When an addiction has taken hold, a drug-free life could seem like pie in the sky. However, with the right amount of guidance, support and discipline, sobriety is an attainable goal for anyone. Your first step is to acknowledge that there’s a problem; the second involves immersing yourself in the vision of a drug-free life.
The important thing is to never abandon your goal of conquering drugs, regardless of whether you’ve tried and failed in the past. The fact is, it’s difficult to beat an addiction, and it’s not uncommon for a drug or alcohol user to fail at their first attempt. As long as you recognize the difference between your desired situation and the present reality, you’ve already begun the process of turning things around.
Commit Yourself to a Drug-Free Life
In a lot of cases, the greatest hurdle that an addict will face on the road to recovery is the first step: committing oneself to change. Despite all the problems that drugs might bring to your life, you’ve grown accustomed to the feelings they bring. Fighting to overcome that need could feel like treading on foreign water. Truth be told, a drug-free life involves plenty of change – most prominently in the following areas:
- your stress-related coping mechanisms
- your social surroundings
- your daily habits and activities
- your self-image
Change of that magnitude could be intimidating for just about anyone, and it’s understandable that you might feel ambivalent at first. To achieve a life of sobriety, it takes devotion from you and support from your loved ones.
Examine the Consequences of Further Drug Use
As you set your mind on ways to cure yourself of drug addiction, you should also take stock of the costs that could stem from continued abuse. An awareness on your part of all the consequences could ultimately fuel your resolve to quit. Some of the key things to examine include the following:
- The volume and frequency of your drug use, and the impact it has on your daily life.
- The effects that usage has on your health, job performance, and relationships with friends and loved ones.
- The feelings that others in the know have regarding your drug use.
- The consequences of continued dependency versus the benefits of sobriety.
If this is not the first time that you’ve made an effort to quit, consider the reasons why past attempts failed and what you could have done – and will do this time – for better results.
Prepare Yourself for a Change in Life
Now that you’ve decided that you can and will cure yourself of drug addiction, you need to make your surroundings consistent with your new frame of mind. With each passing day, reaffirm your newfound commitment to sobriety. While you’re at it, make checklists of daily goals that must be completed, such as things you might have neglected in a drug-addled state.
As you get into these patterns, inform your loved ones about the vow you’ve made to live a drug-free life. To seal the break from your past, dispense with all references to your addiction. This could include photographs taken of yourself in drug-induced states, as well as clothing worn and music played during such times.
Explore Different Methods of Treatment
The first question on most users’ minds is “can drug addiction be cured?” The answer is that addiction can be treated and permanently overcome. The next question will often be “can you cure yourself of drug addiction, or should you undergo treatment at a facility?” Truth is, it all depends on the individual, and there are things you should consider before choosing one approach over another.
- Drug treatment is not a process in which one size fits all. The effort to overcome your own dependency might necessitate a different approach from one that would work on someone else. It could all depend on various factors, such as your willpower, life situation, body chemistry and the length of your addiction. Any approach that you choose will need to be customized to your unique set of circumstances.
- Good treatment covers more than just the addiction itself. Drugs can impact all areas of your life, including your physical condition, personal relationships, professional reputation and finances. The success of a given approach could largely rely on whether it addresses your initial reasons for taking drugs. If your early dabblings were fueled by feelings of depression or anxiety, your treatment program will need to address different ways for dealing with those emotions.
- Curing yourself of drug addiction is a long-term process. There’s no instant remedy to a long-term dependency. The more time you spent as a drug user, the more time you’ll likely need to immerse yourself in treatment – the intensity of which could largely depend on the severity of your habit. In any case, long-term care is essential for recovery.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
It’s important to have the support of others when you commit to ridding yourself of drugs. Ending an addiction is hard, and you need the love and guidance of people who are positive, encouraging, sensitive to your needs and fully committed to your well-being.
- Rely on your dearest friends and relatives. The support of loved ones is crucial throughout the process of recovery. If your drug problems have led to feelings of distrust or resentment from others, your commitment to sobriety could serve the twofold purpose of restoring relationships in your life.
- Surround yourself only with sober people. One of the big parts of breaking free from an addiction is to sever all ties from the kinds of people involved in that lifestyle. What you need instead are people who will set a completely different example. To further immerse yourself in a different way of life, engage in new activities, such as classes, community events or volunteer work.
Deal With Stress in a Positive Manner
After you’ve broken free from chemical dependency, you’ll need to find another way to deal with the problems in life that drove you to that addiction. Did you initially use drugs to cope with negative emotions related to work, money, health or domestic issues?
Some of those feelings that you managed to alleviate with drugs will likely resurface in your new sober lifestyle. The difference, of course, is that your regular issues – the kind that everyone faces – will seem minor when compared to the lowest moments of your former drug-addled life.
In order to make your sobriety permanent, you’ll need to find positive ways to deal with life’s problems. There are plenty of methods for relieving stress that can boost your energy and improve your health, including the following activities:
|Exercise – such as running, cardio and weightlifting – releases endorphins in the body and raises mood levels.|
|Walks are a great way to burn off calories and take in beautiful scenery.|
|Yoga can help you find balance.|
|Animals can take your mind off human-related stress. Playing with pets is one way to immerse yourself in animal culture; another is wildlife programming, which is all over YouTube and cable TV. If you don’t have a pet, adopt one. Pet care not only makes you feel loved, it also keeps you active and gives you responsibility.|
|Calm music ‑ classical, ambient, new age, light jazz – can provide a tranquil backdrop for relaxation, and also serve as beautiful art for the ears if you’re the active-listening type.|
|Candles, potpourri and flowers can freshen up your living quarters and make things more conducive for relaxation.|
|Warm baths and showers are time-honored sources of stress relief.|
|Photos of beaches, sunsets and other beautiful scenery can provide relaxing escape worlds for the mind. Underwater film footage of tropical fish and marine-life habitats can also be very relaxing.|
Avoid the Triggers of Your Old Lifestyle
One of the most important steps along the road to recovery is to sever all ties with your drug-fueled past. This would include the people you saw and the places you frequented while engaging in drug use. During your initial months of sobriety, the craving for drugs can be strong, which makes it crucial to avoid anything that could spark a relapse, such as:
- Drug buddies – When you’re trying to cure yourself of drug addiction, the last thing you need in your life are the people that fostered your dependency. What you need to do instead is surround yourself with people who aren’t connected to drug culture. This will help keep you from slipping back into your old habits.
