10 things every addict should know

Recovering form addiction is a life-long process, and it begins with admitting your substance abuse to begin with. However, it doesn’t end there, or with a spell in rehab. Recovery isn’t easy, and will involve changing a lot of the familiar patterns of life. Here’s some things every addict should know as they take the first steps towards recovering from their substance abuse.

Your family and friends can be enablers.

Of course, it’s obvious that groups of friends you had surrounding your particular drug of choice will be enablers. They often feel ashamed about their own use, or are persons such as dealers who have great incentive to pull you back in to your old habits. However, other people can also facilitate your substance abuse, from parents who love you so much they unwittingly help you stay addicted, to people who rile you not knowing or caring you’re in recovery. A lot of the process will be you realising only you can take ultimate responsibility for your actions.

You will lose friends.

Of course, sometimes you can’t patch it up with friends, and you will lose them because of the addiction you had. You will also need to get rid of those who enable you and try to pull you back into addiction. Lastly, the support groups you form in recovery will also see loss- people will relapse and not pull themselves back up. They may stay sober but be lost early to the result of their previous addiction. It’s important to find friends out of recovery for this very reason.

It’s all on you.

On that note, realise it really is all on you. Yes, you will have people to help- from corrections officers to counsellors and pastors; to love ones, people want you to get well. But in the end, you are the only person who can drive your destiny.

In the end, you are the creator of your sobriety.

Many addicts hand off their recovery and continuing sobriety to the programs they entered. Yes, programs, people and counsellors will help- but if you get and stay sober, ultimately the victory is yours.

You are [were] a liar.

Addicts say and do anything that enables their addiction to continue. They may genuinely not realise that this is the case. It can, in many way, become a mechanism for survival. Your brain has learnt to drive you towards the high you received from the substance you are abusing, and will do anything to get it, confusing it with a genuine biological goal. In doing so, you may well have alienated loved ones and family. You’ve taught them you can’t be trusted. Yes, this can eventually be remedied for the most part- but be aware that sometimes, people whose trust you have broken won’t give you it back. Try to understand it from their viewpoint

You may have been a criminal too.

Did you steal to fund your habit? Did your particular substance of abuse leave you with manic mood swings or urges to violence that may have led you to actions you wouldn’t otherwise have undertaken? Was your substance of abuse prohibited by law? It can be very hard to admit to yourself that your actions were illegal. However, realising this, accepting such parole, conviction or corrections procedures as you are assigned, and moving past it is a vital part of recovery.

Don’t transfer your addiction.

It’s easy to switch from one substance to something else- even if it’s as innocuous as coffee. Don’t allow yourself to replace your addiction with another one that’s more socially acceptable. It can have devastating long term effects on your recovery.

You can’t be the same again.

Unfortunately, things will never go back to how they were before the addiction changed everything. Yes, you have a strong likelihood of being able to reconnect with and regain the trust of loved ones, get profitable employment, and make something of your life. Of course, having once been an addict need not ruin your future- but you probably won’t be able to put it back exactly as it once was. Accepting that it was your actions that caused the damage, and seeing how you can move through them, is essential to your recovery.

It’s easier to get sober then live sober.

That first phase, difficult as detox can be, is a lot easier than staying sober. Be prepared to fight for yourself all the time, and never assume you are now ‘not an addict’ and can return to moderate use of your drug of choice.

Relapse happens.

Relapse, sadly, is likely. It doesn’t mean it’s the end for you- pick yourself back up and get back on track. Don’t allow negativity and judgement to cloud you.

These 10 things every addict should know can help you accept the path ahead and stay true to your need to get sober.

How to recover after substance abuse

The recovery from substance abuse is a long road. It’s tempting to believe that it ends with the actual rehab process, but it doesn’t- it will continue long after a course of rehab is done. Here’s some ways you can look at supporting both body and mind after the addiction recovery process.

Your first steps to recovery

Of course, the process starts with admitting the substance abuse was not healthy and seeking treatment. Mostly, this will start with an ‘official’ rehab process at a facility, whether you are treated as an in-patient or are allowed to come in as an out-patient.

Even if you are not able to seek the help of an accredited addiction treatment center, it is imperative to begin the treatment process by getting help. Substance abuse groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can be found almost everywhere, and will help you stay away from the substance you are abusing. This stage is vitally important to begin detox. Remember, however, that even after the detox process has taken place, the patterns, habits and systems that enabled you to abuse a drug in the first place will still be there and must be tackled to ensure a successful recovery. This first stage is obviously the most dramatic of the stages of recovery, and in many ways can be the most important- but will ultimately fail without a successful long term recovery plan.

The long term plan.

Recovering after substance abuse doesn’t stop with a successful rehab. Firstly, take this time to set yourself some goals. It’s not uncommon for addiction to rob you of the little joys and goals in life- or maybe you were led to substance abuse by not having anything in the first place. Consider your strengths, and find an achievable- but not easy- goal that can be clearly defined and will be rewarding.

These can be great ways to ensure that your previous unhealthy patterns are broken, and may include finding a job, completing parole requirements you may have, or learning to socialise without your drug as a crutch. Break the ultimate goal down into little steps to be manageable. Remember things like ‘just be strong’ and ‘make more cash’ are not good goals- they are nebulous, difficult to enforce and assume more willpower than anyone normal has. Don’t tie a goal to something nebulous, make them practical and achievable. They can be as simple as playing with the kids every day. Goals that lead you away from your addiction and are rewarding are the key.

Long-term recovery is about moving forward.

Recovery means the process of moving forward, thinking differently from when you were suffering addiction. Become reacquainted with measuring time as it is- hours and minutes- rather than by events like when you can take your next hit. Remember that filling your time productively is a good way to break old habits and move forward away from your old life. It’s important to use it wisely, though, so that you are not tempted into emotional outbursts that may be difficult to resolve and lead you into temptation. Remember that many addicts find support groups a key part of the recovery after substance abuse, and don’t be afraid to reach out.

Sadly, family and friends will often have lost confidence in an addict before their recovery process begins. Realise it will take time to earn back that trust and confidence. Being stable is the best way to boost this progress. Remember, though, that that trust may come with honesty- it may be hard to deal with those honest reactions. Always remember, too, that a significant amount of relapse is caused by peer pressure from ‘friends’ associated with your addiction. You will also have to learn to say no to people from that aspect of your previous life. Don’t imply they can ask you again on the subject- be emphatic, clear and simple in your rejection. You will also need to accept that you will probably be force to cut them out of your life if they too do not seek help to recover.

How do I guard against relapse?

It takes time to reprogram your new life. Remember, in the end this is a fight for your life- it’s worth fighting. If you do relapse, get back on track as soon as you can. Don’t allow negative thoughts like ‘I’ve already blown it’ to stop your program.

It’s not all or nothing, and there’s no need for self-blame. Relapse often occurs as you begin to feel more in control and begin to believe that you can moderately use the substance you previously abused. Daydreaming about the ‘fun’ of the drug and swapping stories about those fun times can be warning you’re heading toward relapse. Don’t be afraid to call your sponsor, counsellor or a sober friend, and even leave the situation that’s pushing you to relapse. You can ask family and friends to help you by stopping you in these reminiscences, and distract yourself. Watch in particular for the ‘looking good’ trap- you’re body has begun to recover from addiction, and you begin to doubt the severity of your previous problem.

Recovering after substance abuse takes a long time and will, in fact, be a lifelong journey of breaking poor habits and recovering your life.

© 2016 Gates Recovery

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