It is a common misconception for people to think that an addict can always get clean with enough willpower. Anyone who has ever fought with addiction will quickly assert the falsity of this claim. Addiction is physical and mental. Both areas must consistently be addressed to remain sober in a world full of temptation.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse has stated that relapse is a more typical outcome after rehabilitation if follow up efforts are not observed. Here are a few ways an addict in recovery can stay one step ahead of their drug of choice.
Understand how addiction affects the brain.
Drug use does, in fact, alter the way our brains work. Depending on the substance, drugs can rewire our brains to be powerless against temptation. Without ongoing support and treatment, sometimes the brain just is not strong enough to rectify the damage.
An addict that is suffering in the turmoil of their addiction will always succumb to their urges, whereas an addict that is in recovery will have the tools to respond constructively to those urges. The point is that either way the urge will remain for quite some time. It is crucial that treatment is extensive.
Clearly distinguish and avoid triggers.
A trigger is anything that reminds an addict of their addiction. It is vital to understand what makes using seem like the only option. What drives the urge to use? Once these triggers are clearly distinguished, it is important to actively avoid them.
For many addicts, there are certain individuals who trigger self-destructive behavior. Leaving behind old friends, and sometimes even family members, is one of the most insurmountable tasks to an addict new to sobriety.
Keep coming back.
As it has been stated, ongoing treatment is almost always necessary for true recovery. The cliche slogans of AA and other recovery groups may seem useless, but they will continuously play over in the mind of an indoctrinated addict. Some people need these mental devices to stay the path of sobriety.
Keep up with therapy. The willpower to get clean cannot end with rehab. Addiction is a lifestyle that infects everything around the addict. It takes time to undo years of harmful living, so be patient and work the program.
Learn how to have fun without using.
The lifestyle of addiction is a rough beast to escape. Routine is the addict’s best friend, believe it or not. That routine must be thoroughly deconstructed to remain healthy for a prolonged period of time.
An addict must train their mind to have fun without using. Learn to knit. Play card games or get into community sports. These activities will keep an addict busy and leave little time for substance abuse.