Serve Others Include Those Suffering From Addiction
Now that you are enjoying a happy and sober life it is time to spread that achievement to others. Seek out others in recovery and do what you can to help them. Bring someone to a support group, have a cup of coffee and share your story, offer to mentor or sponsor a person who is hours or days into recovery. This practice helps keep you out of your head and also creates accountability for your actions. Many people in recovery report that service to others is the most important and transformational part of their journey.
Service to others can also include several other actions that allow you to get out of your self and give your time and energy to good causes. You can volunteer at a shelter, serve meals at a soup kitchen, or do service work for your church.
Keep Drug Triggers And Cravings In Check
Your recovery doesn’t end at getting sober. Your brain still needs time to recover and rebuild connections that changed while you were addicted. During this rebuild, drug cravings can be intense. You can support your continued recovery by avoiding people, places, and situations that trigger your urge to use:
Step away from your friends who use. Don’t hang out with friends who are still doing drugs. Surround yourself with people who support your sobriety, not those who tempt you to slip back into old, destructive habits.
Avoid bars and clubs. Even if you don’t have a problem with alcohol, drinking lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, which can easily lead to a relapse. Drugs are often readily available and the temptation to use can be overpowering. Also avoid any other environments and situations that you associate with drug use.
Be upfront about your history of drug use when seeking medical treatment. If you need a medical or dental procedure done, be upfront and find a provider who will work with you in either prescribing alternatives or the absolute minimum medication necessary. You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use or be denied medication for pain if that happens, find another provider.
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Why is all of this brain stuff important? If you want to know how to motivate an addict to stay clean, its critical to understand that the area of the brain responsible for motivation, rational thought, judgment, and memory has been compromised by this addictive cycle in the brain. The addicts sense of motivation is not working as it should.
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Why Do So Many People Relapse
A common question is why so many people relapse after treatment. How can someone with a good life put their life at risk for a short-lived experience? A part of the answer lies in how drugs affects the brain.
When a substance is abused, its usually always for the rush or high it produces. Many of these highs are linked to effects that the drug has on the feel-good and reward chemicals in our brain. Substance abuse can cause your brain to rewire itself, and this ultimately leads to the brain placing the rewards from substance abuse above even their own survival. With this in mind, it can make sense why some people would risk it all for another dose.
Another part of the puzzle lies in the relapse prevention plan and support programs that addicts must use after rehab. Relapse prevention skills and plans are designed to:
- Help the addict recognize relapse signs and triggers.
- Give the addict tools to deal with overwhelming cravings and emotions.
- Help the addict to have contingencies for when they are being overwhelmed by their emotions or are considering relapse, such as reaching out to someone.
- Create a schedule that helps keep them in support groups and on track with their sobriety.
Characteristics Of A Recovering Addict
For addicts who receive professional help, rehab is just the beginning of recovery. In order to maintain long-term sobriety, its essential for a person not only to go through rehab but to also begin the recovery process.
As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains, recovery begins when a person takes the following actions:
- Deals with his or her problems without using drugs or alcohol and without getting stressed out
- Realizes his or her personal boundaries and how to separate their problems from other peoples
- Has at least one person he or she can be completely honest with
- Takes time to restore his or her physical and emotional energy when they are fatigued
If people take these acts after rehab, then they are in recovery.
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Addiction Is An Everyday Battle That You Can Overcome
One of the greatest fears of those in recovery is a relapse. After all the hard work and time it takes to go through rehab, no one wants to relapse go through everything again. Thankfully, there are many practices you can put in place to maintain sobriety, and by implementing the following tips for staying sober, you will lessen your risk of relapse.
Staying sober is a lifelong process, and we understand that cravings can be an obstacle for patients during the recovery process. When you learn how to break addiction habits and identify cravings, you can manage and avoid the urge to relapse. Its important to note that experiencing cravings is not a sign of weakness its a natural part of recovery, and is deeply rooted in your psychological association with drugs and alcohol.
