Being addicted to something such as drugs, alcohol, or even shopping can destroy every aspect of your life – your health, relationships, work, and finances. No hit or buzz can be more important than these aspects in your life, so it is vital that you do everything you can to cease the addiction. Here are 7 ways to overcome addiction.
1. Visit Your Doctor
The first stage of beating addiction is to admit to yourself and others that you have a problem. It can take a lot of strength to admit to this, but you cannot fight your addiction until you acknowledge your issue.
Make an appointment with your local general practitioner. Do not be nervous as they will not judge you in an way – they are there to help those in need. Your doctor will ask you details of the addiction, how much you indulge the urges and how it has affected your day-to-day life. The doctor will probably check you over to gauge the state of your physical health and determine whether or not the drugs, cigarettes or alcohol (whatever your vice) has had detrimental effects on your body.
2. Go to a Rehabilitation Center
The most successful way to kick a severe habit with drugs or alcohol is to attend a rehabilitation center.
A rehab center is a place where addicts participate in an intense program of support and care supplied by professional medical staff, counselors, and psychologists. Addicts can stay in the center for a period of time or spend some time at the hospital and some at home. The centers such as Landmark Rehab Centers across the USA offer outpatient support, group and solo therapy, medical detox, and spiritual and recreational rehabilitation.
Having strong support from the staff and other patients is invaluable. Talking to fellow addicts can be really useful as you can share your experiences and thoughts and help each other achieve targets on the ladder to recovery.
3. Find a Distraction
If your addiction isn’t so severe that it warrants residential rehabilitation, such as being addicted to cigarettes, you could try to manage the habit yourself. If you feel the need for a smoke, chew some gum or eat a healthy snack.
Entertain and distract your mind by taking up a hobby such as knitting or something that will keep your hands occupied, so you don’t feel the need to light up a cigarette. Eventually, you will stop thinking about your addiction if you find something to do in place of it – something you really love that eventually dominates your thoughts rather than the addiction.
4. Identify the Triggers
If you are able to pinpoint what makes you turn to your vice, you will have a great chance of conquering the addiction.
Figure out if you take a hit when you are bored or when stressed. Do you have a drink, cigarettes or drugs when you visit a certain bar or socialize with a specific person.
Once you find out the triggers, you can devise a plan to avoid them or create a distraction. It is thought that the way a brain functions is altered when exposed to a substance regularly. When a person abstains from using the substance, the brain eventually reverts to its original modes of operating.
5. Create a Support Network
Ask good friends or family members to support you in your endeavor to beat your addiction. Explain to them your plan of action and tell them that you will be accountable to them and that you must check in with them at set times of the day. They will be your accountability partner, and you should inform them of your progress, thoughts, and emotions.
Before you think about striking up a cigarette or having a mouthful of vodka, you must remind yourself that you must tell your support partner about your actions.
If you don’t want to burden those close to you, many recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous offer sponsors. Sponsors are senior members of these organizations and they have been in recovery for at least a year. These people will offer you advice, emotional support and guidance throughout your recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous follow a 12 step program and your sponsor will walk through that with you and any issues you have that you don’t feel comfortable talking about during group meetings can be discussed with them.
6. Avoidance Tactics
If you are a drug addict, you likely surround yourself with other addicts. If you are to successfully kick the habit, you must stay away from other users and dealers and try to meet people who are anti-drugs and those who are health conscious and fun-loving. If you surround yourself with positive, clean living friends, you will eventually want to follow their lead.
If alcohol is your vice, do your best to stay away from situations where alcohol is served such as a party, wedding, a dinner party or other type of celebration. Obviously there are some social situations you cannot avoid completely so if you can, inform the host of your issues so that they won’t force you into drinking. Alternatively you should take a confidante with you who can stop you from accepting alcoholic drinks. Find a non-alcoholic beverage you really enjoy and take a supply of it if need be.
Large numbers of drug addicts and alcoholics relapse because they cannot cope with the withdrawal symptoms, which can be unbearable. Fortunately, some medications can help reduce the intensity of these symptoms. Doctors will prescribe some addicts medication such as acamprosate to ease symptoms such as anxiety, dysphoria, insomnia, and restlessness.
Being an opioid antagonist, Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is a medicine that stops pleasure receptors in the brain from enjoying the pleasurable effects of alcohol. Addicts receive the drug via an injection.
Medications such as methadone and buprenorphine are other drugs used to treat addiction – particularly opioids. These two drugs suppress the addict’s withdrawal symptoms and relieve their cravings by acting on the same targets in the brain as morphine and heroin.