How to Overcome Addictions: The First Steps
How to Overcome Addictions: The First Steps
Addiction is not an isolated problem; it’s a serious issue that impacts over 20 million Americans each year. If you’re struggling with your own form of addiction at the present moment, it can be helpful to remember that you are not alone in this struggle.
Learning how to overcome addictions is never easy, but it’s something people manage to do successfully each year. No matter what type of addiction you are fighting, you can take a few concrete action steps and break away from the dependency you have.
What do you need to know about overcoming addiction? Read on, and we’ll walk you through a few essential things to keep in mind.
Decide to Change & Set a Date
One of the most important steps you can take in beating addiction? Simply making the decision to change your ways. Many people who suffer from addiction take many years before they are willing to admit they have a problem and need to change.
If you’ve reached the point where you’re willing to acknowledge the problem at hand, you’ve already taken possibly the most important step towards positive change.
Once you’ve made the decision to try and combat your addiction, you should pick a date in the near future where you’re going to start this attempt in earnest. It can be helpful if it’s a date with some significance or one that will feel like a clean slate.
The beginning of a month, your birthday, or any sort of milestone can be helpful.
You don’t need to go ‘full cold turkey’ on this date, but you should start to take steps away from your addiction starting on this day.
Change Your Environment
How can you go about changing your life in a way that will be sustainable? Often, just making the decision to stop isn’t enough. The pull of addiction can be quite serious, and you’ll want to take steps to help yourself stay clear of the pull of temptation.
If there are addictive substances in your home, clearing out these materials can be a good start. Toss them or give them away and get them out of your immediate surrounding.
If you can, it can also be helpful to think about what moves you to engage in your addiction. What are the most common triggers you can recall? Identifying these can give you something to build your environmental changes off of.
For example, if you tend to drink because the people you spend time with drink a lot, you may need to consider changing the crowd you spend your free time with. If you reach for drug use because of stress, you should look into how to de-stress your daily life.
The more you can do to address the triggers that push you towards substance abuse, the easier time you’ll have avoided falling off the wagon of your recovery.
Leaning on Social Support
Creating a positive post-addiction environment is just as much about a culture of positive reinforcement as it is about staying away from bad influences.
Loneliness and isolation are often among the many reasons why people fall prey to addiction in the first place. Isolating yourself in the wake of your attempted recovery is going to make it very difficult to get through the process.
However, isolating from certain groups of people may be necessary to give yourself the kind of environment you need to recover.
If you have family or friends in your life, who can be there for you, even if you haven’t spoken in a while, it can be quite helpful. You shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to people in your life during this time of need.
You just need people who will be willing to spend some time with you engaging in healthy behaviors at moments where you otherwise might’ve been engaging with your addiction.
You can also join support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous if you need this kind of community engagement during this time. Support groups are a great way to make new friends, find support, and engage with people who understand the kind of problems you’re struggling with.
At the end of the day, having people who are there for you and are supporting your efforts to get clean can mean a lot. They can make the process much easier.
Seek Professional Help
It also may be worth speaking to a medical professional or healthcare provider about your addiction struggles. They may be able to provide different paths forward or varieties of aid.
Learning to break an addiction can be harder for some people than others. High-risk of addiction in veterans is well-known, and doctors may have different advice for those suffering from PTSD than they would for other addiction sufferers.
Psychotherapy can be a way to help address the more ingrained triggers that lead to substance abuse. If you struggle to quit and often fall back on your addictions, this kind of medical work can be a huge help.
Doctors may also be able to provide some kinds of medications that can make beating addiction a little bit easier. Often, these medications will be used to help combat the more common symptoms of withdrawal.
How to Overcome Addictions
If you’ve been struggling with any sort of substance abuse, you might be ready to take a stand and make a change.
There can be a long but rewarding road ahead. Learning how to overcome addictions isn’t always easy, but it is possible if you take the information above seriously.
Need more advice about personal health and wellbeing? Keep scrolling our blog for more.