Addictions are an incredibly challenging and painful disease. There is a great deal of stigma and shame around having an addiction, whether to alcohol or an illegal substance. Addiction devastates health, wealth, and bonds, obscuring hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Far from being a simple unhealthy behavior, addiction can begin to take over your entire life, as well as cause multiple health issues such as cancer, liver disease, and even heart damage. Confront addiction, and craft a decisive plan to break free. Today, we’ll explore some of the most powerful tips for beating your addiction and building a new, healthier lifestyle.
Recognizing the problem is the pivotal first step in effective treatment. This is partly due to the fact that there is a great deal of shame around having trouble; other people will claim to you that it’s a choice, or they will deride you for being “weak.”
However, new research into addiction proves that it is actually a brain disease, just like a mental illness such as anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. As with many mental illnesses, there is a genetic and environmental component. Your brain is susceptible to addiction, and your environment. Such as living with an alcoholic parent, can make you more prone to developing a substance abuse issue.
Addiction alters brain chemistry, intensifying cravings and reducing joy in healthier pursuits. It’s not your fault, but seeking help and change is your responsibility, akin to managing a chronic illness. Viewing it as a medical problem can aid the initial, difficult steps toward healing and recovery.
When you’re struggling with addiction, you don’t want people to know. You’ll try to hide the problem and function as other people do but for many addicts. It becomes impossible over time, which triggers the realization that you have a problem. It can be difficult to break the desire to hide away and deal with something on your own. But this can be a serious mistake and set you back in your recovery.
Instead, build a support network of professionals and loved ones who cheer you on. Visiting an addiction treatment center can help you detox and change your behavior, transitioning you to outpatient treatment where you can receive continuing support. Gain insights into addiction mechanisms and acquire practical strategies to reshape your surroundings and mindset to avoid the substance.
Daily support from loved ones is crucial to supplementing professional care, maintaining your path toward recovery, and staying on course. Associate with non-addicted individuals; avoiding those in active addiction can bolster your resolve during challenging moments.
Addiction can start to push others away, so you may find that your support circle has shrunk over time, and you’re not sure who you can turn to. You can reconnect with those who love you and make new friends committed to sobriety, such as through support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.
When you’re struggling with addiction, it can often feel like you’re stuck: your career isn’t moving forward, you’re not building deeper relationships, and your hobbies or other passions have slowly disappeared. Getting treatment is a great time to see what other good things are out there, retraining your brain to seek healthy behaviors that will replace the high you get from your substance of choice.
Things that are good for you and also provide you with a hit of dopamine, such as working out or going out to lunch with a friend, will help remind you of how much better life is without addiction, and they will also give you new things to look forward to instead of the next time that you can access your drug of choice.
It’s important to go slow with this to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed. Quickly make the most significant changes, such as getting rid of drug paraphernalia and cutting ties with addicted friends, then take your time adding in new behaviors so that they will stick. If you want to go back to school, take one class that first semester so that you’re not overly stressed; if you want to get in better physical shape, commit to visiting the gym for 30 minutes three times a week, even if you do nothing but stretches and light walking on the treadmill.
Throughout all of this, be kind to yourself. Recognize that you’re struggling with an enormous burden that can take years to overcome. Celebrate your successes and console yourself after setbacks, recognizing that they are all part of your overall journey. With support and a good mindset, you can join the ranks of the happily sober, too!