Getting clean is one of the most difficult tasks you’ll ever face in your life. It’s also one of the most rewarding. If you’re ready to kick the habit and start fresh, here are just nine tips for starting the road to recovery.
1. Know Thyself
What are your addictions? How much do you use in the average week? How has it affected your relationships with friends and family? Admitting that you have a problem is the first step towards sobriety, and since these are all questions you’ll eventually tackle in therapy anyway, answering them will give you a head start.
2. Choose Your Rehab Carefully
Don’t close your eyes and jab your finger at a list. Take your time, do your research and decide what matters to you in a rehab facility. For example, if you distrust modern medicine, you might prefer holistic recovery centers over other kinds. If you’re uncomfortable at the thought of sharing your story with men, you might like a female-friendly organization.
3. Know Your Needs
Severe addictions might require a detox or live-in commitment at the rehab. Milder addictions might be treatable in an outpatient program with weekly activities and support groups. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to fighting your drug or alcohol use; everyone will have different needs, values and preferences, so figure out what works best for you and go from there.
4. Identify Negative Influences
Most people struggling with addiction have at least a few devils whispering in their ears. They might come in the form of dealers, lenders or other addicts, but they’re the ones encouraging you to stay on self-destructive paths and remain addicted. You’ll need to cut them out of your life if you want your recovery to be successful. Avoid their hangouts; change your route to work; move out of your current city entirely.
5. Find Coping Mechanisms
Something that surprises many former addicts is the sheer amount of time they spent finding, affording, obtaining and using drugs. Once these tasks are gone, you’ll be left with nothing to do and a lot of daylight to burn. One solution is to take up new hobbies and interests to fill up the time that you formerly spent on bad habits. You might join a photography class, for example, or you might chronicle your struggles with addiction in a recovery journal. Whatever gets you through the day without using is something that should be encouraged.
6. Set Goals
Getting clean is an admirable goal, but it’s also a lofty one. You might be better served by breaking your sobriety in smaller, more achievable chunks. Here are a few examples:
– Staying clean for an entire day, week or month
– Opening up about something difficult in therapy
– Writing in your recovery journal every day
If you can achieve these minor goals, you’ll be able to leverage your success into your bigger goal. Don’t be afraid to take baby steps. Every step matters when it comes to getting clean.
7. Ask for Support
Committing yourself to sobriety is a big deal. It’s okay to ask your loved ones for help. In fact, studies have shown that addicts with support systems are the most likely to turn into ex-addicts; since they have people to lean on during times of stress, despair, frustration and fatigue, they’re better-equipped to resist the siren song of relapse. People who are holding themselves accountable to others are also more likely to stay on the straight and narrow.
8. Make Changes When Necessary
If a certain rehab isn’t working for you, it’s okay to try another one. If a certain recovery technique is leaving you cold, it’s okay to request a new one. Every person is different, and what helps your sobriety might not be the same as what helps your neighbor’s sobriety.
9. Stay Motivated
What prompted you to get clean? Why are you struggling every day? What’s inspiring you to work for a better life? It doesn’t matter if your answer is something as grand as “my kids” or as simple as “I’m tired of being broke.” All reasons are valid when it comes to kicking your drug and alcohol habits, so hold onto your motivation with both hands and use it to get through the difficult times.
Whether you’re fighting a mothers battle with addiction or a young person’s struggle to change their future, these are just nine tips for getting clean and staying that way. Good luck.
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net