Overcoming Addictions

When it comes to understanding addiction and how to overcome it, many people have trouble separating myth from fact.  The more you learn about the subject of addiction, the better understanding you will have of this horrific disease.  If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol or drug abuse, understanding the facts is a good first step in getting the help that is needed.

Myth: A person chooses to become an addict

Fact: Addiction is a disease

In the early stages of an addiction, it is the personal choice of the user to go down that road.  However, it does not take long before their brain chemistry is altered, and then the personal choice becomes an addiction. It becomes more difficult to stop using and the person will develop more tolerance to the drugs and alcohol...which will lead to more use...and the never ending cycle continues. The brain will become foggy over time and the person will have difficulty making good decisions.

Myth: If you have an addiction you are a bad person

Fact: Because addiction is a disease, it affects good people

While it is true that people suffering from an alcohol or drug addiction will make poor choices and exhibit bad behavior, that alone does not make them a bad person.  Many good people fall into the abyss of addiction and although society sometimes will label them as “bad,” because addiction is a disease that changes the chemistry in the brain, that doesn’t make it so.  Becoming sober and clean needs to be a top priority for anyone suffering from an addiction.

 Myth: If I have a job and a family, I cannot have an addiction

Fact: If you hide your addiction, that does not mean it does not exist

Some people with a drug or alcohol abuse problem will be able to hold down a job and even hide their addiction from their friends and family members.  Before long, however, the addiction will get out of control and there will be no more “hiding it.” Many addicts are creative when it comes to hiding their problem, but sooner or later their poor choices will reveal their true condition.

Myth: Once you are an addict, you can never escape from the addiction

Fact: Recovery is possible for everyone

Society judges people with addictions to the point where many believe they will never overcome their problem of drug or alcohol abuse.  But there is no truth to that belief, because millions of people have successfully overcome their addictions and have gone on to lead happy lives in recovery.  Once an addict begins to get professional help, they are on a journey to become a new person. They can leave their old life in the past where it belongs, and look forward to building a new one.

Becoming sober and making a successful journey through addictions recovery is no easy task.  But once you have made the decision to find a new life and kick the old one to the curb, you must do your part to make your recovery last.  Statistics show that relapse rates for recovering addicts are high, but you do not have to succumb to the temptations of your addiction. You can begin and new life that is filled with hope, opportunities and meaning. The key is to remain positive at all times, which is not as easy as it sounds.

Here are some tips to help you stay positive on your recovery journey:

  • Be happy...and stay happy - who doesn’t want to be happy?  This should be a no brainer, but in reality, people in recovery are more apt to be sad and depressed because of their situation.  Medical experts will tell you that the simple task of declaring your happiness will go a long way in helping you have a successful recovery process.  Everyone has things that make them happy. Whether it is music, a good book, having lunch with friends, etc., make happiness a priority each and every day.
  • Learn to live in the moment - this is a challenging task for anyone these days.  It seems as if it is easier to worry about things that have happened in the past, or worry about things that might happen in the future.  When you learn to appreciate the life that is surrounding you, and to live in the “here and now,” you will find yourself becoming at peace and experiencing joy like never before.  Some people even schedule a ten or twenty minute time slot of practicing mindfulness to help them get through the challenges of the day. Whether you choose to pray, sit and think about the beauty of the day or just use that time to clear your mind, it will help you to stay positive.
  • Accept the fact that not every day will be perfect - there will be some days that all you want to do is crawl into a hole and never come out.  Or, worse yet, you may feel as if having a drink or using illegal drugs is the only way to cope. But, once you accept that life is not perfect for anyone, especially people who are recovering from addictions, you will find the strength and the courage to keep moving forward.