Addiction and Changing Your Ways

Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction takes courage and determination. Getting the right help through drug addiction rehab is the best way to begin your journey to a drug-free life. During rehab, your therapist and other addiction specialists help you learn about your addiction and get to the heart of your struggles. Your therapist or counselor will also help you learn coping strategies for drug cravings and how to recognize drug use triggers. All of these tools work together to help you change your life. But changing your life doesn’t happen all at once. Learning to make healthier decisions and change destructive habits to positive ones is an ongoing process. Having a plan and inviting others to help you realize your goals is the first step.

Accepting Your New Life

Addiction and Changing Your Ways

One of the most important parts of recovery is accepting that your life has changed

One of the most important parts of recovery is accepting that your life has changed.[i] The places you used to go and the people you associated with must also change. While in treatment you are not tempted by these people or places because you are living in a highly structured environment. Once treatment has ended and you return home, making the decision to stay away from old friends and frequent places where they might be can be challenging. Replacing old habits with new ones can help. Talk to your family members about your desire to make new friends or re-establish relationships with those that support your recovery. Take someone with you when you go out to help you avoid the temptation of revisiting your old haunts. Attend regular support group meetings and talk about your struggles in this area. Listen to others in the group and learn how they are rebuilding their lives when it comes to old friends and habits. Keep an open mind to new possibilities when it comes to new relationships, and the right decisions in this area will follow.

Work on Family Relationships

One of the biggest challenges for any person beginning a life of recovery is how to respond to wounded family members. The temptation to want things to be right immediately can cause discouragement and frustration. Remember that everyone you love has been somehow changed by your addiction. Rebuilding those relationships will take time. The wounds of addiction run deep and re-establishing trust with those to whom you have lied or taken advantage of in some way requires patience. But patience is often something newly-recovering addicts do not have in abundance. Take your time and think about how the people in your family must feel about you and your recovery. They are likely hopeful that this time things will be different yet cautious because they have been hurt before. Each person will be at a different place on their own journey with regards to your recovery. Respecting that place and rebuilding what’s been lost a little at a time gives you and your loved ones time to heal.

Learn to Dream Again

Addiction robs people of many things. Trust, friendships, love and even your career may seem permanently damaged by the choices you have made. With all the work ahead of you, learning to dream again and have hope for the future may seem like an impossible task. But dreams of a better tomorrow offer important fuel for the recovery journey. Your dreams help you remember where you have been and how far you’ve come. They keep you looking forward, and they help you open your mind up to new possibilities apart from addiction. New career possibilities, improved relationships, the possibility of travel or discovering a new hobby or passion are all things that help you continue making positive changes in your life. Dreams are powerful. Allowing yourself to have them again can help you rebuild your life.

Set Goals

Not only is learning to dream important for those in recovery, setting goals based on those dreams keeps you focused.[ii] Setting goals on a daily basis to help you reach your dreams gives your mind something constructive to do. It’s easy to fall into negative self-talk and thought patterns. Having a plan and following it gives you little time to focus on what is past. Learning from your mistakes is important, but dwelling on them will only cripple you for the journey ahead. You are in recovery. You are allowed to have goals and take positive steps to reach them. Sit down with your family and talk to them about what you’d like to do. Ask for help in setting reasonable goals with those who support your recovery the most. Make yourself accountable to your loved ones and support group members and keep moving forward.

Finding Help for Addiction

Getting treatment for your addiction[iii] and starting on the road to recovery are the first steps in the healing process. Continuing to make positive changes can keep you moving forward toward new dreams and new goals. If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline, it’s available 24 hours a day, to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options. Remember, you are not alone. Call now.


 

[i] John Lloyd. “Five Ways that Rehab Will Change Your Life.” PsychCentral 2013. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/11/05/5-ways-rehab-will-change-your-life/

[ii] Erika Andersen. “Seven Steps to Make Your Life Better.” Forbes, January 2014. Accessed December 10, 2015.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2014/01/24/7-steps-to-make-your-life-better/

[iii] National Institute on Drug Abuse. “DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.” Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction