When you are deeply addicted to drugs or alcohol, you pretty well know how the craving and yearning for getting intoxicated overpower your senses. At some point in time, you want to give up your addiction, break the shackles and get back to life, but to no avail. This is what the chronic nature of substance abuse does to you; it just takes a turn for the worse – a condition called “relapse”. In simple words, the term relapse refers to a person stopping the use of drugs or alcohol for a period of time and then starting to use again.
On the face of it, conquering substance abuse seems difficult and challenging, but it is certainly not impossible. With the right kind of treatment, support and direction, you can defeat addiction along with self-help and determination. If you have already tried and failed to overcome substance abuse, don’t think there’s no way out. However, the road to recovery is not that easy either; but with a sheer willpower and a strong resolve you are bound to succeed.
Here are some powerful ways to overcome chronic substance abuse:
- Understand your cravings
Being aware of your craving and knowing how to manage it is a constructive way to stay on track with your recovery from addiction. During the process of recovery, many people assume that cravings are a sign of relapsing. The truth is you only relapse when you revert back to using a substance to ostensibly cope with life stress and demands. It is quite natural that you feel that strong desire of getting intoxicated from time to time. The effort of eliminating cravings, therefore, is futile, rather you should recognize when your craving cycle begins and curb it before it pulls you in a downward spiral. Typically craving cycle works in three phases – trigger response, obsessive thinking, and full-blown craving. However, powerful these symptoms might be, the craving cycle is definitely not beyond your control. The key is to nip it in the bud the moment trigger response begins.
- Find an alternative source of pleasure
There are many reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol, and all of them can be fulfilled with other activities. So you can still experience your life’s blessings without abusing substances. Since everyone wants to feel good and changing societal norms have become such that one naturally gets drifted towards mind-altering substances, so you have to understand that there are other ways of enjoying life. Drug and alcohol intake encourage your brain to release dopamine; however when the substance abuse becomes overwhelmed with time, the release of dopamine becomes less and less, and you become deeply indulged. As a result, cravings get harder to handle. Therefore, you need to fill your life with a wide variety of fun and engaging activities that will make you feel satisfied and happy.
- Seek professional intervention
Quitting drugs and alcohol cold turkey is often very difficult; therefore it is better to look out for professional intervention. The National Council on Alcoholism and drug dependence defines intervention as a “professionally directed education process resulting in face-to-face meeting of family members and friends along with the person in trouble with drugs and alcohol. When you find the best interventionist, it will be easier for you and your family through the initial recovery process and finally bring about positive change. Since quitting cold turkey might exacerbate side effects and relapse, medical supervision will be the best bet for you. The different treatment options available in the intervention are: rapid detox, inpatient/outpatient treatment, and drug/alcohol rehab. In addition to that, counseling is also very important part of substance abuse treatment.
- Change your lifestyle
If you have determined to overcome your drug/alcohol addiction once and for all, you need to change your lifestyle for better. You have to overhaul everything from your daily routine to the way you handle daily stress and down to the family and friends that you rely on for support and guidance. To that effect, following a healthy routine is very important for you to give a new lease of life to yourself. Apart from that, physical activity and exercise can prove highly effective ways in fighting substance abuse and getting back to life. You should focus on both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
- Stay away from high-risk situations
In order to overcome your cravings, you need to distance yourself from people and situations that encourage addictions. You have to say no to your former drinking buddies, and instead surround yourself by the people who have a positive influence on you. If you are fighting chronic alcoholism, just avoid social gatherings and stopping by bars, while staying connected to friends who don’t drink. You need to eliminate those people, places, and things that are triggered for relapse. The reason for this is simple: you need to make it as easy on you as possible to stay sober.
Overcoming substance abuse is difficult and there are not doubts about that, but taking proper steps and availing right kind of support will help you defeat your cravings. Sincerely follow the above five steps and you will see the results.
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