Most people suffer from addiction to illicit substances to find relief from their pain. In fact, the stories of drug abusers are nearly as tragic as the disease they have acquired. Now we’re hearing about kids in middle school buying and selling pain pills. Kids are overdosing on prescription pain medicines, which are often derivatives of the opiate drug heroin.
Drug treatment centers are reporting shortages of manpower. Federal and state governments are at a loss about what can be done, if anything. Importantly, some parents are apprehensive about sending their kids to school.
This article focuses on the individual response. That is, we offer suggestions on what people can do if they or someone they love is suffering from drug addiction or substance abuse.
Here are ten ways that you can let go of substance abuse and take control of your life:
1. Don’t blame yourself
It can be difficult not to beat yourself up over some poor choices. But here’s the thing: erratic emotions and thoughts are powerful things. Substance abuse typically arises when your ability to cope is superseded by negative thoughts and emotions. The truth is, addiction is something that could happen to anyone. You are not alone.
2. Accept your situation
You are where you are – and this is something you must accept. The only alternative is denial – a word that isn’t positively correlated with substance abuse. You don’t have to be happy with your current situation to accept it. From that point, you can prepare to make changes.
3. Know your life values
Here are a few questions to consider: what means the most to you? What do you want to accomplish? Who loves you? Whom do you love? Values are the foundation of life, therefore, you must take stock of your values if you want to take control of addictions.
4. Prioritize self-care
Taking good care of your body and mind can go a long way towards recovery. This means maintaining a healthy weight, getting occasional exercise, having regular checkups, quitting smoking, and cutting back or abstaining from alcohol.
5. Manage your emotions
This may be the hardest item on the list. Emotional and negative responses to people, places, and things are normal. That said, you still need to manage them. Wild emotions are likely partially to blame for your situation to begin with. Using your mind to focus and concentrate on something else may be the best antidote.
6. Clarify what you want to change
If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you’re going. This is true to every area of life, including drug abuse. If you’ve accepted the situation and decided to change your course, good for you! Now it’s time to conceptualize and solidify ideas on how you’re going to do that.
7. Make a plan
If necessary, get help. Depending on where you are internally, you may choose to enlist the help of someone else in coming up with a workable strategy. If you choose to seek help, numerous resources are available at your disposal.
8. Get some support
Substance abuse almost always requires guidance from someone else. The reason is that addiction likely involves a variety of factors. Your condition may further complicate issues, especially if you try to go it alone. Seek out the support that you need from people who love and care about you.
9. Get a handle on guilt
Regret is entirely useless. What is more, it is a big reason why people either don’t seek the treatment that they need or relapse afterward. Guilt is similar to forgiveness: you don’t have to like the specifics, but you must let go in order to make progress.
10. Consider rehabilitation
Recovering from substance abuse is often a long and arduous process. People choose rehabilitation (“rehab”) because the setting should provide a supportive environment conducive to recovery. There are two main forms of substance abuse treatment: inpatient and outpatient. The former involves in-house treatment at a facility, whereas the latter involves regular consultations and check-ups from medical staff.
“It’s difficult to believe in yourself because the idea of self is an artificial construction. You are, in fact, part of the glorious oneness of the universe. Everything beautiful in the world is within you.”
This inspiring quote is courtesy of Russell Brand, the brilliant English actor and comedian. Brand suffered from various addictions, which would nearly take his life. Substance abuse is nothing you should be ashamed of. Just as with a mental health condition, it does not indicate weakness or failure. It is a disease – and it can be conquered.
For more information on substance abuse treatment, please visit www.recovery.org or call 1-888-991-3704.