Helping yourself in addiction is the best way for you to recover and accept. First thing’s first, you must admit you have an addiction. Then, if you feel discomfort or guilt from your actions, or if your bad habits conflict or restrict your everyday activities, it’s time to consider help.
If you think that you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol, recognizing the problem is the first step in getting help. Many people believe they can kick the problem on their own, but that rarely works. Instead, find someone you trust to talk to. It may help speak to a friend or someone at first, but a supportive and understanding adult is your best option for getting help. If you can’t talk to your parents, you might want to approach a school counselor, relative, doctor, favorite teacher, or religious leader. Unfortunately, overcoming addiction is not easy, but it is possible.
Quitting drugs or drinking will probably be one of the hardest things you or your friend has ever done. But, it’s not a sign of weakness if you need professional help from a trained drug counselor or therapist. Most people who try to kick a drug or alcohol problem need professional assistance or a treatment program. At We Level Up, we provide critical therapy required by clients to enjoy exceptional and comprehensive treatment recovery.
Helping Yourself: Getting Started
After you start a treatment program, try these tips to make the road to recovery less bumpy:
- Tell your friends about your decision to stop using drugs: True friends will respect your decision. This might mean that you need to find a new group of friends who will be 100% supportive. Unless everyone decides to kick their drug habit at once, you probably won’t be able to hang out with the friends you did drugs with.
- Ask your friends or family to be available when you need them: You might need to call someone in the middle of the night to talk. If you’re going through a tough time, don’t try to handle things yourself — accept the help your family and friends offer.
- Accept invitations only to events that you know won’t involve drugs or alcohol: Going to the movies is probably safe, but you may want to skip a Friday night party until you’re feeling more secure. Plan activities that don’t involve drugs. Go to the movies, try bowling, or take an art class with a friend.
- Have a plan about what you’ll do if you find yourself in a place with drugs or alcohol: The temptation will be there sometimes. If you know how you’re going to handle it, you’ll be OK. Establish a plan with your parents, siblings, or other supportive friends and adults so that if you call home using a code, they’ll know that your call is a signal you need a ride out of there.
- Remind yourself that having an addiction doesn’t make a person bad or weak, and helping yourself get back on track is something to be proud of. If you fall back into old patterns (backslide) a bit, talk to an adult as soon as possible. There’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it’s essential to get help soon so that all of the hard work you put into your recovery is not lost.
Five Keys to Holding Yourself Accountable
- Remind yourself of the reasons you want to change
- Think about your past attempts at recovery, if any. What worked? What didn’t?
- Set specific, measurable goals, such as a start date or limits on your drug use
- Remove reminders of your addiction from your home, workplace, and other places you frequent
- Tell friends and family that you’re committing to recovery, and ask for their support
Helping Yourself to Achieve Sobriety
If you are helping yourself, don’t try to do it alone—reach out for support. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having positive influences and a solid support system is essential. The more people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, the better your chances for recovery.
- Lean on close friends and family: Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. If you’re reluctant to turn to your loved ones because you’ve let them down before, consider going to relationship counseling or family therapy.
- Build a sober social network: If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you might need to make some new connections. It’s essential to have straight friends who will support your recovery. Try taking a class, joining a church or a civic group, volunteering, or attending events in your community.
- Consider moving in to a sober living home: Sober living homes provide a safe, supportive place to live while you’re recovering from drug addiction. They are a good option if you don’t have a stable home or a drug-free living environment.
- Make meetings a priority: Join a 12-step recovery support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and attend meetings regularly. Spending time with people who understand precisely what you’re going through can be very healing. You can also benefit from the shared experiences of the group members and learn what others have done to stay sober.
Substance Abuse and Addiction
The difference between substance abuse and addiction is very slight. Substance abuse means using an illegal substance or using a legal sense in the wrong way. Addiction begins as abuse or using a substance like marijuana or cocaine. You can abuse a drug (or alcohol) without having an addiction. So, for example, just because Sara smoked pot a few times doesn’t mean that she has a habit, but it does mean that she’s abusing a drug, which could lead to an addiction. People can get addicted to all sorts of substances. When we think of addiction, we usually think of alcohol or illegal drugs. But people become addicted to medicines, cigarettes, even glue.
Some substances are more addictive than others: Drugs like crack or heroin are so addictive that they might only use them once or twice before the user loses control. Addiction means a person has no control over whether they use a drug or drink. For example, someone addicted to cocaine has grown so used to the medicine they have to have. Addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.
Being physically addicted means a person’s body becomes dependent on a particular substance (even smoking is physically addictive). It also means building tolerance to that substance to need a larger dose than ever before to get the same effects. Someone who is physically addicted and stops using a substance like drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes may experience withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of withdrawal are diarrhea, shaking, and generally feeling awful.
Psychological addiction happens when the cravings for a drug are psychological or emotional. People who are psychologically addicted feel overcome by the desire to have a prescription. As a result, they may lie or steal to get it. A person crosses the line between abuse and addiction when they are no longer trying the drug to have fun or get high but have come to depend on it. Their whole life centers around the need for medication. An addicted person — whether it’s a physical or psychological addiction or both — no longer feels like there is a choice in taking a substance.
Signs of Addiction
The most obvious sign of an addiction is the need to have a particular drug or substance. However, many other symptoms can suggest a possible addiction, such as mood or weight loss changes or gain. (These are signs of other conditions, too, such as depression or eating disorders.)
Signs that you or someone you know may have a drug or alcohol addiction include:
- Use of drugs or alcohol as a way to forget problems or to relax
- Withdrawal or keeping secrets from family and friends
- Loss of interest in activities that used to be important
- Problems with schoolwork, such as slipping grades or absences
- Changes in friendships, such as hanging out only with friends who use drugs
- Spending a lot of time figuring out how to get drugs
- Stealing or selling belongings to be able to afford drugs
- Failed attempts to stop taking drugs or drinking
- Anxiety, anger, or depression
- Mood swings
- Changes in eating habits, including weight loss or gain
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Needing to take more of the substance to get the same effect
- Feeling shaky or sick when trying to stop
Ways of Helping Yourself To Stop Addiction
- Admit there is a problem
- Be accountable to someone
- Break the habit
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Discover a new hobby
- Love yourself
- Write down the harmful effects your alcohol or drug addiction has
- Call for help – now
Staying Clean and Sober
Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction doesn’t end with a 6-week treatment program. It’s a lifelong process. Many people find that joining a support group can help them stay clean. There are support groups specifically for adult people. You’ll meet people who have gone through the same experiences you have, and you’ll be able to participate in real-life discussions about drugs that you won’t hear in your school’s health class. In fact, helping yourself is also the best way to help yourself.
If you do have a relapse, recognizing the problem as soon as possible is critical. Then, get help right away so that you don’t undo all the hard work you put into your initial recovery. And, if you do have a relapse, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help!
If you are struggling with substance use or addiction, at We Level Up Treatment Center, we provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. We work as an integrated team, providing programs like helping yourself and other aspects of treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.