The beginning of a new year often encourages people to create a list of resolutions. Inevitably many people end up abandoning those resolutions because they feel that they cannot commit to such big changes. One of the toughest resolutions of all— getting sober from a substance addiction— might seem impossible, but it doesn't have to be. You may just need some help getting started. If overcoming addiction seems like an insurmountable challenge, focus on taking one small step at a time. Here are some resolutions to add to your list for 2018:
If you're not convinced your addiction is severe enough to merit intervention, get informed. Learn more about your substance of choice, whether it’s alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal substances. Research the signs and symptoms of addiction and assess yourself without bias. Find out what prolonged substance abuse can do to your body.
According to drugabuse.com, the most common short-term effects of substance abuse include high blood pressure, dizziness, mood changes and paranoia. In the long-run, continued substance abuse can lead to heart attack, respiratory failure, coma, and stroke. The risks of experiencing these more severe side effects increase the longer substance abuse continues. This is because tolerance makes your body crave higher amounts of the substance to achieve the same effect as what smaller doses used to.
Change your habits
Overcoming addiction isn't something that can be accomplished overnight. It takes dedication to build a new lifestyle and start new, healthier habits. One of the biggest challenges of breaking through the cycle of addiction is trying not to fall back into old habits by doing things like hanging out with old friends, going to places where you use, or otherwise being in a situation that encourages you to use. These are "triggers" that increase your chance of relapsing. Old habits die hard.
Still, you can avoid certain relapse triggers by changing your habits. Starting a new hobby, making new friends, or even moving somewhere new are all possible options for someone who is serious about fighting addiction and getting sober. You must get rid of any reminders of past substance abuse if you want to move forward. If you decide to receive treatment at a rehabilitation center, consider going somewhere far outside your comfort zone. Doing this will help keep you out of temptation's reach.
In addition to avoiding triggers and seeking treatment, making healthier choices about exercise and nutrition is one of the best and most important changes you can make. In fact, being active can boost positive mood endorphins, helping you naturally feel happier without the need for substances. The healthier you are, both physically and mentally, the less likely you are to fall back into addictive habits.
Improve your self-image
Letting go of addiction might feel like you're letting go of a part of yourself. If you've had a substance abuse problem for a long time, you might feel as though you don’t know how to function, or even who you are, without your addiction. Even worse, you might be struggling with the false idea that you're not worth saving. However, these feelings are all based on the poor self-image that your addiction has made you develop.
Poor self-image is one of the biggest psychological impacts that addiction can have on you. In fact, a study published by the National Institutes of Health followed 100 individuals who had no record of addiction and 200 who did. Based on their observations, the researchers concluded that the people who were involved in addiction, theft, and prostitution had lower senses of self-esteem as compared to the people who were not.
Of the many consequences of addiction, this is one of the few that you actually have control over. You are the only person who can control how you feel about yourself, so make improving your self-image part of your resolution.
Recognize that you need professional help
Changing your habits, your lifestyle and your attitude isn’t always enough to get sober. If you’re still struggling to overcome your addiction or experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s time to seek professional help. Treatment centers everywhere have seasoned experts who will help you break the cycle of addiction with personalized treatment plans and time-tested recovery programs.
At The Treatment Center of The Palm Beaches, we understand how difficult it is to overcome addiction alone, so let us help you keep your resolution to get sober for 2018. Contact us today for more information about our personalized treatment options and to learn more about the kind of recovery programs that would be right for you.