How to Recover from Addiction
Fighting addiction is perhaps the hardest battle someone can ever face. No one wants to be addicted to any substance that is affecting their life and making it difficult to contribute fully to society.
Ways to beat addiction
There are many ways to beat addiction, not only the well known 12 Step Programme. In this article we are going to look at a few key areas that an addict can focus on to help overcome their addictions.
- Make a list of changes: Making a list of changes that the addict wants to make in their lives helps to show them the better future in store for them when they beat their addiction. This list can be kept somewhere where the addict can see it and read it daily. To beat an addiction will take will power, motivation and time. This list will help serve as motivation to the future life the addict wants for themselves.
- Pinpoint triggers that set off your addictive behaviour: More often than not, an addictive behaviour is set off by a trigger or sometimes multiple triggers that will send the addict on a destructive behavioural path.These triggers can be places or even individuals who when encountered make the addict want to give themselves up to their addiction. For example, an addict struggling with alcohol dependency might not be able to withstand the temptation of alcohol when they go to a restaurant for a meal.These triggers should be avoided at all costs especially at the beginning of the addict’s recovery period.
- Involve a Professional: Getting professional help can go a long way in helping an addict overcome their addiction. A professional has the knowledge, training, expertise and experience to help an addict out practically, emotionally and mentally. Professionals with knowledge of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, motivational interviewing or Gestalt techniques can help an addict to beat their addiction.
Although only an addict can ultimately make the positive change in their life, support from family and friends can make a massive difference in overcoming an addiction. An addict will have times where they face intense cravings and want to go back to harmful behaviours. Having people they know they can talk to and trust can provide the support they need during these times.
A support network of 5 people who are available at any time and who regularly check in with the addict can help immensely.
- Exercise: Exercise can become an important weapon in an addicts fight against addiction. It can even be the activity they choose to focus on to help replace their addiction itself.Exercise helps to keep our bodies healthy and boosts energy levels. It can also help in fighting off the cravings and temptations an addict might be drawn back into by their addiction. Exercise also helps to improve our moods and tolerance to stress. Studies have shown that exercise in fact does help control an addicts stress related cravings.
Cravings will happen. There are methods to help an addict cope with them however.
- Try finding something else to focus on when experiencing cravings. A hobby is a perfect example. Focussing on something else can help to make cravings ease off and disappear.
- Rely on your support group or certified professional. An addict can speak with them specifically about when and how cravings occur. Often advice and help from others can go a long way to help to beat an addiction.
- Urge surfing. Trying to overcome a craving by suppressing it often doesn’t work. Urge surfing is a technique where the addict acknowledges the urge and focuses on it (staying on the crest of the wave), until it passes. This is a very effective technique to overcome cravings.
- Remember the negative aspects of the addiction. Often while experiencing a craving, addicts will only remember the euphoric feelings from their addiction and never the negative consequences. Just by remembering these negative consequences of their addiction can help overcome a craving. Cravings do not often last for more than 30 minutes at a time.
- Improved diet. This is an important factor of beating an addiction that is often overlooked. Most addicts do not care at all about what they eat. Their diet consists of junk food (containing saturated fats), refined sugar, plenty of caffeine and other unhealthy choices. This along with their substance abuse leads the body short in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Sugar is a particular concern, as excessive consumption leads to inflammation and it reduces dopamine signalling which can stimulate drug addiction.A recovering addict’s diet should focus on an eating plan that should be split along the following ratios; 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. Their diet should include lamb, chicken and beef as well as vegetables, legumes and nuts.
- Supplements As mentioned early, addicts often are lacking in various vitamins, minerals and nutrients for their bodies. This can lead to irritability, anger issues and increased mood swings. Supplements can help in these situations. Let’s look at a few that can be considered.
- Multivitamins can boost vitamin levels in the system.
- Omega 3 fatty acids can help with mood fluctuations and help to stimulate the growth of brain cells.
- Vitamin B helps to improve mood, reduces anxiety and cravings and leads to increased energy.
- Vitamin C. Addiction can cause a severe lack of vitamin C in the body which will need to be replaced to help the body achieve and maintain biochemical balance.
- Rhodiola. This is a herbal medicine that helps to reduce anxiety, depression and tiredness. It also helps to improve serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, essential for recovering addicts.
Although overcoming an addiction is never easy it can be done!