Drug Recovery: Can One Beat An Addiction On Own
While trying to beat addiction independently is admirable, often its not enough. Though getting sober on their own is possible, its the staying sober part that most people need help with. After years of substance abuse, the brain chemistry changes in a way that disrupts the normal function of a persons decision-making process, inhibitions, and risk vs. reward analysis.
Without these key functions, how can we expect someone to get sober and stay sober without having external sources of motivation and access to non-addict logic? Its unreasonable. Relapses are prevented much more effectively with the help of counseling, decision-making guidance and, in some cases, medication. Rehabilitation centers provide all of these services and more to help people find the road to recovery and stay in the right lane.
How Can I Tell If I Need Substance Abuse Help
If youre asking yourself whether you need help, theres a chance you might be ready to admit to the presence of a problem. If youre not sure, you might consider whether you meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, or SUD, which is the American Psychiatric Associations diagnostic term for addiction. These criteria include:15,16
- ;Using drugs or alcohol in higher or more frequent amounts than you originally intended.
- Wanting to stop using drugs or alcohol but being unable to do so.
- Spending a lot of time trying to get, use, and recover from the effects of the substance.
- Experiencing cravings, which are strong feelings and urges to use.
- Being unable to meet your responsibilities at work, home, or school because of your substance use.
- Continuing to use drugs or alcohol even though its causing social or relationship problems.
- Giving up or stopping activities you once enjoyed so you can use drugs or alcohol.
- Using substances in situations where it is dangerous to do so .
- Continuing to drink or use drugs even though you have a psychological or physical problem that you know is probably due to your substance use.
- Experiencing tolerance, or needing to use more of the substance to achieve the desired effect.
- Developing withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability or shakiness, when you stop using the substance.
Tip 4 Eliminate Cross Addictions To Beat Addiction
It is common for the recovering addict to trade one addiction for another, never allowing the brain to heal. This is called cross addiction. It is important to recognize that ANY addictive behavior is getting in the way of recovery and healing.
A great example of this is alcoholism and cigarette smoking. Eighty-five percent of alcoholics also smoke. Most alcoholics are reluctant to quit smoking while they are trying to beat alcohol addiction, believing that it will be too overwhelming.
The research on this issue is clear, however. Alcoholics who quit smoking while in treatment relapse significantly less frequently than those who do not.
Ironically, more alcoholics will die of smoking-related illnesses than from the effects of drinking. The belief is that smoking consequences are relatively benign compared to the consequences of drinking. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Cross addiction appears in countless forms. It is one of many pitfalls that must be faced when overcoming addiction.
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Addiction Isolation And The Cycle Of Loneliness
Addiction is a lonely disease. Loneliness and isolation can give rise to addiction. Break the cycle of addiction and loneliness through fellowship and friendship, and embrace the need for human connection.
Addiction is the loneliest disease.
Sometimes our own thoughts have the sharpest tongues. Its hard to be inside our own heads: A place where there are no limits to cruel words and doubt. Its a place thats hard to escape especially when addiction is involved.
Isolation and loneliness have an overwhelming effect on drug addiction and alcoholism. Studies have shown that those of us who feel more socially isolated generally deal with increased mental health and substance abuse issues. The opposite holds true as well: Addiction;to drugs and alcohol may not just be an effect of isolation but also the cause of isolation.
Many people turn to substances because they are lonely and many people are lonely because they are addicted to substances.
Addiction, by nature, isolates people.
People who find themselves actively using substances to cope with depression, anxiety, and stressful situations use drugs and alcohol to avoid their feelings and reality. They live in fear, denial, and guilt. Trapped in those overwhelming emotions, you can see why people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol often cover up their fears with anger, verbally and emotionally abusive behaviors, and false bravado.
Youve heard the expression, Hurt people, hurt people.
Withdrawing From Alcohol Safely
When you drink heavily and frequently, your body becomes physically dependent on alcohol and goes through withdrawal if you suddenly stop drinking. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from mild to severe, and include:
- Trouble sleeping or concentrating
- Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually start within hours after you stop drinking, peak in a day or two, and improve within five days. But in some alcoholics, withdrawal is not just unpleasantit can be life threatening.
If youre a long-term, heavy drinker, you may need medically supervised detoxification. Detox can be done on an outpatient basis or in a hospital or alcohol treatment facility, where you may be prescribed medication to prevent medical complications and relieve withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor or an addiction specialist to learn more.
Seek emergency medical help if you experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms:
- severe vomiting
- extreme agitation
- seizures or convulsions
The symptoms listed above may be a sign of a severe form of alcohol withdrawal called delirium tremens, or DTs. This rare, emergency condition causes dangerous changes in the way your brain regulates your circulation and breathing, so its important to get to the hospital right away.
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So Can You Really Expect To Beat Addiction Alone
Addiction thrives in isolation. Going it alone might not be the best approach. Still, there are lots of ways to find support for overcoming addiction. It is a little known truth that most people beat addiction without AA or any other formal treatment.
Wait a minute thats not what youve been told before about beating addiction correct?
Consider this. A study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism interviewed 42,000 Americans about their lifetime drug and alcohol use. Over 3,000 respondents had been dependent on alcohol but never had any formal treatment. Seventy-five percent of these respondents beat alcohol addiction without treatment!
Now, we dont want to mislead you. Beating alcohol addiction is tricky. And, while thousands of people have beat addiction on their own, it hasnt happened without making significant changes in their lives. For most humans, making any kind of change can be a challenge.
So, weve provided some tips that will make addiction recovery much easier. Beating addiction happens through a process of self-discovery. Every addict has the power to recover.
How To Overcome An Addiction
This article was co-authored by Tiffany Douglass, MA. Tiffany Douglass is the Founder of Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, a JCAHO accredited drug and alcohol treatment program based in San Jose, California. She is also the Executive Director for Midland Tennessee at JourneyPure. She has over ten years of experience in substance abuse treatment and was appointed a Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2019 for her efforts in residential addiction treatment. Tiffany earned a BA in Psychology from Emory University in 2004 and an MA in Psychology with an emphasis on Organization Behavior and Program Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University in 2006.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 25 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,122,411 times.
Theres a myth out there that addiction is inescapable or something thats locked in for life, but thats definitely not the case. In fact, more people succeed at overcoming their addiction than fail.XResearch source Acknowledging that youre addicted to something and wanting to change are the first steps, so youre on the right track! This article will show you how to come up with a plan for overcoming your addiction and stick with it, even when things get tough.
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Visit A Support Group
Research shows that peer-delivered support groups, including 12-step programs, can be helpful when recovering from substance use disorder.
These groups are designed to help you stay sober through mutual support provided by people who are also in recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two well-known peer-delivered groups for individuals recovering from substance use disorder.
Though helpful, 12-step programs arent for everyone. If they arent a right fit for you, consider searching for recovery support groups near you.
Taking up new activities to replace ones that may be more harmful might help you on the road to recovery.
A review of 59 studies found that physical fitness and mind-body exercises can be helpful in the sobriety process.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we return to old patterns.
Making any lifestyle change is hard, and maintaining that change over time can be even more challenging.
You can be prepared if your treatment plan fails. Here are some things you can do:
- having a sponsor or trusted loved one you can call when cravings strike
- avoiding places or people that may make you more prone to use substances
- having another activity you can do, such as taking a walk or jog, when craving hits
- rewarding yourself for reaching your goals, even little ones
Ongoing Mental Health Treatment
About half of people who experience a mental health condition will develop substance use disorder as well, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.17
Mental health conditions will be uncovered and treated as a part of your program at a qualified addiction treatment center.
Of course, these conditions dont magically disappear once addiction treatment is complete.
In fact, in one study showed that problems with mental health peaked in the one-to-three-year period following the sober/clean date. After that, these problems decreased.18
This further illustrates the need for ongoing mental health issue treatment in overcoming addiction. Youll feel happier, more well-adjusted, and you will be protecting yourself from relapse.
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Introduction To New Activities
But when it comes to recovery, a person has a much higher chance of success with professional help and the types of environments often found in rehabilitation facilities.
These environments ease the transition from an unhealthy to a healthy lifestyle and give the patient a sense of belonging to a community that has healthy goals, contributing to positive changes in mindset.
Practice Mindfulness When Overcoming Addiction
If you have already sought help for addiction, you may have learned about cognitive-behavioral therapy . During CBT, you learn strategies that can help you break unhealthy patterns by exploring the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Research suggests that embracing a mindfulness practice can help reinforce CBT training and make it easier to obtain and maintain sobriety.5 When you practice mindfulness, you strive to be in the moment and not worry about what happened before or what will come next. In this way, you can change anxious thoughts that may contribute to your addiction, reinforcing CBT or preparing you for this kind of treatment.
Many people think that mindfulness means sitting in silence or chanting mantras alone in a room. However, something as simple as stopping and taking 10 deep breaths can ground you quickly and start you on the path to more extensive mindfulness practices.
