Beating addiction isn’t all about suffering withdrawal and get it out of your system. There are a lot of people going through recovery for the first time who believe they can brute force it. That, however, tends to ignore the problems of their habits and their own personality that can send them crashing into a relapse. To fully recover, you need to be as steady as a stream and as watchful as an eagle.
Know your triggers
We all have little triggers for unconscious behaviors that can dominate a lot of our reactions to events. One example is how we tend to turn our feet towards the person we find most interesting in a group conversation. A more pertinent example is how social gatherings, like parties, tend to be a big trigger for anyone with recreational drug or alcohol dependencies. Old friends, familiar settings, and unattended drugs and alcohol are some other common triggers. You need to learn to deal with those triggers by learning to be mindful. Practicing mindfulness means being acutely aware of one’s own reactions and why they are happening as they are. When in doubt, you should always consider removing the triggers from your environment or choosing another environment. Shrugging off old friends and social scenes can be one of the most difficult parts of the recovery process. If there are people who don’t respect your attempts, however, perhaps they shouldn’t be your friends.
Find new coping mechanisms
Even without triggers, you are going to feel those old itches and urges resurfacing again. Finding new ways to cope with idleness are a great way to distract yourself in those quiet moments of weakness. Everyone who goes through recovery has them, and they use some of the most effective ways of taking their minds off their dependencies. Exercise, writing, even meditation can be great positive ways of coping.
Get your support system involved
If you have friends and family who believe in your ability to recover, then it’s a good idea to get them involved in helping that recovery. With the right recovery process from alcohol and drug use, they can get the kind of education on how to be more supportive and more emotionally prepared to help you in the journey. At rehab, you can ask them to send you care packages which serve as a good memento of the positive influences willing your recovery. It can be embarrassing, but asking for help from the right people can be a great asset in your recovery. It’s also a good idea to use support groups and surround yourself with people who can understand your journey to a deeper degree.
Make recovery measurable
Many recovery processes and support groups will offer tokens of how long you’ve stayed clean. You shouldn’t just measure your successes in terms of how long you’ve stayed from your dependencies, however. You should measure all success in your life. If you’ve found a new job, if you’ve taken up a new hobby, if you’ve written a chapter, or run for longer than before: celebrate it. Self-esteem and self-respect can be earned, you just have to take stock of how far you’ve come.
Recovery is beyond no-one. Developing the will-power and the self-awareness are goals that anyone can achieve. They just need the right tools, like those above, to do it.
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