Not too long ago, Adam lost his best friend to addiction. He wants to do everything he can to help others and has educated himself on how best to help a loved one struggling with addiction.
In the post below he presents tips and advice based on what he’s learned. Please help us spread this important message. Thank you, Adam.
August 1st, 2018, by Adam Cook
A Beginner’s Guide
to Overcoming Substance Abuse
Substance abuse and addiction affect millions of people over the course of their lifetimes. Many can overcome these issues by practicing healthy habits, reaching out to friends and family, or simply avoiding temptation. Others may have to seek professional help or inpatient treatment. The following article outlines some beginner tips and strategies for overcoming substance abuse.
The most obvious answer to substance abuse may be to simply avoid the problematic substances. Removing yourself from people and situations associated with substance use will support your recovery. Depending on the nature of your addiction and the situations which trigger use, you may want to spend less time with friends who use, avoid bars and clubs where alcohol is served, and carefully consider the use of addictive prescription drugs. Supportive, substance-free communities such as sober living homes might also be an option to consider. A sober living environment with like-minded individuals who are also on the journey to recovery may help provide the structure needed to maintain sobriety.
Work on Underlying Issues
Addiction and substance abuse problems often co-occur with other mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. Treating substance abuse without addressing the underlying issues which are contributing to it may be difficult. For many, it is best to obtain mental health and addiction treatment from the same treatment provider.
Learn Healthy Habits
Building a healthy, drug-free life is the key to successful substance abuse recovery. Learning healthy ways to deal with triggers for substance abuse – such as stress, ill health, or negative life events – will make your sobriety more resilient to life’s inevitable rocky patches. Exercise and eating well are good places to start. Not only do these make your body feel healthy, the act of cooking or exercising may provide a welcome distraction from substance cravings, provide a new hobby, and allow you to build new friendships based on shared interests.
A holistic approach is an emerging trend in substance abuse treatment. In these programs, alternative treatments, such as yoga, meditation, and massage, supplement traditional therapies, such as detox and counselling. Some find that these therapies make them more satisfied with the treatment program and thus, more likely to stay in treatment.
Social support goes hand in hand with the aforementioned strategies to building a healthy, sober life. Having a supportive social network will make successful recovery much more likely and decrease the chances of relapse. Reaching out to friends and family for support in your recovery is a great step. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or numerous local specialized support groups are also great options.
Those with substance abuse issues may not readily reach out for help. For those with a friend or family member struggling with substance abuse, reaching out with information, support, or simply a sympathetic ear might make seeking treatment easier for your loved one.
Inpatient rehab is another highly effective way to get the structure and support needed to treat addiction. There are a wide range of inpatient treatment options available, depending on financial means, type of treatment, and location. There are also programs available which cater to specific groups, such as professionals and executives or certain religious groups. Co-ed or single gender programs are also available. Inpatient rehab is effective for many people and may be the best option, depending on your specific circumstances.
There is no easy solution to substance abuse – it is a complex issue which is often further complicated by other mental health disorders. However, seeking professional help, talking to loved ones, and supporting recovery with healthy habits can help those struggling with substance abuse to live healthy, sober lives.