Overcoming an addiction is not easy. While there are stories of individuals who quit cold turkey and never go back to using, these success stories are very uncommon. Most individuals find they need assistance to overcome their addiction but are not sure where to turn for this help. What steps should a person take when trying to overcome an addiction or when attempting to help a loved one who has been caught in the grasp of a drug?
Admit There is a Problem
The first step to overcoming an addiction is to admit there is a problem and the drug use cannot be controlled. Until an addict recognizes he or she has an issue with their use of the substance of choice, recovery is going to be impeded. This needs to be done before inpatient treatment plans or outpatient programs are explored. However, family members may look into these programs early to be prepared when the addict does decide he or she needs help.
Create a Plan
First and foremost, the addict needs to build a support system of individuals committed to helping her or her overcome the addiction. People often think others won’t be there for them as they move through the process because they have let loved ones down too often. This typically is not the case, and it never hurts to ask for support and guidance. Allow the support system to have input into the recovery plan, as others may see things that the addict has overlooked due to his or her substance abuse.
The support system may change as the recovery process moves forward. New people will likely be added to the system, and some people may find they cannot be a helpful part of the process. The addict and his or her loved ones need to identify those people who truly help to move the process forward and minimize contact with those who interfere with it.
This can be difficult, as the addict wants to be comfortable with the people around him or her. He or she is going through a difficult time and doesn’t want strangers to be around when moving forward. Nevertheless, they are often needed to help the addict with the recovery process. It’s key to determine which category each person falls into during the process and restrict contact with those who interfere with the addict’s recovery.
Research Available Options
Treatment options come in many forms. From outpatient programs to inpatient facilities and behavioral counseling to medication, the treatment options vary greatly from program to program. The addict needs to find the option that appears to best meet his or her needs. While this may be difficult and more than one program might be needed, the key is to not give up and go back to using. Furthermore, don’t assume a program cannot be accessed for cost reasons. Many programs now offer financial assistance to those in need, and it never hurts to ask.
Furthermore, when comparing treatment programs, be sure to take the addict’s unique personality into consideration. For example, there are now equine therapy programs, programs that offer an art component, and more. When a person feels comfortable at the treatment facility, he or she is more likely to remain in the program for the time needed to kick the habit. If one facility does not work and the patient relapses, consider using a program of a different type to see if it provides better results. Finding the right treatment is crucial to a full recovery.
Be Prepared for a Relapse
Numerous substance abusers relapse and give up. They feel they cannot break free of the drug of choice and simply go back to using. Be prepared for relapse when going in and put a plan into place to deal with any backsliding the addict does. The addict should be aware of what he or she needs to do in this situation along with those who are part of his or her support system. Relapses are a normal part of the recovery process. Once everyone realizes this, they become easier to address.
Returning to Everyday Life
Furthermore, addicts need to have a plan in place once they leave a treatment program. When developing a plan for reentry into the world, an addict needs to ensure every aspect of his or her life is covered. Meeting one’s physical or emotional needs is not enough. Help may be needed finding a job or an addict and his or her loved ones might need to take part in counseling to resolve any issues that contributed to the addiction or could impede the addict’s recovery. Support is essential at this stage of the process and should be in place before the addict is released from the program for the best results.
Use Available Resources
Many organizations now work with recovering addicts to reenter society. Benefit from these organizations whenever possible. They assist clients with a variety of tasks, from finding new housing to locating a job or returning to school. Treatment centers are often of great assistance in identifying and locating the resources needed by the addict during his or her recovery.
Address Health Issues
Addicts often neglect their health in their quest to obtain the drug of choice and use it. As part of the recovery process, addicts need to focus on their health once again. This may require medical treatment depending on the damage the drug has done to the body. Furthermore, many addicts suffer from mental health issues, and these issues likewise need to be treated if the addict is to have a full recovery. When mental health conditions are ignored during the treatment process, the addict is more likely to relapse as these issues come to the forefront once again in the future.
Overcoming an addiction tends to be a lifelong battle. An addict will likely always crave the drug during difficult times. It’s how he or she responds to the cravings that will dictate the future. Keep this in mind and know that addiction cannot be cured. It can only be managed. With the right help, managing this disease becomes much easier, so be sure to find this helpful and surround the addict with it at all times.