First and foremost, I am not a counselor by any means and these thoughts and this advice all comes from my own personal experiences.
I’ve been a drug addict for roughly 8 years, and am currently about 6 months along in a benzodiazepine taper; and these last 6 months have been the hardest I’ve ever experienced in my life. But it has been worth it; I’ve had more clarity throughout this time than I have ever had. It has led me to so many realizations about myself, the world, and everything in between.
Now here comes the cliché’ statement you’ve been waiting for; the first step really is admitting that you have a problem. But just admitting that you have a problem isn’t going to get you anywhere. In order to get sober, and truly achieve your goal. The key is all in your head; You have to want to be sober. Without the true desire to rid yourself of your vices whatever attempts you make at sobriety will likely fail.
Without the realization that you want a better life for yourself through the means of sobriety, you will likely fail. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Sobriety has to be selfish and it has to be about you. If you’re doing it because you’re forced to, for example by family members or a significant other but without your own true desire; I reiterate, you will likely fail.
So with that being said, obviously I have to highly recommend drug and addiction recovery counseling. It can be hard to find the right counselor, but when you do you will know it. Addiction recovery counseling shouldn’t be like getting “shrinked”, it should be more so like a two-way conversation. And I would advise, before ever meeting with your counselor, educate yourself fully about whatever it is that you are addicted to. You need to know every bit of knowledge about whatever your drug of choice is; All the way from how it interacts in your body to the best methods of recovering from your addiction. This way you are armed with the knowledge to have a real conversation about your issues when it comes time to talk to a counselor about your goal. Also, depending on what you are addicted to, a medical professional may be required for the counselor to move forward with your sessions as well. So keep that in mind.
Through your research, figure out what method of recovery will likely mesh with your personality; there are all different forms such as extended in-patient treatment to short-term in-patient treatment, AA or NA meetings and the “steps”, or whether you would prefer to deal with your addiction on your own without the utilization of the aforementioned services. For me, I’m not a very personal person so NA and AA was not something I desired to be involved with. I’m not saying anything bad about it, I’m just saying it wasn’t the right choice for me. Neither was any form of in-patient treatment because I have a very good career, and participating in a program such as this would likely have meant the end of said career.
Yet again something I’ve said time and time again, self reflection is key to self reclamation; It is the addicts greatest enemy and only salvation in my opinion. And if you’ve found the right counselor, they will likely help you tremendously with this. But it doesn’t have to be a process that is only practiced in counseling sessions. For me, I started a journal and wrote in it literally every day, sometimes multiple times a day; this is what in turn led me to start a blog. At first my journal entries were rather negative most of the time, but as I began to learn more about myself they gradually became more positive. I’m not suggesting you start a blog, unless that’s something you’d like to do and if it is then by all means, go for it! Even if you don’t have a single follower, it is the same as a journal and will give you an emotional sounding board to gather your thoughts and in turn self reflect on your actions. The entire point of self reflection is finding what led you to your addictions in the first place, whether it was emotional trauma, depression/anxiety or other mood disorders, or simply because it felt good; you have to dig through the dirt to plant the seed of positivity that you want to grow in your mind. Self reflection is one of the most painful parts of recovery, but it is necessary and will be your greatest asset when it is all said and done.
Another very important thing to keep in mind is that you will have to find something to replace your addiction with; a physical or mental outlet to dedicate yourself to. For me, this has been blogging but for you it could be anything. Think back to before you were in the grips of addiction and try to rekindle some of those long lost interests; Or find something completely new. It is greatly beneficial to addiction recovery to have something to focus your mind and energy on; something that gives you satisfaction.
Lastly, stick to your plan. I know this isn’t always simple, especially if the large majority of your friends or family are also users; but the sad reality is that you will have to put a degree of separation between yourself and those people. I’m not saying abandon these people but realize that the more time you spend with them, the more likely you are to regress. The people we surround ourselves with greatly influence the person we become. If you want to be sober, you have to be determined; don’t waver from your goal.
I know this is a rather simplistic way of looking at addiction recovery, but it has worked for me thus far; and even if you don’t completely agree I hope there are at least some takeaways that you get from reading this. Every one of our lives are different and unique, and what worked for me may not work for you, and I get that; But in my personal opinion, these general thoughts have been my greatest takeaway throughout my journey.
With love and best wishes to you all, always.