Founder of Recoverypride.org
Overcoming Addiction: How to Stay Strong and Positive
By Michelle Peterson
If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably already taken the most difficult step on your road to recovery from addiction. You’ve admitted that you have a problem and have decided to do something about it. You likely have also realized that this won’t be an easy process, as you may be struggling to not relapse while also dealing with feelings of guilt and shame. But you can do this! Stay strong and positive with the following recommendations.
Get the right treatment
Hopefully, you have realized that you cannot overcome your addiction alone. Drug addiction is an actual brain disease, which changes how the brain works. You would go to a doctor if you had heart disease, so you should also seek the help of a professional to overcome your addiction.
Perhaps you are in a treatment program but are still having a difficult time staying on track. Make sure you’re in the right program. Whether you have chosen inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, a sober living home, or a 12-step program as your treatment plan, continually reassess its efficacy. Don’t stay in a program that is not working for you. It’s never too late to switch.
Build a support network
Make sure that your treatment plan forces you to face the psychological factors that led you to become addicted in the first place. According to addiction specialists, “Getting to the root of your addiction will be a confusing and emotional experience, but understanding your substance abuse completely is an important step in conquering it. Additionally, marriage and/or family counseling can help facilitate healthy conversations with your loved ones and pave the way for stronger relationships.” Find the right psychologist, counselor, social worker or even clergy member to help you tackle the core issues head on. A professional can best help you deal with any negative thoughts, such as guilt and shame, that surround your addiction and help you to stay positive by living in the present.
It is crucial that your support network is a sober one. If you are going to beat your addiction, you must live in a drug-free environment and surround yourself only with sober friends and family members who will truly support your efforts to become clean.
Create a new life
You cannot expect to overcome your addiction without drastically changing your life. You must literally create a new life in which it is easier for you to stay sober. First and foremost, this means that you have to avoid any place, person or thing that you associate with drug or alcohol use. This could mean not going to bars and clubs, changing your circle of friends, and ridding your home of any alcohol or drug paraphernalia.
One reason you turned to drugs or alcohol might have been that they made you feel good. Immerse yourself in new activities or hobbies that give you the same positive feelings. Start exercising, join a book club, go to museums, spend time in nature, or even start a blog. You could also pick up a musical instrument or start learning a new language. Spending time doing things you enjoy will help you to stay positive. Even better, take pleasure in these new activities with people who love you and support your recovery.
On your road to recovery from addiction, you may have a craving or even a relapse, but don’t beat yourself up. Most roads aren’t a straight line. There will likely be some bumps along the way. Stay strong and positive by making sure your treatment program is the right one for you, building a support network, and creating a new life for yourself. Call a friend or sponsor as soon as you feel your strength waning, and then get back on the right track.
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