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Addiction and Changing Your Ways

Addiction and Changing Your Ways

Once you have built a support system, it is up to you to take advantage of it

Recovery is a transformative process that can take years to master. Before you can make progress in recovery you must be accountable for your addiction and past actions, and start replacing unhealthy habits with new, positive ones that support a sober life. There will be times when the changes you have to make are difficult but in the long run the changes you make to help you stay sober will improve your life.

Change for Yourself

Making the decision to quit using drugs is not an easy one when you are living with an addiction. Committing yourself to a sober life requires some major changes in your life, not only in your substance use habits but in other areas as well. Addiction slowly permeates throughout your life, affecting your relationships, how you spend your free time, the way you see yourself, and the friends you hang out with. It will take addressing all these areas if you truly want to quit. Instead of looking at recovery as a task or something you have to do, focus on how each step will improve your life.[1] New friends will bring new, positive influences to your life. Being free from addiction will allow you to perform better at work and have more fun during your off-time. Make your recovery about improving your life and the changes you need to make will be easier to come by.

Building a Support System

No matter how strong a recovering drug user is, there are times after he completes addiction treatment when he needs help. After rehab you return to the real world, and are once again exposed to the triggers that drove your substance abuse. Relapse is always a phone call or two away, and building a support system is a good way to put safeguards in place to protect your sobriety.[2] Tell your loved ones about your addiction and the challenges you are facing so they understand what you need. Telling them about your experience with substance abuse, the treatment you are receiving, and having honest conversations about what you are going through can help. Be specific about how a person can help, such as providing transportation to appointments, taking care of your children during meetings, or having regular phone conversations. Once you have built a support system, it is up to you to take advantage of it. Sometimes it is easier to avoid someone or not respond, but the more you push yourself to connect the better your support system will lift you up.

New Ways to Cope with Stress

Everyone has their own ways of coping with stress, but some are more effective than others. Relying on drugs and alcohol to get you through stressful events can lead to bad habits and does not actually do anything to address the way you are feeling. Substance abuse is not a healthy way to cope; it is just a way to delay negative feelings. A major part of the recovery process is replacing bad coping techniques, such as substance abuse, with healthy habits.[3] There are countless ways to deal with stress instead of turning to substance abuse. Here are a few things you can do to take your mind off cravings the next time you feel stressed that will actually help:

  • Physical exercise – Regular exercise raises your heart rate, releases endorphins and takes your mind off whatever is bothering you.
  • Relaxation – Mindfulness meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, stretching. All are examples of relaxing activities that can reduce your stress. Pick a relaxation technique and try it out for yourself, but remember to be patient as it can take some time to develop your practice.
  • Talk it out – Talking to someone will make you feel better and give you an ally in recovery. Isolating yourself is an easy way to relapse, so talking even when you do not necessarily want to may be good for your recovery.

Making the Change: Beginning Recovery

Changing your ways begins with one step: Admitting you have an addiction. Once you admit you have a problem you can take the necessary steps to improve your life but without professional addiction treatment it is almost impossible to make progress. Call our toll-free helpline – it is available 24 hours a day – to learn more about what happens during addiction treatment and speak with a trained addiction expert. Our specialists will let you know if your health insurance can help pay for rehab, answer your questions about recovery, and direct you to an effective rehab program where you can enroll in treatment. If you know you have a substance abuse problem the best time to get help is now, so pick up the phone and call.


[1] 5 Ways Rehab Will Change Your Life by John Lloyd

[2] Building a Personal Support Network Through Addiction Treatment by Jean Rothman

[3] After Rehab: 5 Ways for Addicts to Cope and Avoid Relapse by Seth Meyers