Addictions 103 – 6 Steps towards Addiction Recovery
Addiction is fuelled with guilt and shame and to unburden oneself, is to provide a clear picture of what needs to be done – systematically, not all at once. This exercise can trigger shame and feelings of remorse and guilt – trigger depression and anxiety. Be mindful of the strength it takes to pursue addiction recovery and how your life will be better if you stop using and what do you need to do today to reach your preferred future? Emphasize the positive reasons to change, realistic goal setting and who can and cannot help.
The Reality Test. Addiction or compulsion recovery begins with an honest reckoning of the extent of the problem at hand. What are you using? How much and how often? When did you start? What has happened in the last year? Most if not all aspects of your life have been affected, such as physical, social, emotional, relational, financial and spiritual pain or losses. This process of acknowledgment is a sign of commitment to the outcome of recovery.
Consider your Trigger Points. Triggers to use must be identified (see previous Addictions101 blog) with viable alternatives to each that you will carry out. If you avoid this step or lie to yourself or your helper recovery will be short and relapse probable. For example, if hanging out with a certain group of friends leads to problematic use, then will they help you to avoid use, or do you have to hang out with non-using friends?
Do the Math. There are websites that help you calculate the money you spent and time you were intoxicated. If you take the last year, and calculate your average use by cost, most people are stunned by the significant amount that could have bought a holiday, or even a down payment on a house. Invest your money in your preferred future.
Do what Works. Examine what you have tried unsuccessfully to control the addiction or compulsion. Find out your current available options through social support, self-help groups, detox and professional treatment. Work on changing your faulty thoughts, beliefs or expectations. Healthy diet, exercise, sleep, social connections, taking responsibility and being in nature all help recovery.
Deal with Underlying Problems. Once of the hardest things for an addict is that once they quit using, their lives don’t get better, they actually get worse as they face the consequences of their using or the feelings they were avoiding by using. You are not your mistakes or the harm others have done to you. Find the good parts of you that got buried along the way and learn to live from them.
Be Realistic. You can only make a few changes at a time and sometimes you will make mistakes. Accept them, learn the lessons and move on. Recovery takes effort and support. You are worth it and your loved ones will benefit too.