The following is a set of strategies to help you take control and win the power to resist cravings.
Relapse Is A Common Occurrence Never Forget That
Between 40 and 60% of people in treatment experience relapse at least once. For some people, relapse is a necessary step in their recovery journey. Learn and grow from the mistake, so you can emerge stronger than before. Also, knowing how commonplace relapse is can remind you that a person in recovery will always be in recovery. No matter how great your life becomes, you will never be cured of your affliction. But you can live a perfectly happy, and healthy life in recovery.
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Help Your Loved One Recover
Addiction is a terrible condition, and it is especially terrible for the loved ones that live with an addict or alcoholic. Luckily, recovery is possible. Every year, millions of Americans find the help that they need to get started living a better, sober life. You know what its like to live with an active addict, now its time to find out what its like to live with a recovering alcoholic. Contact a treatment provider today to discuss available rehab options.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Living With A Recovering Alcoholic
Addiction puts a major strain on all of an addict or alcoholics personal relationships, and the closer the relationship, the greater the strain. As the addiction grows stronger over time, it gradually comes to dominate every aspect of the addicts life, especially their relationships. Eventually, every interaction between loved ones and the addict become influenced by their addiction in some manner.
Family and friends often try to convince their loved one for months, or even years, to attend rehab. Rehab becomes a kind of magic cure all. Many come to hope or believe that once their loved one returns from rehab, all of the problems in their relationship will dramatically and immediately improve. While rehab is certainly an absolutely critical first step in recovery, it doesnt solve every problem, and it can actually create new obstacles and challenges.
The truth is that recovery is a lifelong process that dramatically changes things for someone in recovery on a daily, if not moment-to-moment, basis. Often, recovery will change an individuals goals, expectations, behavior, and even personality. In turn, this can cause changes in loved ones and relationships. It can also force two people to confront underlying issues that were long masked by addiction.
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How To Help A Child With Drug Addiction
How to help a drug-addicted son or daughter starts with determining whether any mood changes or behavioral changes are a normal part of adolescence or indicative of a substance abuse issue.
According to NIDA , common red flags for adolescent drug abuse include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Withdrawing socially
You should also look out for changes to your teens social circle, eating habits, and sleeping habits.
If you suspect substance abuse, early intervention is key.
How Keeping A Clean House Can Help You Stay Sober
A lot of people come home from inpatient treatment for addiction and feel like, Now what? You get used to a certain routine, in a certain place, among certain peopleand coming home can feel a bit jarring. You leave the structured, supportive environment of treatment and return to a home that can feel simultaneously too familiar and strangely alien. While there are a number of things you can do to smooth this transition, one thing you should do is give your house a good cleaning, and then try to keep it clean. The following are some of the ways keeping a clean house can improve your addiction recovery.
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There Are Many Reasons To Learn How To Stay Sober From Drugs Here Are 7 Tips To Help You On Your Journey
Completing detox and finishing a rehabilitation program to get sober is an incredible feeling for anyone who has struggled with addiction. It is normal to feel a variety of emotions upon successfully concluding your drug treatment. While you might feel proud of yourself for sticking with it and getting clean, there may be some fears about stepping back out into the real world. Life is full of stressors and potential triggers, so keep in mind that feeling uncertain about the future at first happens to many people leaving rehab. There are numerous reasons to stay sober from drugs and alcohol, especially considering how hard you worked in rehab. But how to stay sober from drugs is a different story. Here are our top 7 favorite tips that can help you:
Does Relapse Mean That Treatment Is Not Effective
A common misconception about high relapse rates after receiving treatment is that relapse means that treatment has failed or that treatment was ineffective. However, what percentage of addicts stay clean doesnt have a real bearing on the effectiveness of treatment.
To better understand why treatment is not considered a failure if relapse occurs, we must examine why relapse usually happens. One of the reasons why a person may relapse is due to their belief that they no longer needed to actively maintain their sobriety. A recovering person may deem it unnecessary to continue to go to support group meetings and follow their relapse prevention plan after being clean for months. This may ultimately lead them to relapse.
