Five steps towards freedom from addiction
Addiction can test the strongest family. It can cost friendships. It can strain patience. It can drain finances. It can bring irretrievable loss. But freedom from addiction is possible
Addiction can be devastating. Recent scientific advances show there are a number of effective treatments for addiction, including self-help strategies, psychotherapy, medications, and rehabilitation programs.
Researchers say one has the greatest chance of success if he adopts the following five steps which will strengthen his will power and smooth his pathway.
- Set a quit date.It might be helpful to choose a meaningful date like a special event, birthday, or anniversary.
- Change your environment. Remove any reminders of your addiction from your home and workplace. For example, separate from those who would encourage you to be involved with the object of your addiction (drug, alcohol, or behaviour). If you are trying to quit drinking, get rid of any alcohol, bottle openers, wine glasses, and corkscrews. If you’re trying to quit gambling, remove any playing cards, scratch tickets, or poker chips. Also, don’t let other people use or bring reminders of the addiction-related substance or behaviour into your home.
- Distract yourself. Instead of giving in to an urge to use, come up with alternative activities, such as going for a walk or calling a friend or family member to talk, so that you keep busy until the urge passes. Be prepared to deal with things that trigger your cravings, such as being in an environment where others are using.
- Review your past attempts at quitting. Think about what worked and what did not. Consider what might have contributed to relapse and make changes accordingly.
- Create a support network. Talk to your family and friends and ask for their encouragement and support. Let them know you are quitting. If they use your object of addiction, ask them not to do so in front of you. If you buy drugs, you should consider telling your dealer that you are quitting; ask your dealer not to call you and not to sell you drugs anymore. Also, you might want to consider talking to your health care provider about the method of quitting that is best for you. There may be medications that can ease the process for you and increase your chances of success. Courtesy: Harvard Medical School.