Addiction causes self-destructive behavior despite harmful consequences. The brain changes chemically and physiologically when a person is addicted. Success in recovery depends on our willingness to replace old habits of drug or alcohol use with healthy, new ones.
How addiction changes us
While we are actively addicted, we develop many habits that fuel our insecurities and low self-worth that continues our cycles of self-destruction and self-sabotage. These habits exacerbate our addictions and make us live in pain and fear. Deep down we feel self-blame rather than self-love. We have mental, physical, and spiritual habits that fuel our self-destruction. We develop anxiety disorders and toxic thought patterns and suppress our emotions with drugs or alcohol. We form obsessions and compulsions. It is difficult for us to acknowledge we have a problem and feel isolated.
Lifestyle changes must be made for the best success in recovery. The brain needs time to learn how to function without drugs or alcohol controlling it and you will need to replace old habits with healthy ones. Everything associated with using drugs or alcohol must change, including anyone who is linked to your substance use.
Challenges in recovery
Friends who used drugs or consumed alcohol with you before treatment can unintentionally influence a relapse. When in recovery, these situations should be avoided. Attending group meetings opens opportunities to develop new sober friendships. If you feel the urge to use drugs or take a drink, you can call on a sober friend who can talk you through those feelings and encourage you to stay sober.
While in recovery, more time will be available to focus on healthy activities. Substance abuse and addiction affect mental and physical health. Exercise and staying active reduces boredom and significantly improves physical and mental health. Meditation and deep breathing techniques also help your brain heal after addiction. According to an article on How Meditation Conquers Addiction, EOC Institute, meditation stimulates and trains your brain to be happy and “naturally high” without the need for alcohol, prescriptions, marijuana, drugs, cigarettes, or any other addictive substance to feel good.
When a person is active, he or she will have less time to think about using drugs or alcohol. Staying active lessens the risk of relapse, and promotes mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Recovery is a lifelong process. Keeping a journal allows you to reflect on your progress and see how you managed emotions and challenges in early recovery. Developing new routines will replace old habits and help you focus on your health. New, sober, sustainable friendships will make it easier to enjoy healthy interests and activities while living substance free.
If you or a loved one is battling addiction, you are not alone. Do not let stigma prevent you from getting help. While there is no cure for addiction, treatment is available and there is hope in recovery. Take the first step to restore your physical and mental health. Get help today so you can enjoy a fulfilling, meaningful, sober lifestyle in recovery.
The Fort Worth Recovery umbrella covers medically supervised detox, as well as residential programs for men and women alike. Our programs are abstinence-based and combine a 12-step approach with a strong mental health component, integrating cutting-edge techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing, and Motivational Interviewing. For more information or to start your healing journey, please fill out a contact request form and one of our recovery experts will connect with you shortly.