It’s important to be prepared for potential obstacles and develop strategies to overcome them. Some common challenges faced in recovery include:

  • Cravings and triggers: Cravings for the substance and triggers that remind individuals of their past addiction can be strong. It’s important to develop healthy coping mechanisms, such as distracting oneself with engaging activities or reaching out to a support network.
  • Negative emotions: Recovery can bring up a range of emotions, including guilt, shame, and anxiety. Learning to manage these emotions through therapy, mindfulness practices, and self-care is essential.
  • Relationships and social situations: Rebuilding relationships and navigating social situations can be challenging. Open communication, setting boundaries, and surrounding oneself with supportive individuals can make this process easier.

7. Therapy and counseling: Addressing the underlying causes of addiction

Recovery is a journey filled with both small and significant milestones. Celebrating these milestones is crucial for maintaining motivation and a positive mindset. Some milestones to celebrate include:

  • Sobriety milestones: Whether it’s a day, a week, a month, or a year, each milestone of sobriety is an achievement worth celebrating. Acknowledge and reward yourself for the progress made.
  • Rebuilding relationships: As relationships heal and trust is rebuilt, take the time to appreciate the progress made in repairing and strengthening connections with loved ones.
  • Personal growth: Recovery is an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. Recognize the positive changes you’ve made in your life and the steps taken towards a fulfilling future.

Remember, recovery is a continuous process, and setbacks may occur along the way. It’s important to remain resilient, seek support when needed, and never lose sight of the brighter, healthier future that lies ahead.

8. Make Lifestyle Changes to Maintain Recovery Long Term

The final major step in the recovery process is making long-term lifestyle changes that support your sober lifestyle. Below is an explanation of some effective ways of maintaining a healthy body and mind so you don’t get sucked back into substance abuse.

Talking to Loved Ones – As mentioned previously, getting your feelings off your chest is pivotal to recovery. Many people who struggle with addiction have an internalized belief that their feelings aren’t worthy, or are somehow invalid. By opening up and being honest and vulnerable with people you trust, you can relieve the stress of carrying anger, pain, and guilt.

Diet and Exercise – Diet and exercise play an astoundingly important role in many people’s recovery. Eating too much highly processed food and not enough fruits and vegetables can affect mental health, as the body uses nutrients to keep your brain and body healthy. Likewise, not moving your body for at least 30 minutes each day can lead to imbalances in hormones that can make resisting cravings much harder.

Support Groups and Ongoing Therapy- All rehab alumni should continue attending therapy and support groups for at least two years, although many go for the rest of their lives. Addiction is a deep-rooted psychological disorder, and it takes a long time to properly rewire the brain’s circuits so cravings and substance abuse aren’t at the front of your mind.

Reinforcing what you’ve learned in rehab with ongoing mental health treatment is essential for steps to overcome addiction.

Get Professional Help for Addiction Today

The best place to overcome addiction is at rehab, where experienced addiction experts can help guide you through the process. Call our Fort Myers rehabilitation center today at 844-254-9664 for more information.

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