Addiction Recovery: A Guide to Staying Sober in a Chaotic World
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The journey towards addiction recovery is not a linear path, and ups and downs are inevitable. When you have the right tools, emotional support, and the focused mindset to start this journey, it will be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done. It will change your life in many ways.

‘Addiction recovery is an ongoing process which will keep you focused and safe from substance abuse in the long term,’ say experts at Substance Rehabilitation UK.

Recent Events and the CovId-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has left the world with many scars including an addiction crisis that rose during the pandemic. The first lockdown was issued on March 23, 2020, instructing everyone to “stay at home.” Because of the lockdown, many people were left alone in their homes, completely isolated from the outside world.

Social isolation caused many problems including a 25% increase in anxiety and a 30-60% increase in insomnia. Many studies showed spikes in mental health deterioration during COVID-19.

To help with their anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc, many people turned to drugs to cope. With wave after wave of COVID-19, an end to this difficult time was nowhere in sight. Many lost their loved ones and were unable to get together with their friends and family for a healthy mourning process. During this incredibly tough period, many ended up developing substance use disorders.

However, with lockdown being lifted, and vaccinations becoming readily available, we are now able to access the help we need. Through alcohol rehab and the support of family and friends, recovery is possible.

Why Abstinence Is Key to Long-Term Recovery

Some believe that it’s okay to bring substance use back down to a ‘normal’ amount. But the use of a few substances here and there keeps the door to substance abuse open, therefore, increasing the chances of a relapse. And the only answer to a full recovery is complete sobriety.

Abstaining from drugs and alcohol completely can also help improve their impulse control, think more clearly, and better manage their mental health. Abstinence trains people to avoid addictive drugs entirely, lowering their chances of relapse.

Trying to stay partially sober to recover can have the opposite effect. You may try to make up for avoiding alcohol by upping your use of marijuana, and that may lead to other drugs that may seem harmless at first but may quickly spiral into addiction.

Abstinence portrays a genuine image of long-term sobriety: a substance-free, reasonable, and prosperous life.

Treatment Options

Abstinence alone cannot help you recover from addiction. It has to be used in conjunction with other treatment options and therapies to get the best results. One such therapy is CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). CBT encourages people in recovery from a drug use disorder to make connections between their ideas, feelings, and behaviours, to reach the root causes of their addiction, and to be more aware of how these things affect their recovery.

Another such treatment comes Contingency Management (CM) which is used to treat a range of different addictions. Contingency management is a positive reinforcement-based therapy that rewards you for your beneficial behaviour (i.e., staying sober). This treatment has shown to be especially helpful for substance use and related disorders.

You can explore nearby rehabilitation institutes that can help you come up with a personalised recovery plan for your recovery.

How to Maintain Recovery

Sobriety is not as easy as just attending regular meetings after rehab. To stay sober long term, you first need to identify your triggers once you return to daily life. That includes external triggers like places, people and things, and also internal triggers like the thoughts and emotions you associate with substance use. Once you recognize those triggers, you can have a strategy to either deal with them or avoid them entirely.

The second step is to recognize warning signs of relapse. That includes associating with people who take drugs, behaving irresponsibly, returning to addictive thinking patterns, etc. You must avoid situations that involve substance use, especially in the first few weeks and months of your recovery.

And lastly, build your support system that includes family, friends, and relationships. If you build a trusting and healthy relationship with those closest to you, they’ll hold you accountable and you’ll have a better chance of staying sober.

 A Real-Life Success Story

Russell Brand began using narcotics when he was 19 years old. The high of the heroin made him feel instantly at ease. He discovered that this helped him escape from the difficulties of life.  For anyone with a history of substance use, these sentiments are all too familiar. It’s tough to let go of a simple, quick-fix solution that has become a reliable source of comfort over time.

Brand struggled with this for 15 years. His manager at the time, Chip Sommers, came in with timely intervention and told him that if he kept this up, he’d die. That was a pivotal moment in his life. He went into a 12-step programme at that point, and he hasn’t looked back since.

He has released Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions, a book in which he reinterprets the 12 steps and discusses what he’s learned in recovery. Russell Brand has been drug and alcohol clean for many years.

The Benefits of Seeking Help Earlier

Addiction is a disease, so you can seek options to treat it for a better quality of life. Help from professionals can improve your relationships with the ones you love and add to your professional life as well. You will be able to improve your physical and mental health, preventing irreversible damage to your body in the long run.

If you seek help earlier, it can save you from a life of strife to one where you are happier. Your emotional health will also start improving gradually. Since you’ll be making more decisions and you’ll be trained to regulate your emotions better, you should also see an essential improvement in your finances and career.

You will feel energised by the new change in life when working with addiction experts who are there to guide you in every way. Once your loved ones see you trying to get help, they’ll also be able to support you in your struggle to reach your recovery goals.

Summary

Addiction is a terrible illness but it’s not impossible to beat.

  1. COVID-19 was responsible for a surge in mental health issues that many people coped with by using drugs, causing a huge drug crisis in the UK as well as other countries.
  2. Abstinence gives you a better chance at recovery VS just reducing your drug use.
  3. CBT and Contingency Management are two great therapies that help you stay sober.
  4. Identifying your triggers and relapse warning signs is integral to maintaining sobriety as well as building a support system.
  5. If Russell Brand can beat decades of addiction, so can you.
  6. Seeking help earlier can protect you and your loved ones from long term emotional, physical, and financial damage.

Staying sober might be one of the toughest things to do. But if you want to live a healthier life and make your loved ones happy then it’s a necessary step to take towards the path of recovery.

Read More: A Guide to How Covid-19 Impacted Addiction Recovery

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