Read e-book Addiction and change: how addictions develop and addicted people recover

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Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. Build a sober social network. If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you may need to make some new connections. Try taking a class, joining a church or a civic group, volunteering , or attending events in your community.

Consider moving into a sober living home. Make meetings a priority. Join a recovery support group such as a step program and attend meetings regularly. You can also benefit from the shared experiences of the group members and learn what others have done to stay sober.

The Role of Family History

Did you start using to numb painful emotions, calm yourself after an argument, unwind after a bad day, or forget about your problems? Once you have resolved your underlying issues, you will, at times, continue to experience stress, loneliness, frustration, anger, shame, anxiety, and hopelessness. These emotions are all a normal part of life.

Finding ways to address these feelings as they arise is an essential component to your treatment and recovery. There are healthier ways to keep your stress level in check. You can learn to manage your problems without falling back on your addiction. Different quick stress relief strategies work better for some people than others. The key is to find the one that works best for you. A brisk walk around the block can be enough to relieve stress. Yoga and meditation are also excellent ways to bust stress and find balance. Step outside and savor the warm sun and fresh air.

Enjoy a beautiful view or landscape. Experiment with your sense of smell. Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers or coffee beans, or savor a scent that reminds you of a favorite vacation, such as sunscreen or a seashell.

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Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place. Pamper yourself.

Make yourself a steaming cup of tea, give yourself a neck or shoulder massage. Soak in a hot bath or shower. Your brain still needs time to recover and rebuild connections that changed while you were addicted. During this rebuild, drug cravings can be intense. You can support your continued recovery by avoiding people, places, and situations that trigger your urge to use:. Step away from your friends who use. Surround yourself with people who support your sobriety, not those who tempt you to slip back into old, destructive habits.

Avoid bars and clubs. Drugs are often readily available and the temptation to use can be overpowering. Also avoid any other environments and situations that you associate with drug use. Be upfront about your history of drug use when seeking medical treatment.

Addiction | Psychology Today

If you need a medical or dental procedure done, be upfront and find a provider who will work with you in either prescribing alternatives or the absolute minimum medication necessary. You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use or be denied medication for pain; if that happens, find another provider.

Use caution with prescription drugs. If you were addicted to a prescription drug, such as an opioid painkiller, you may need to talk to your doctor about finding alternate ways to manage pain. Drugs with a high abuse potential include painkillers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medication. Get involved in a distracting activity.

The Stages of Change Model of Overcoming Addiction

Read, see friends, go to a movie, immerse yourself in a hobby, hike, or exercise. Talk it through. Talk to friends or family members about craving when it occurs. Talking can be very helpful in pinpointing the source of the craving. Also, talking about craving often helps to discharge and relieve the feeling and will help restore honesty in your relationship.

Craving is nothing to feel bad about. Challenge and change your thoughts. When experiencing a craving, many people have a tendency to remember only the positive effects of the drug and forget the negative consequences. Sometimes it is helpful to have these consequences listed on a small card that you keep with you. Urge surf. Many people try to cope with their urges by toughing it out.

But some cravings are too strong to ignore. When this happens, it can be useful to stay with the urge until it passes.

This technique is called urge surfing. Imagine yourself as a surfer who will ride the wave of your drug craving, staying on top of it until it crests, breaks, and turns into less powerful, foamy surf. You can support your drug treatment and protect yourself from relapse by having activities and interests that provide meaning to your life. When your life is filled with rewarding activities and a sense of purpose, your addiction will lose its appeal.


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Pick up an old hobby or try a new one. Learn a musical instrument, a foreign language, or try a new sport. Adopt a pet. Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for an animal makes you feel loved and needed. Pets can also get you out of the house for exercise. Spend time in nature. Take a scenic hike, go fishing or camping, or enjoy regular walks in a park. Enjoy the arts. Visit a museum, go to a concert or a play, take an art class or write a memoir. Get involved in your community.

Replace your addiction with drug-free groups and activities. Volunteer , become active in your church or faith community, or join a local club or neighborhood group. Set meaningful goals. Having goals to work toward and something to look forward to can be powerful antidotes to drug addiction. Look after your health. Regular exercise , adequate sleep , and healthy eating habits help you keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down.

The more you can stay healthy and feel good, the easier it will be to stay sober.


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Relapse is a common part of the recovery process from drug addiction. While relapse is frustrating and discouraging, it can be an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, identify additional triggers, and correct your treatment course. Causes of relapse can differ for each person. Some common ones include:.