Drug addiction can start in many ways. Some people begin experimenting with drugs for recreational reasons and soon find themselves addicted. Others may take prescription pills, only to find themselves abusing their medication over time. Everyone's addiction story is different, but the road to recovery will likely have similar elements. These are four things to know about drug addiction recovery:
1. Small steps are valid and important.
Addiction is a chronic illness. Over time, it changes a person's brain, making it more difficult to derive pleasure from things besides a person's drug of choice. Overcoming addiction can be challenging, which is why it's important to celebrate small steps. Deciding to get help and reaching out to an addiction counselor are two small steps on the road to recovery. Even calling a drug addiction hotline is a positive step in the right direction.
2. Overcoming shame is an important part of the process.
Many people who struggle with addiction feel shame for their condition, especially if their addictions have caused them to lie to loved ones, lose jobs, and otherwise lose control of their lives. However, shame is actually detrimental to the healing process. Shame encourages people to be secretive, which can make it difficult to get the help they need. Drug addiction counseling can help you learn to view yourself with compassion, even when you struggle. This type of counseling will challenge you to overcome your drug use without judging yourself in the process.
3. A setback isn't a failure.
Many individuals who are recovering from drug addiction will experience setbacks in the form of relapses. It's important to realize that a setback isn't the same thing as failure. Failure only occurs when you give up and stop trying. Addiction counselors can encourage you to give up black and white thinking. If you relapse and use drugs again, it's important to realize that change is still possible. Instead of berating yourself for your mistake, you can simply rededicate yourself to sobriety and vow to do better moving forward.
4. Distancing yourself from triggering people and situations can help your recovery.
Finally, when overcoming drug addiction, it may be necessary to distance yourself from people, places, and situations that trigger your cravings. Some people are negative influences, especially if they are still drug users themselves. It may be difficult to separate yourself from your old lifestyle, but doing so can give you the best chance of recovery.
Contact your doctor to learn more about drug addiction recovery.