Individuals with a substance abuse disorder commonly believe that they don’t have an addiction and can quit whenever they want to. Despite its negative consequences, they continue to engage in harmful behaviors because addiction alters the brain’s reward system. Long-term substance abuse can also affect judgment and impulse control, making quitting that much more difficult.
However, while addiction recovery is a challenging process—it’s not impossible. If you’re struggling with addiction, you must first realize that it’s not a weakness, moral failing, or character flaw but a chronic mental health condition. Recognizing a problem and making a concentrated effort to understand it are crucial steps to recovery.
The “transtheoretical” model of behavior change describes the process by which individuals can overcome addiction. It consists of four stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, and action. Typically these stages are part of a cycle and must be followed in a sequence. But every person is unique, and so you might find yourself going back and forth, or even in more than one stage at a time.
If you’re committed to putting in the effort, you can overcome your addictions using these five tips, starting today.
1. Admit that you have a problem
Prolonged substance abuse messes with the brain and causes it to look for excuses and justify the need to keep using. Recognizing that you need help goes a long way towards seeking such assistance. If you’re not prepared to talk to friends or family, consider talking to professionals at rehab facilities such as the Delphi Health Group.
Admitting you have a problem shows you’re ready to face your addiction and its underlying causes. It pushes you to think about how to change and how. It builds a healthy mindset and prepares the body and mind to work on the many complicated components of addiction. Treatment regimens and talk therapies exist to help individuals discover the truth of their behavior.
2. Identify your triggers
Being aware of particular issues, persons, places, emotions, and other factors that push you to indulge in drugs or alcohol is crucial to overcoming an addiction. Identifying these triggers can help you make an effective plan because you’ll better understand which circumstances you must avoid. This strategy also allows you to think of an alternate activity to keep you from repeatedly sinking in the same acts. For example, if you have a habit of smoking in your car before going into the office, you can think of something else to do during that period. Or, if a particular relationship or friendship causes you to engage in harmful behaviors, you can try limiting that interaction or avoiding it entirely.
3. Seek professional support
Substance abuse counselors and other health professionals involved in addiction recovery provide a necessary support system to those willing to improve. They form relationships with patients to offer support, resources, and judgment-free guidance to recover from behavioral issues. The foundation of this relationship is trust and is also known as the therapeutic alliance.
Seeking professional support allows you to feel vulnerable with someone who can help you sort through your problems and figure an effective way out. Besides helping with a health crisis, these professionals also help you manage long-term addiction issues to keep you from relapsing or repeating similar behavioral patterns.
4. Harness your creativity
Every individual seeks pleasure, whether consciously or unconsciously. Addicts like to experience it as well why is why they look for ways to help them achieve that euphoria. Engaging in music, dancing, drawing, and acting can be very helpful for someone trying to overcome an addiction. These art forms are healthy outlets that allow you to have fun without suffering from side effects or destructive behaviors. For many musicians and artists, their work is an escape from reality, and they can’t imagine a world without them.
So, look for a healthy activity that makes you happy. Harnessing your creativity can make life easier and fun, significantly reducing your urges towards substance abuse.
5. Be accountable to someone
Addiction can hinder a person’s ability to make responsible choices. It can end up causing harm to those you value the most and drive them away without meaning to. The primary reason for this is most addicts struggle with accepting the repercussions of their actions. Some may even find it easier to continue with substance abuse than risk ‘failing’ at sobriety. But being accountable for your actions is essential to overcome addiction as it helps you realize how each decision impacts others involved in your life.
Having an accountability partner who boosts your productivity and keeps you from falling into a pothole can be highly beneficial. People often use them in the professional world to perform better and accelerate their careers or personal lives by helping them stay sober. Every time you feel like indulging in a destructive habit, they’ll hold you accountable for your actions. Having someone to answer to may force you to think twice before engaging in such behaviors and help you overcome your addiction.
Overcoming an addiction is not an easy task. Like everything worthwhile, it takes time, effort, and commitment. But admitting you have a problem, identifying your triggers, seeking help, harnessing creativity, and being accountable can help you through the process. Do not hesitate to seek help because the benefits of recovery far outweigh the risks associated with continued substance abuse.