I really wish that overcoming alcohol addiction and drug abuse was as simple as making the decision to not use them anymore. Sadly, those with addiction problems (as I used to have) face more hurdles than just choosing not to abuse substances: I had to face my own internal struggle, making amends to my family and friends, readjusting to society, and so on. Luckily, I had many people around me who were able to help, as well as various services that helped guide me in the right way to handle every sobriety challenge.
What are some of the issues recovering addicts face, and how do we handle them?
As much as some addicts may think they’re only hurting themselves when they use drugs or are alcoholics, they forget that their families are also hurt along the way. Families deal with so many emotions when they see their child, sibling, parent, or other relative become an addict. Families may become depressed, angry, or even feel guilt as if they somehow are the cause for it.
Coping: The facts are that people will be likely to help you through your recovery. Family and friends will be there to make sure you get the help you need. Sure, some folks may see you differently for a while, but once you overcome your addiction and make amends, your family and friends will be happy to see you healthy.
As you begin to recover, and after you’ve completely recovered, it may take a while for you to trust yourself. I know that it took me a while to be able to make eye contact with myself in the mirror. Luckily, I figured out a few ways to love myself again.
Coping: As with above, family and friends were incredibly supportive of me since they saw how hard I was working to overcome my addiction. They dealt with my B.S. for a while, and they held my hand each step of the way.
One of the biggest fears among those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse and their loved ones is the threat of relapsing. It almost happened to me – I don’t deny that overcoming an addiction is incredibly hard. So much goes into an addiction; drug addictions take of your mind, body, and spirit, and it consumes you completely.
Coping: How do we prevent falling back into our old habits? Sometimes it really is as easy as saying “no,” but just in case, there are a few things you can keep in mind to keep you strong. Staying in therapy definitely helps – trained professionals are there to help you get healthy, and they will always be around to help you. Same goes with your family and friends – they’re there to help you and surround you with love. Keep the mindset that you can do so much without drugs or alcohol in your system: living your dreams, traveling, and trying new things all can be done once you’re sober! And this goes without saying, but just avoid alcohol and drugs! Don’t go to bars, and don’t go to parties where there will be a lot of alcohol flowing around.
Also, since most people began drinking for a certain reason, such as a stressful job or certain people or situations, it’s good to just completely avoid those causes! If it’s a certain job or field of work, then it’s a good idea to consider a career change. What’s that one thing you’ve always wanted to do that you know will make you happy?
Lastly – and this goes for every problem a person may face – remember, you’re not alone. I went through an addiction, and many others before us have as well. We’re human – we may have our weaknesses, but our willpower makes us strong.
I can safely say that now that I’ve kicked the habit, I’m happier now living my dream than when I was under the influence.