Addictions come in many forms. Alcohol, heroin, cocaine, tobacco, Marijuana, and Meth (Methamphetamine) are substances most commonly abused by drug addicts, to mention a few. With improved technology that we see today, new types of drugs often see the daylight. Underground networks can quickly get these drugs into your neighborhood. Addiction is not just limited to substance abuse. Non-substance and behavioral addictions include gambling, shopping, excessive eating, excessive use of social media, and bodily desires. It is not a modern-day battle that we are fighting with addiction. It has existed for centuries.
Addiction to drugs has mild to severe consequences. Substance and non-substance addictions may lead to clinical or major depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorders, and sleep disorders, to mention a few. Research by health institutes in different parts of the world mention substance abuse to be one of the leading causes of suicide. Lack of productivity at work, domestic abuse, increased crime rates, drugged driving, and divorces are more addiction outcomes. Such behaviors have a huge cost to society.
The total amount spent on drug-related crimes in the U.S. in 2011 was approx. $61 billion. This figure comes from the National Drug Threat Assessment Center’s research from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2011. According to the 2019 National Survey of Drug Use and Health by the U.S. Department of Health and Services, there is a huge treatment gap. A treatment gap is a difference between who is said to need addiction treatment and those who receive it eventually.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that California, Texas, and Ohio have the highest drug overdose mortality. Now there is a reason to believe that most California Rehabs offer advanced treatment options to cope with drug addiction. Getting rid of a substance or non-substance addiction is not easy. Following is a crisp guide to help you get rid of your habit:
- UNDERSTAND HOW ADDICTION WORKS!
According to Professor Bruce K. Alexander, addiction is the result of bonding between a person and a substance in the absence of a nurturing and positive environment. Johann Hari, in his TED speech in June 2015, mentioned the same. Hari said we have a natural and innate need to bond. When we are happy and healthy, we bond and connect. But if you cannot do that, you tend to attach to things around you. You will click with something that will give you some relief. It could be alcohol, tobacco, or any other drugs. Extended use of such things leads to dependency and then to addiction.
Now you know what new research says about how addiction works? Taking the following measures may help you recover from your addiction:
- Change your physical environment: Choose a more natural environment with plants and fresh air.
- Change your company: you borrow the habits of your friends. Be mindful of the type of friends you surround yourself with, and reach out to family and friends you think will help you.
- Change your thoughts: what goes inside your head is your internal environment. It is as important as your external environment. It will help if you accept that you have an addiction problem and you strongly want to get rid of it. Your mind feeds you with strategies to overcome addiction.
- Find motivation: decide why do you want to overcome your addiction? Addiction does no good for anybody. Motivate yourself to do it for yourself first.
- RECONNECT, REBUILD AND SEEK HELP
Addicts develop their comfort zones and environments where they allow themselves easy access to drugs. They also tend to sometimes isolate themselves from families and friends who do not share the same routines. Getting back to family and friends, you might have hurt while being actively involved in your addiction can be difficult. But do not burden yourself too much. Take little steps first. Assure your family and friends that you are aware of your addiction and are seeking professional help. Take the following steps to reconnect with family and rebuild old relationships:
- Seek Professional Help: see a psychologist, therapist, counselor, or find local support groups. Show more consistency rather than intensity in keeping up with your visit schedules. The whole idea of this is to take small steps at first.
- Meditate often: reconnect with yourself via meditation. If yoga does not appeal to you, find the type of meditation that appeals to you.
- Volunteer: rebuild your social network by engaging in volunteer work.
- Do not leave yourself alone: Make meetings a priority and not be in your own company for long hours. When you keep meeting your friends, you will engage yourself in better social activities than what you might involve yourself in your own company.
- FIND AMBITIONS, WRITE GOALS AND DEVELOP NEW HABITS
Often lack of ambition, passion, goals, and good habits cause people to get involved in substance abuse. While overcoming addictions, old habits have to be replaced by new ones. Addicts get negatively impacted on physical, mental, and emotional fronts. They don’t only need a change in habits but also a strong reason to develop new habits. The same concept applies to finding ambitions and writing goals. The following steps might be helpful:
- Gather support from former colleagues, friends, and family: ask your family, former colleagues, and friends to help you. Remind of your talents and habits that might help you overcome addiction.
- Exercise: Physical activity is as important as mental exercise. Find yourself a physical exercise that you enjoy, such as running, swimming, horse riding, and making a schedule. Discipline yourself to exercise regularly.
- Pick up a Hobby: a hobby need not be an exercise. Stargazing can also be a hobby. Pick a hobby that helps you connect with yourself on a deeper level. It will positively affect your mental and emotional health.
- Adopt a pet: Caring for animals makes you feel loved and needed. It also comes with a lot of responsibility. Adopting a pet would occupy you both emotionally and mentally.
All these steps require you to become extremely vulnerable. Being vulnerable here means that you accept your current state, tell yourself that you are determined to change, and take steps to do the same.
Overcoming addiction is not as easy as it appears to be. It requires a lot of courage, grit, and resilience, not to mention an intense and unrelenting will-power as well. Even when you show positive signs of recovery, the social stigma attached to addiction might downplay your spirits. Hence the head and heart have to work together to successfully overcome your addiction—persistence, persistence, and persistence. Without a strong and continued effort, you cannot expect to see positive results.