Addiction Recovery: 5 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

All the willpower in the world will do little for you when it comes to addiction recovery. Addiction is a disease that is causing you to crave something, whether it is a substance or an activity. Could you “will away” the flu? Doubtful, right? You would seek a physician’s help to get better. Getting better from an addiction should be viewed in a similar way.

Addiction causes changes in the brain itself. Even after a person with an addiction has been sober for some time, those changes in the brain are still there. This is why addiction recovery is so challenging and why many people with the best intentions to stay sober frequently relapse.

If we know how addiction works in the brain, shouldn’t there be a way to undo the changes it has wrought? Unfortunately, there’s no one way to “cure” addiction. The good news is, there are many solutions that have been researched and proven effective in real-world situations. Not all addictions are the same and the multiplicity of ways to addiction recovery means that there is something out there that will work for you.

Because of the brain alterations that happen when someone becomes addicted, some recovery programs use prescription drugs to help manage the cravings. Remember those nicotine patch advertisements you might have seen on television? The same principle is sometimes applied in the treatment of illicit substance abuse. Prescription drugs can also help in the detoxification process, as withdrawal symptoms can be not only frightening, but dangerous or even life-threatening. If the detoxification process can be managed without severe suffering, the better the chances of recovery. Using medications in this process helps stabilize the addict’s brain for enough time to complete the detoxification stage of addiction recovery.

A licensed professional can help you determine if medication is the right option for you. Other methods of therapy and recovery may work better, depending on your situation. No matter what path your voyage to healing takes, read on for five ways you can set yourself up for success.

1. Take things one day at a time

Recovery is not only the end goal. It’s a process as well. Don’t let negativity get to you. Ask your therapist for some ways to combat negative thoughts. Just because you slip one time, it does not mean you should give up on your recovery. You are not a failure. You’re going through a major life change and it takes time to adjust to a new mode of living. Everything you’ve been told or recommended to to might seem like a jumbled mess at first, but take it step by step and soon you’ll be on the right path.

2. Get a support system

Addiction can make you feel very isolated. As you begin your process of addiction recovery, communicate with your friends and family about what you’re going through. People who love you want to know how you’re doing and knowing you have people who care about you, even when you’re going through a tough time, can be a great emotional boost. Also consider joining an official support group, like AA or a faith-based group. Your therapist should be able to recommend a support network to you. Having a network of people going through similar experiences as you can be very liberating, help you stay motivated, and provide helpful tips.

3. Change your friends

Addicts are often friends with other substance abusers. If your friends are likely to put your recovery at risk through their influence or enabling behaviors, it’s time to get some new friends. Surround yourself with positive people.

4. Make other healthy lifestyle choices

Replacing bad habits with good ones is key to addiction recovery. Make sure you’re eating right. This will help not only your physical health, but your mental state as well. Don’t forget the power of exercise when it comes to your mental health either. Try to get started on a regular exercise regime.

5. Volunteer

Dealing with your substance abuse can be mentally exhausting and even a bit demoralizing. Give yourself a self-esteem boost by getting out there and doing some volunteer work. Give back to your community or contribute to a cause you feel strongly about. Feeling accomplished will help keep you in a positive mood and aid in your recovery.