There are some tasks we can write on a to-do list and check off for good.
- Fix that leaky pipe.
- Turn in some paperwork.
Grab milk on the way home.
Others require daily upkeep. (I’m looking at you, dishes).
Overcoming addiction is no different. Working to rid your life of drugs or alcohol means committing yourself to the task day after day.
And sure, sometimes I leave pots and pans in the sink overnight. You know, to soak. And sometimes you’ll slip up or feel too tired to toe line or maybe you’re just faced with an incredibly difficult day.
But the dishes—and your history with addiction—will be there tomorrow, giving us all another opportunity to set things right.
Think of Overcoming Addiction Like Managing A Chronic Disease
In other words, it’s doable but won’t be done overnight.
Consider a person with tType 1 diabetes. When he first receives a diagnosis, there’s a lot of work to be done. He may undergo tests, sit down with the doctor to better understand the disease, educate himself on the way forward and make immediate changes to his life.
He will learn to check his blood sugar levels and administer his own insulin shots. He’ll adjust his diet and exercise routine. He may need help caring for wounds or revitalizing damaged skin. Those first few months will likely feel scary and daunting.
Eventually, though, these changes will become second nature. He’ll simply be engaging in a new, healthier lifestyle.
And so will you. Here’s how:
- In overcoming addiction, you must first understand your “why” and your “what.”
Psychology Today reports that many people who finally break free from drug or alcohol addiction do so because they’re ready to engage with the people around them in a way that feels normal and real.
You might like to spend more quality time with your loved ones. Perhaps you’re hoping to hold down a job, make that big career move or branch out on your own. Or maybe you dread the outcome if things keep going like they’re going.
Whatever the reason, it helps to pinpoint your why for getting and staying sober.
Combine your “why” with a good, strong “what”— your desire to overcome addiction—and you’ll be well on your way.
It’s no wonder, really, that researchers at The University of New Mexico found the best therapies usually involve both a patient’s willingness and a counselor or doctor’s knowledge. It’s the ol’ one-two-punch approach.
- Focus on key lifestyle changes you can make now and maintain forever.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is commit to a clean sink every night before bed. Do you know what I mean?
We set some absolutes that become habits, and, soon enough, we don’t have to debate the decision in our minds; we just find ourselves listening to an audiobook and scrubbing a pan.
Or maybe, if we’re hoping to make addiction a thing of the distant past, we do things like go for a daily jog, take five deep breaths whenever we feel stressed and make cultivating positive relationships a top priority.
Because here’s the thing: as Health Direct points out, we’ll best resist the urge to use again if we’ve established healthy coping mechanisms, identified our triggers and how we’ll respond when they arrive, and created a drug-free life we can’t imagine missing out on.
Overcoming addiction for the long haul requires habitual maintenance. And, just like a person diagnosed with diabetes, the maintenance gets easier with time. We promise.
A Couple of Things To Remember on Your Lifelong Journey
No matter where you are on your road to recovery, we want you to keep two things in mind:
Success looks different from one person to the next. That’s okay! Research tells us that overcoming addiction may require multiple attempts. Because life circumstances are diverse and individual needs vary, there is no magic number of recovery attempts to guarantee a substance-free life. What matters is persistence. Your journey doesn’t have to look just like someone else’s; you just have to keep going.
- Sharing your story is a powerful way to help someone else—and to bolster your own resolve. Your experience matters; far from the numbers found in studies and statistics, you are a real person, and there’s nothing that quite compares with that. As you celebrate victories, both big and small, share them with others. You might be surprised by who needs to hear your story. And you might also find yourself encouraged to stay the course even longer.
Overcoming addiction is totally possible. It just takes time and support.
We can help you get on the path to hope and healing. Our recovery specialists are here to help you discover a life outside of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 844.768.1161 to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one.