Drug use is a slippery slope. At first, you think you can control your intake, but eventually it controls you. It negatively affects your relationships and your health. So if you’re reading this in hopes of overcoming drugs or alcohol abuse disorder, you are in the right path. The fact that you’re reading this is your first step on the road to recovery. 

Overcoming a substance use disorder takes willpower and inner strength. Recovery is always possible as long as the eagerness to change comes from within. You may be encouraged by family members or other people, but recovery is a daily choice. The pathway to overcoming a substance abuse disorder may not be easy, but it can be achieved. Others can do it, and so can you. 

Related: What is Substance Use Disorder?

Where to Start With Overcoming Substance Abuse Disorder

As you read this post, get a pen and paper, take note of the changes you want to make and how you can start the challenging journey. You can start with recognizing the problem, how to prepare yourself for the change, and how to deal with the urge.

Recognize the Problem

The first step in getting help for substance abuse or alcohol addiction is by recognizing the problem. As you realize that your addiction is causing problems in your work performance, daily function, relationships, your health, and at home, you are aware that it’s time to change. 

No one can do this for you but yourself. No matter how much the people around you give you advice, if you don’t recognize the existence of the problem, it’s hard to make changes. 

Prepare Yourself for the Change

As you recognize the problem, prepare yourself for the change that’s coming. Remind yourself why you need the change: for your health, your kids, a loved one, and your whole family. Set realistic and specific goals for the change. If you had past attempts to be drug-free or stop drinking, ask yourself why it hasn’t worked.

For instance, if you drink every day as a way to cope with the loss of a loved one. Start with the change by avoiding bars, skip the liquor store, and grieve the right way. You can join support groups, seek help from mental health care providers, or channel your energy to productive activities. As you prepare yourself for the change, surround yourself with people who will healthily support you. Tell your family members and loved ones about your plan so that they can help you.

Set a Plan to Deal With the Urge

Whatever type of substance it is that you abused, expect to encounter the ‘urge period.’ This is the time where you’re craving for that ‘happy feeling,’ especially when you’re experiencing a stressful life event. So before you experience the urge period, set a game plan on how you can cope with it. 

Relapse usually happens when withdrawal occurs. Part of recovery is to understand that you can’t do it alone and you need medical help. When drug abuse is severe, detoxification, a medical process is needed.

You can list down activities that may distract you, like learning a new skill, engaging in a hobby, or exercising. If you feel that you’ll get tempted to use drugs or alcohol when you’re alone, do not allow this situation. Always have a friend or family member with you so that you can avoid the temptation. 

Avoid People and Places That Trigger the Drug Use

As part of your change, avoid people and places that contributed to your drug abuse. Avoid bars and friends who drink alcohol while you’re trying to remain sober. Surround yourself with people and family member that can help you heal the addiction. 

When you have the game plan to turn your life around, the next step is to explore treatment facilities and other options for your substance use disorder. In addition to the many tips is to remember that no single treatment is suitable for everyone. 

guy with drug abuse struggling about cravings

Explore Your Options for Substance Use Disorders Treatment

Once you’re ready to commit to recovery, you can explore your treatment options with whatever substance use disorder you may have. The treatment option may differ depending on the substance being abused, but here are the successful treatment programs for recovery:

  • Detoxification: This process is aimed to purge or remove drugs or alcohol from the body. After detoxification, the person may have withdrawal symptoms.
  • Medications: To prevent relapse, manage withdrawal symptoms, and manage mental health conditions, medications such as antidepressants may be prescribed by your health care provider. The goal is to manage any existing mental health condition except in the case of those who have substance abuse with prescription medications. 
  • Behavioral Counseling: Meeting with a therapist in an individual or group therapy can help with any kind of substance use disorder. Therapy is the best way to identify the root of drug or alcohol abuse. When the root of substance addiction is addressed, therapy can help with repairing your relationships, how to cope with stress or any anger issues
  • Drug Treatment Programs: There are different types of drug treatment programs. There’s a Residential treatment program where you can check-in yourself in a treatment center for days, weeks, or months. There’s also the Day treatment program or Partial hospitalization for people needing ongoing medical monitoring. There are Outpatient programs as well, mostly for relapse prevention. Another option is Sober living communities, where you get to surround yourself with people in recovery as well. This safe and supportive environment can help with the fast recovery from substance abuse.
  • Long-term follow-up care: This includes attending support groups, telehealth counseling, and in-person support to keep track of your recovery and help avoid relapse

Related: 8 Signs You Have Anger Issues and Overcoming Them

A Friendly Piece of Advice

To overcome substance use disorders, continue to find long-term support for the recovery and learn healthy ways to cope with stress. You don’t want to end up in square one and be stuck in the loop of relapse addiction. 

To maintain your sobriety and free from drug addiction, seek counseling and use therapy to address mental health problems along the way. Learn coping skills and join in family therapy to overcome your journey in alcohol or drug addiction. The mental health consultation is not just for the prevention of relapse. If you’re on the first step of changing your life, you can book an appointment for Telehealth Consultation of Kentucky Counseling Center to get the help you need. 

Your pathway is closer than you think. Do not give up, and think of how nice your life will be after you’re drug-free. If others can do it, you can do it too.

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