Over 20 million Americans over 12 years old are affected by substance use disorder. And many more are probably on their way down the slippery slope of addiction.
You might’ve once turned to alcohol and substances to relax and unwind. However, you find that you can’t live without them nowadays. And it dawns on you: you have a substance abuse issue.
While it can be a challenging road to recovery, it’s not impossible. Here are seven effective tactics you can use to deal with substance abuse.
1. Make Sure You Have a Good Support System
Getting sober on your own makes things exponentially harder. So the experts at Olympus Recovery suggest surrounding yourself with positive influences. It’ll make it easier to implement other things on this list.
Make sure these are family and friends who fully support your sobriety. These people should encourage healthy habits and practice them alongside you.
You may not want to do this, but you need to cut ties with people who actively abuse substances. They’ll likely urge you to keep using with them, which will greatly hinder your progress.
Even if they promise they won’t, they probably won’t keep their word. So it’s best to stay away from these people, especially in the early stages of recovery.
2. Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
If you treat your body like a temple, then you’ll think twice about ruining it with alcohol and drugs. It may be slow goings at first, but after you’ve made healthy lifestyle changes, you’ll see a noticeable difference in how you look and feel. You’ll feel proud of how far you’ve come.
In addition, these changes can help decrease withdrawal symptoms. Things you can try include:
- Eating a healthier, well-balanced diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Exercising regularly
These are all things that’ll help with both your physical and mental health. As a result, it’ll be less tempting to relapse.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment. It’s making the conscious effort to slow down and take things one at a time. It’s a grounding exercise that allows you to focus on the moment and resist cravings.
Many people practice mindfulness by meditating; if that’s not something you’re interested in though, that’s ok. You can also just close your eyes and ground yourself whenever you feel driven to use. There are breathing exercises that facilitate successful mindfulness sessions, so give these a try too.
One way to combine healthy lifestyle changes with mindfulness is to take up yoga. Not only can you improve your physical fitness, but also your mental health.
4. Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms
You might think that you use substances to stave off boredom. But the reality is, they’re a type of self-medication for people who want to run away from difficult things. Often, this is unresolved trauma they don’t want to deal with.
It’s easy to escape with alcohol and drugs when you feel stressed or emotional. However, it’s terrible for you in the long run.
Try to find something healthier you can do when you’re struggling. For example, you can exercise, meditate, or do a hobby. Self-care activities are great too, such as getting a massage, taking a bath, having a cup of tea, or painting your nails.
5. Join a Support Group
Again, you shouldn’t have to walk the road to sobriety alone. What if you can’t find a good support network though? Not all of us are blessed with positive people in our lives, and even if we are, they might not understand what we’re going through.
Regardless of who you have in your life, it’s never a bad idea to join a support group. Here, you’ll find people who are going through the same things you are. In these safe and supportive environments, you can talk to one another and provide words of encouragement, especially when you’re struggling.
There’s a good chance that you’ll make lasting friendships through these groups. As a result, you’ll have some excellent people to hang out with. You can help one another stay on track by being there for them when they have cravings.
6. Seek Professional Help
If your substance abuse issue is serious, then the above may only be bandaids on a bigger problem.
As we’ve said earlier, substance abuse can arise from trauma, as well as other mental health issues. This means it’s important to seek professional help, as these experts can assist with healthy and effective treatments. Seeing licensed therapists and counselors is a start.
You can also go to a rehabilitation center. You’ll be in a structured environment with access to the finest medical staff, therapists, and counselors. Not only will you receive individual therapy, but also group sessions. Many facilities have alternative and holistic therapies too, like art and music therapy.
If you can’t afford inpatient therapy because you don’t have the time and/or money, there are outpatient options available.
7. Have a Good Aftercare Plan
Getting sober is a fantastic achievement that you should be proud of! However, your work’s not over just yet.
You need to have a clear plan of how you’re going to stay sober on a long-term basis. Although everyone’s aftercare plans vary, they can include:
- Support group meetings
- Healthy activities
You should also plan for relapses; they’re completely normal, so don’t beat yourself up if they happen. Accept that you’re human, dust yourself off, and look ahead to the many good days ahead of you.
Tackle Substance Abuse Effectively
Realizing that you have a substance abuse issue is never fun. You’re so used to how things are, you don’t want them to change. But if you keep going down this path, it won’t be a nice one.
Getting into recovery and staying sober can be a tough journey though. However, with the right support system, mindset, and professional help, you’ll be on the right track in no time. It won’t be easy, but you’ll come out much healthier and happier.
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