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Addiction keeps drug users you in a chokehold that consumes their time, money and integrity. It may even convince addicts that drug abuse is their lot in life, that sobriety is simply not in their cards. However, recovery is as close as the next choice you make. No matter how hopeless your situation seems, change is possible; to beat addiction, all you need is support, a realistic expectation of recovery and the willingness to stay sober one day at a time. Learn what steps will jumpstart the recovery process so you can get and stay clean as soon as possible.
Step #1: Get Willing
Deciding to get sober is a colossal change. No one can help you take it, and no magic wand can snap you into a recovery mindset. For some people, negative consequences force the issue, while other people experience such emotional turmoil that continuing in addiction seems unbearable. Either way, it is normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice even when you are painfully aware of the havoc it wreaks in your life. Change is never easy, especially when it involves giving up a quick fix to your problems. Moreover, committing to sobriety has far reaching implications, as you must change the following behaviors:
- How you cope with stress
- Who you allow into your life
- How you spend your time
- What priorities you set
- Your identity
- Your sense of purpose
People in long-term sobriety often admit that even they doubted their desire for recovery. Furthermore, fewer recovering addicts had any confidence in themselves to stick with the program. Even reporters for the New York Times admit that the issues that encourage one person’s sobriety versus another is somewhat mysterious. However, many recovering addicts agree that the willingness to try a new way of life turned the key that sprung them free from drug abuse.
Step #2: Drop Defenses
Staying open minded is difficult for many people, but that fact goes double for people who fear losing the drugs they use to cope with their problems. However, staying defensive about a drug habit is a surefire way to stay stuck in addiction. To break free from addiction, you need to get real with yourself. To do so, take a posture of curiosity as you examine your situation. Getting specific about your drug-use habits by considering the following tips:
- Keep a record – Track your drug abuse, and include when and how much you use. If you view the unvarnished facts, then you can see a clear, unbiased picture of how addiction affects your life.
- Calculate your cost/benefit ratio – List the pros and cons of quitting, as well as the losses and benefits of continued drug use
- Name your priorities – Make a list of qualities you value, such as your partner, children, career or health. Examine each one in light of drug use and evaluate how addiction will affect it.
- Ask for feedback – It takes great humility and courage to lay down your defenses and hear a different perspective, but doing so will widen your perception with wisdom. Ask someone you trust how she sees your drug abuse. Be prepared to ask questions and maintain a stance of curiosity while knowing that the only issue you stand to lose is denial.
Finally, cross-examine the person who knows you best, yourself. First, consider what prevents you from changing, and be specific. Second, ponder what in life must happen to propel you into action.
Step #3: Build Your Case
Getting sober and avoiding relapse takes hard work, so you can expect to vacillate. A day will come when cravings hit, recovery seems boring and you feel complacent about fighting. At that point, you will feel tempted to reverse your decision, but consider the following suggestions to stay committed to your recovery:
- Think about your past attempts at quitting, including the events that prompted you to try abstinence
- Imagine what you stand to lose if your habit worsens
- Calculate the amount of money you have spent on drug use. Project expenditures you can expect to incur over the next 12 months if your pace maintains or accelerates.
- Write a description of a recent binge that ended poorly, and spare no details
Once you convince yourself to get sober, then go public. Tell friends and family that you are quitting and ask for their support.
Step #4 Explore Treatment Options
After you have decided to challenge your addiction, your next choice is to select a rehab center. You can assess your options wisely if you understand a few truths. First, remember that no magic bullet will address your addiction. You have unique needs, so look for a treatment facility that can customize its treatment to your individual problems. Next, be wary of programs that only addresses drug abuse. Addiction infiltrates your whole life, so experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse note that rehab must address all areas of life, such as relationships, profession, health and psychological wellness2.
Recovery from Drug Addiction
If you or someone you love struggles with drug abuse, then know that you are not alone. Admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to wellness, so you never have to go back to a life of addiction. Please call now to start your recovery today.
2 DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction
 Helping Addicts Beat Addiction – The New York Times. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/fashion/06intervention.html