To understand why this is the case with addiction recovery, we must look at other chronic, relapsing diseases with similar relapse rates, such as hypertension. If during treatment for hypertension, the symptoms become manageable, and treatment is deemed effective if the person then decides to stop their maintenance of the disease, then symptoms will likely return, but that doesnt mean that treatment isnt effective, it just means that the effective treatment was abandoned.
Addiction works in the same way by not following through on the long-term relapse prevention and addiction management strategies, one opens up to the possibility of their symptoms returning.
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How To Help A Drug Addict Husband
If your wife or husband has a drug addiction, you should help them without in any way enabling their behavior.
Do not lie for your partner and do not make excuses for them. Call them out on neglected responsibilities and never tolerate any form of abuse.
Reassure your husband you are there for them every step of the way throughout recovery, but reaffirm that they need treatment.
Minimize Friction And Conflict
Regardless of the stage of recovery your loved one is at, you can expect a degree of conflict to arise.
You should accept this as part of the process of change thats underway, and you should do everything possible to prevent conflict from escalating.
If you are in a turbulent relationship with a drug addict, it might be worth considering outside help from a family counselor if youre struggling to communicate clearly and without acrimony.
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Get Good Quality Sleep
Sleep 7 to 8 hours a nightmore, if you need it. Good sleep will help your brain and body heal, and improve your mood, energy, and ability to cope with challenges. Avoid nicotine and caffeine late in the day and avoid bright screens close to bedtime. If you have insomnia, try a low dose of melatonin or magnesium. If you have sleep disturbances like night sweats, panic attacks, or bad dreams, get up and walk around to clear your head. Drink a glass of water, listen to music, write in a journal, or read. If youre very upset, call your sponsor, a good friend, or a family member.
It Makes You More Conscientious
Conscientiousness is an important trait for anyone recovering from addiction. Studies show that conscientiousness helps protect against substance use issues, even if you have high neuroticism, a major risk factor for addiction and mental illness. However, if you have high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, recovery is likely going to be a struggle.
Personality traits change very slowly, but conscientiousness, more than other traits, is about your actions and habits. One thing you can do to nudge yourself toward greater conscientiousness is to keep your house relatively clean. Make your bed, do the dishes, take out the trash, sweep up every now and then. Your house doesnt have to be spotless, but making a regular effort can make you a bit more conscientious.
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Explore Your Addiction Treatment Options
Once youve committed to recovery, its time to explore your treatment choices. While addiction treatment can vary according to the specific drug, a successful program often includes different elements, such as:
Detoxification. Usually the first step is to purge your body of drugs and manage withdrawal symptoms.
Behavioral counseling. Individual, group, and/or family therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills.
Medication may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.
Long-term follow-up can help to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety. This may include attending regular in-person support groups or online meetings to help keep your recovery on track.
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Put Your Loved One In Expert Hands
What may help most is finding the best trained professional or recovery program you can and then stepping out of your loved ones way.
Most partners, spouses and parents want whats best for their family member or friend, says Dr. Janesz. But addiction is a complicated medical condition. Its easy to underestimate its complexity and believe you can fix it.
You may think fixing the persons problems is part of loving them, or that its your duty. But such efforts are typically fruitless, and anger and resentment start to build.
When youre living with addiction, youre traumatized and emotionally overwhelmed. So its easy to let hurtful, harsh and condescending words fly even though the alcoholic or addict is already acutely aware of the trouble theyve caused.
Youre in fight-or-flight mode, your worry brain is vigilant, and your best thinking cap is not on, he says. So you are not the best person to think out carefully what is best for your loved one.
Ironically, they may only hear the advice youve given for years when it comes from the mouth of an expert or a friend who has also experienced what theyve been through.
Thats why we encourage smart recovery completing inpatient or outpatient rehab, then joining a confidential self-help program like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, says Dr. Janesz. These groups offer a lifeline to others who understand and accept you.
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