Addiction is a pervasive issue that affects millions of people every year. Consequently, recovering from addiction to any substance or behaviour can be one of the hardest challenges any individual has to face.
It can be a tough road to navigate, but with the right steps, strategies and guidance, you can reclaim your life and find your way to a brighter future.
The path to successful recovery begins with understanding addiction. Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory systems.
When someone engages in addictive behaviour, whether drugs or gambling, their brain gets flooded with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good.
Over time, the brain gets used to it and needs even more of that addictive action to feel the same effects. This makes quitting or controlling the behaviour hard–at this point, addiction has developed. There are also changes in the brain that make it even tougher to stop.
Addiction can come in many types, but a few are more common. One is alcoholism, when you drink way too much and often. Then there’s substance abuse, when you use illegal or prescription drugs in a way that’s bad for you. Also, there’s opioid abuse. This one is all about misusing opioids like heroin and morphine.
The signs and symptoms of addiction can vary. Some common signs of addiction include:
- Loss of control: You may feel unable to stop or control the substance use or behaviour.
- Continued use despite negative consequences: You continue to use even though it is causing problems in your personal, social, or professional life.
- Cravings: You experience intense urges or desires to use the substance or engage in addictive behaviour.
- Withdrawal symptoms: You might experience physical and emotional symptoms when you try to quit.
- Tolerance: You often need more significant amounts of the substance or engage in the behaviour more frequently to achieve the same effects.
What is the path to recovery?
The path to recovery from addiction is a common field of study. We believe that recovery from addiction is more than abstaining from the substance or habit. It is also a journey of self-discovery and growth.
The first step in the process is acknowledging the problem and seeking help. This can be a scary and vulnerable moment, but we want you to know it’s also courageous.
After you have taken that bold step, the next thing is to register for treatment. When it comes to addiction treatment, a few different options are available. There are generally two considerations for treatment: inpatient and outpatient.
Inpatient treatment involves staying at a residential facility. Here you’ll receive intensive therapy and support. It can be a great option if you need round-the-clock care and a structured environment.
On the other hand, outpatient treatment allows you to receive treatment while living at home. This flexible option may be suitable for some individuals or those who do not need medically-assisted support.
Support groups are also a massive part of the recovery process. Your journey to recovery is stronger when you have loved ones and peers holding your hand through it. Having a network of people who understand and support you can make all the difference in maintaining long-term sobriety. It can include family, friends, support groups, and healthcare professionals.
There are also registered support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. They provide a supportive community for people like you who are also in recovery. You also get a safe space to share your experiences, receive support, and learn from others who have gone through similar struggles.
Seeking professional help can be a difficult step to take, but it’s an important one. We want you to know that there is no shame in asking for help, and it’s a sign of strength to seek the resources and support you need to overcome addiction.
What are the challenges of recovery?
There are numerous challenges you will likely face in the early stages of recovery. One of the biggest hurdles you might face is withdrawal’s physical and psychological symptoms.
When you stop using a substance or engaging in behaviour you’ve become dependent on, your body may undergo a period of adjustment. Depending on the substance or behaviour you are trying to wean yourself off, withdrawal symptoms can include the following;
- Mood swings
Another challenge you might face in recovery is dealing with cravings and triggers. These cravings can be incredibly intense and can happen anytime, even after months or years of sobriety. Triggers are unexpected reminders of your past experiences with addiction. They may leave you hurt and angry, ultimately leading to a relapse.
Lastly, Addiction is often misunderstood. People with addiction are often stigmatised by society. Sometimes this leads them to feel ashamed and guilty. But, these feelings can prevent you from seeking help, making the journey to recovery even more daunting.
How to maintain sobriety
First, let us remind you that addiction is a disease, and seeking help is a sign of strength. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you need help, and it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
We understand what you’re going through and are ready to support you on your path to recovery. Here are some tested and trusted ways you can maintain your sobriety;
- Build a strong support network: Surround yourself with people who support your decision to maintain sobriety. This could be family, friends, or a support group.
- Practice self-care: Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and practising relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.
- Avoid triggers: Identify your triggers and avoid them as much as possible. This may mean avoiding certain people, places, or situations that can lead to cravings or temptations to use.
- Develop healthy coping skills: Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as talking to a supportive friend, practising mindfulness, or engaging in a creative activity.
- Stay accountable: Stay accountable to yourself and others by tracking your progress, attending meetings or therapy sessions, and being honest about any struggles you may be experiencing.
- Set realistic goals: Set realistic goals for yourself and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.
As you work to maintain your sobriety, remember that your recovery is a process. Some activities are more helpful than others at different times and situations. For example, exercise might be beneficial when you’re feeling anxious or depressed but not so much when you’re angry or frustrated.
Learning new skills like meditation and mindfulness can help us become aware of our emotions without reacting impulsively or compulsively. These practices also help us understand how to tolerate uncomfortable feelings without resorting to drugs or alcohol to avoid them.
Remember, recovery from addiction is a process, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way is okay. What matters most is that you keep moving forward, stay committed to your goals, and never give up on yourself. We are here to help you along this path to your successful recovery. Our trusted methods allow you to overcome addiction and achieve a healthier life.
Luciana, a proud Brazilian, blends her passion for jiu-jitsu with a deep-rooted connection to spirituality and well-being. Her dedication to the martial art reflects not just a physical discipline, but a holistic approach to life, seeking balance in mind, body, and spirit. Whether on the mats or in meditation, Luciana embodies the essence of harmony and inner strength.