Once you become more familiar with mindfulness, youll learn to feel content when you just sit and breathe. In short, youll learn to feel happy with yourself. And you wont need external factorsor your addictionto feel comfortable.
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Rule : Dont Bend The Rules Or Try To Negotiate Your Recovery
Your addiction has given you the opportunity to change your life. Changing your life is what makes recovery both difficult and rewarding. Use this opportunity. Dont resent your addiction. Dont try to negotiate your recovery. Embrace your recovery, and you will be happier in life.
Recovery is difficult because you have to change your life, and all change is difficult, even good change. Recovery is rewarding because you get the chance to change your life. Most people sleepwalk through life. They don’t think about who they are or what they want to be, and then one day they wake up and wonder why they aren’t happy.
Your addiction has given you an opportunity, and if you use this opportunity correctly, you’ll look back on your addiction as one of the best things that ever happened to you. People in recovery often describe themselves as grateful addicts. Why would someone be grateful to have an addiction? Because their addiction helped them find an inner peace and tranquility that most people crave. Recovery can help you change your life.
Relapse is rare after 5 years of abstinence. A study followed young adolescent men with and alcohol addiction who were in recovery. Some were Harvard University undergraduates, and some were non-delinquent inner-city adolescents. The men were followed, every two years by questionnaire, and every 5 years by physical examination until the age of 60. The study concluded that after 5 years of abstinence relapse is rare. Recovery is possible.
Tip 1 Beat Addiction By Reframing Powerlessness
You may have heard the term powerlessness and wondered how it relates to overcoming addiction. Addicts are pretty resilient and powerful. They have proven to themselves over and over that they can find a way to get high even when it appears that there is no way. So, its challenging to accept the concept of powerlessness. Addicts must reframe this idea. They are powerless over the addiction and by accepting that, from a place of powerlessness, comes incredible personal power.
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Build A Meaningful Drug
Having an addiction-free life is more effective when you have a source of motivation for doing so. These reasons can range from person to person, but it often involves personal growth, health, restoring relationships or a combination of all of these.
Whatever your strongest motivation is, keep a tangible reminder of it. Your personal reason to stay sober can be in the form of a picture, a letter, or a memento that reminds you to keep going.
Beating Addiction Is Best With Help
The main takeaway in this post is that overcoming addiction is done best with support. Understanding how to get help for addiction means youre on your way to receiving the best resources and services you need for a drug-free life.
Explore Treatment Options Available
Once youve committed to your recovery journey its time to explore treatment options that are available to you. Here are different types of treatments available. Read more about them to see which one would be a good fit for you. The following information was gathered from the Help Guide website:
|Residential Treatment Typically involves living at a facility while undergoing intensive treatment. Residential treatment can last from a few days to several months.
|Day Treatment or Partial Hospitalization This is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring. People will usually meet at a treatment center for 7- 8 hours during the day and they have the option to return home at night.;
|Outpatient treatment Typically have the flexibility to be scheduled around work or school. Youre treated during the day or evening but arent required to stay overnight. The major focus of outpatient treatment is relapse prevention.;
|Sober Living Communities Living in a sober living community normally follows an intensive treatment program such as residential treatment. You live with others in a safe, supportive, and completely drug-free environment. Sober living facilities are helpful if you have no place to go or youre worried that returning home too soon will lead to relapse.;
As you consider treatment options that are available its important to keep in mind the following:
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Refusing To Give In: 8 Ways To Beat Cravings
Cravings are a normal part of addiction recovery. No matter whether you havent used in months or you just stopped using this week, youre likely to experience an urge to use at some point.
Urges are relentless, finding you at your weakest point and trying to convince you that you dont really want the change youve worked so hard to accomplish. Drug cravings can quickly lead to a relapse if not handled appropriately.
Here are 8 ways to stop the urge to use.
Changes In Relationships And Friendships
Your relationships and friendships are likely to change as you overcome your addiction. It may take time to appreciate a new normal.
You may also be touched by the loyalty and simplicity of those who live life without chasing a high. You may find that friends and family whom you could not get along with while you were embroiled in your addiction welcome you back into their lives.
However, it can also take time and effort for trust to be re-established if you have hurt friends or family while you were actively involved in your addiction.
You may also find that you have less in common with the friends you spent the most time with during your addiction than you realized, and you might find they are intolerant to your new lifestyle.
Remember, you are a great role model;and doing these friends a great service by showing them that change is possible. That said, don’t let them pull you back into the life you left behind.
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