- Bars and nightclubs – Regardless of whether you’ve had issues with alcohol, a few drinks could cause you to lose your sense of judgment and ultimately consume something far worse. As a general rule, you should avoid any environment that has a reputation for drug availability, including rock concerts or festivals.
Additionally, you should avoid any prescription drugs that could possibly cause you to develop replacement addictions, such as painkillers and anti-anxiety pills. Furthermore, it’s important to be open with doctors about your history of chemical dependency. This will help them prescribe milder, nonhabit-forming medical remedies.
Overcome Cravings When They Recur
Once in a while, cravings might surface that tug at your willpower. In order to beat these momentary urges, the following activities can be used as means of distraction:
- Read a book. Go to a coffee shop, bookstore or library – public, quiet places – and immerse yourself in a long and involving novel.
- Watch a movie, preferably in the drug-free environment of a movie theater, where a dramatic, funny or suspenseful plot can captivate you for several hours.
- Run a number of laps or ride a bike for several miles.
- Eat healthy foods, such as fruits, nuts and vegetables. If you replace your drug cravings with healthy food cravings as opposed to unhealthy ones, it could be one of the added benefits of your recovery.
- Open up about your cravings with people you can trust. If you talk things through with others, it will keep you occupied in an environment of supportive people. Friends and loved ones can help take your mind off drugs, while the candidness of this topic can add new layers of honesty to your relationships.
- Alter the feelings and imagery that your mind associates with drug cravings. When an urge kicks in, it will often conjure memories of the pleasures involved with a certain bad habit, as opposed to the consequences. To break this pattern, try altering the thoughts that come with these cravings. Instead of allowing your mind to recall the carefree moments of your early usage, visualize grotesque imagery of physically ravaged, impoverished addicts. Remind yourself over and over again that you are better than that, until the message is embedded in your subconscious.
Rebound from a Drug Relapse
A relapse into drugs could potentially be sparked by numerous factors. While it’s different for each recovering individual, typical triggers include:
- physical pain stemming from withdrawal
- stressful encounters with people
- negative moods (anxiety, depression)
- unexpected opportunities to use drugs again
- testing one’s limits
- overwhelming cravings
One thing to bear in mind is that a relapse does not amount to a total collapse of your recovery efforts. Instead of getting despondent, pull yourself back together as swiftly as possible. Confide in your loved ones, attend rehab and visit your doctor. Once you’ve returned to sobriety, examine the circumstances surrounding your relapse and the different choices you should have made. You could ultimately take the insights gained from the experience and use them to fuel your renewed commitment to a drug-free life.
As you can see, the answer to the question “Can drug addicts recover?” is a resounding yes – all it takes is the right combination of help and support.
The 12 Keys Rehab Model
Sobriety is a lifelong commitment. At 12 Keys Rehab, we give addicts the proper foundation for a drug-free life. At our 10-acre waterfront spread in southern Florida, clients are given holistic treatments within a relaxed, supportive setting. Our mix of one-on-one and group therapy is customized to the needs of each individual, and our client-to-staff ratio – only a few clients per therapist – is such that everyone here receives optimal attention.
At 12 Keys Rehab, we reject the one-method-for-all approach to treatment. Instead, we evaluate the reactions of each client to various situations. This allows us to determine the proper course of action in each client’s case. During the early stage of treatment, the issues that drive a client’s drug use come into plain sight. As the treatment advances, a client will offer feedback that indicates progress, which is then reviewed and taken into account as adjustments are made to that client’s treatment.
We take a different approach to detox at 12 Keys Rehab, where our very own Dr. Balta – a board-certified psychiatrist and psychotherapist with more than 25 years of experience – leads clients through the process in a relaxing, reparative environment. As head of our treatment team, Dr. Balta is an expert in the subjects of addiction, trauma, mental health and behavior issues.
Each day, clients engage in meetings where they share stories and experiences with one another. During the evenings, peer meetings are held in which problems are discussed under the supervision of coaches. Friendships form through these meetings, where each client learns that he or she is not alone in the struggle to combat drug addiction. Additionally, every client is given a sponsor here at 12 Keys Rehab.
Designed to produce spiritual awakenings in clients, our steps are based on a classic recovery model that has been used to heal lives since 1935. One of the greatest things about this model is that it offers a universal network of support to anyone who suffers from drug or alcohol addiction. Throughout the 12-step process, discoveries are made about each client’s psychological makeup. These issues are often tied to the client’s drug dependency, and by treating that we help solve other issues in his or her life. Furthermore, we provide support and aftercare to loved ones of addicts here at 12 Keys Rehab.
At 12 Keys Rehab, we understand the pain and despair that drug addiction brings to the lives of addicts and their friends and loved ones. In fact, some of our staff members have also recovered from addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug problem, contact 12 Keys Rehab right now to start a new life of sobriety.
Disclaimer: We use a combination of original and stock photography on the website. The individuals portrayed in the images are models and are not intended to imply endorsement or any association with any addiction or condition of any kind.