You’ve decided this is the year – you’re going to recover from addiction and this time it’s for good. You’ve had enough of the vicious cycle. You want to improve your health and transform your life. You’ve made your firm resolution. You’re going to stay away from alcohol or drugs. Or you’re going to quit gambling, gaming or any other addictive process that’s affecting your life.
But it’s still January. Your initial resolution to recover from addiction doesn’t feel quite as strong as it was on New Year’s Day. You tell yourself you need more willpower. You try to distract yourself. You go for a run. You throw yourself into work, or you keep busy at home. It’s difficult to relax or spend time by yourself because that’s when addictive cravings trouble you most. You’re determined to recover from addiction, but it’s scary sometimes – to think about life in recovery. How will you manage? Who will you be?
To recover from addiction, there’s only one resolution you need to make this year. It’s the solution for the vast majority of addicts, who want to overcome their addictive patterns. If you commit 100% to this resolution, you cannot fail in your quest to recover from addiction.
How to Recover from Addiction – Facing the Real Problem
Would it surprise you to learn that alcohol or drugs aren’t your biggest problem? Or if you gamble or game, that’s not the main hurdle you face? If you’re addicted to sex or work or spending money on credit cards, that process isn’t your number one challenge.
Yes, your addiction is harming your health, relationships, finances or life opportunities – but it’s not what locks you into cycles of destructive behaviour. Even when you’re physically addicted to alcohol or drugs, which requires a medically managed detox to withdraw safely – putting down your harmful habit isn’t the real key to recover from addiction permanently.
The real problem is what drives your addiction. It’s whatever you’ve tried to escape from with your addiction. It’s the feelings you have when you’re not drinking or using. It’s what you think about yourself when you’re not gambling or gaming. It’s your physical or mental pain when you’re not working or spending addictively. It’s the traumatic memories that resurface when you’re not bingeing or restricting your food.
When you take away your addiction, you have to face all of these things to recover. This is why many addicts find they can stop for a few days or weeks, but they can’t stay stopped.
This is where our number one resolution comes in to help you recover from addiction – it’s the habit you need to form now, to achieve the change you want.
Ask for Help to Recover from Addiction
Asking for help – this is the only resolution you need to recover from addiction. It sounds simple and in many ways it is – but there are five important principles around asking for help, which will give you the greatest chance of success.
1. Ask for help from people who support your recovery
This is the number one principle when you ask for help. Seek out people who will support you to recover from addiction. Stay away from people who can’t or won’t help you.
So you could ask for help from friends and family who want you to recover from addiction. You find them supportive and understanding. You feel encouraged by them to get better. You feel good when you’re around them.
However, it usually doesn’t include people who are still actively engaged in an addiction. It’s unlikely that friends or relatives in active addiction will be able to support you in your recovery. In some cases, they may even try to talk you out of your recovery goals. However much you’d like them to be involved, it’s better to ask for help elsewhere. It doesn’t mean you need to cut them out of your life – you choose not to go for them for support with your addiction recovery.
It’s also a good idea to ask for help from addiction treatment professionals. Addiction Helper can put you in touch with highly skilled addictions counsellors, as well as the best detox and rehab providers with excellent treatment outcomes. In addiction treatment, you will learn new strategies to deal with your cravings to use, including ways to process your emotions and past traumas.
There are also many addiction support groups in the community and online, where you can connect you with people who also want to recover from addiction.
2. Ask for help every time you need it
So, you’ve chosen the right people to help you recover from addiction. What next?
The second important principle around asking for help is this – there is no limit on the amount of help you can ask for, especially when you’re committed to change.
If you choose addiction counselling or an addiction treatment programme, one of the skills you’ll develop is how to recognise when you need help. You’ll be able to respond quickly by connecting with helpful peers or skilled professionals, who can assist you in difficult times.
By becoming part of a recovery community, you can also help other people, which will strengthen your own addiction recovery.
3. Build a wide support network
As you recover from addiction, it’s useful to get to know a variety of people, rather than relying on one or two friends for help. Your support network can include friends and family, recovery peers, addiction treatment professionals, community groups, your GP, helplines or online forums.
There are three practical reasons for building a wide support network:
• Firstly, people aren’t always available. You might call a recovery peer when you’re having a difficult time, but they can’t answer the phone because they’re at work or on holiday. With a wide support network, you can try someone else instead.
• Secondly, people have different experiences and knowledge. It’s better to book an appointment with your GP for a medical problem, for example, than ask a friend who has no understanding of your health condition.
• Thirdly, you can achieve resolution of bigger dilemmas through consensus. If there’s a really big question you face as you recover from addiction, it can be helpful to talk to a few people about it. Ask for their feedback or personal experiences on the subject. After speaking to several people, this might help you decide the right way forward.
4. Be prepared to do things you don’t want to do
If you ask for help enough, people will begin to make suggestions about what to do. Sometimes you might not want to follow their advice, although deep down you know it will help your addiction recovery.
For example, your brother suggests you take a break from work because you’ve been under a lot of stress. You’ve told him that you almost had a drink to cope with the pressure. But you don’t want to take time off work because you’re involved in a big project. However, you know that it will help to have a couple of days’ rest and connect with some peers in recovery from addiction.
5. You don’t have to follow people’s advice
As you recover from addiction, it’s empowering to take ownership for your decisions. Ask for help whenever you need it from your support network. Then make your choices about how to proceed.
If you don’t want any advice when you ask someone for help, then see if your friend is happy to listen without giving any opinions. Sometimes just talking through a problem can help you find a way through.
For current and confidential advice about treatment to recover from addiction, please contact Addiction Helper. Our advisors are available to help 24 hours a day.