Achieving success is not easy, requiring a lot of hard work, persistence, and learning from failure. The path to sobriety is easier than your anticipation.
Maintaining sobriety is the most difficult task many of us will ever take. The initial step of facing sobriety is often a result of some external force which propels us into action; i.e. lost relationship, dui, career/educational related issues. When the crisis occurs there is tremendous inertia to immediately change one’s ways and promise anything to regain life as it once was. This momentum becomes short lived as our bodies recover and our minds conveniently forget the devastation we have recently caused. Furthermore, addiction is extremely powerful and our behavioral pattern is “to use” rather than remain abstinent.
How can you overcome the typical cycle of using, problems, promises and relapse?
Before addiction was acknowledged as a disease, it was thought to be a lack of moral character or fortitude. Today we are aware that strong will power is not enough to successfully deal with addiction. Relapse counseling offers a systematic approach to maintaining sobriety by addressing core issues, directly identifying a path to sobriety, as well as acknowledging and avoiding triggers or relapses. Additionally counseling promotes positive behavioral change and employs important counseling techniques during the most critical initial 30-90 days period of sobriety. Changing habits and instituting safeguard with the help of a licensed addiction therapist insures a successful path to recovery.
Upon coming to an awareness of the situation we make many attempts to sabotage the path to recovery. Many people initially believe they can stop at any time believing they are not really addicted and with strong will power can control the problem by themselves. Another tactic is to delay an intervention, “I’ll deal with the problem after the weekend, vacation, summer etc.” A serious fallacy is to believe that we are more intelligent than the average person as the rules of life don’t apply. Finally at all costs we attempt to avoid professional help, subliminally realizing that this would admit to the problem and may force us to change a habit we have have embraced.
To establish a successful plan for recovery, it is beneficial to address the inception of addiction. Most people start using during the formative teen years when peer pressure and insecurity can influence major life decisions. Simply by associating with certain friends, an adolescent gains acceptance and is initiated into the adult world. They believe they become smarter, older, stronger, prettier, more socially adept and no longer isolated. Initially the substance seems to work and brings about perceived relief and approval. For some, this experimental stage is short lived and a desire or need to escalate is experienced. The occasional becomes a daily ritual, and the “one or two” becomes addictive. A habit is established and dependence is now the norm. Describing the situation and exploring core issues is primary in stage two recovery yet cessation, abstinence and avoiding relapse is initially essential.
People, places and things are always the common road to abuse. Associating with people who are prior “using friends” is a dangerous habit, one not easily broken. It is unrealistic to change all one’s friends, as there are friends who do not always use and are safer. Going to bars, concerts and clubs are activities which are reminders of the past and typically contrary to changing behavior. As the saying goes, “if you hang around a barber shop you’ll eventually get a haircut”.
Discovering compromises and alternatives to our past lifestyle is essential in recovery. Each individual has a different perspective on what they associate with abuse, typically money and relationships are common causes. Relapses do not happen suddenly and typically there are warning signs that demand attention. If we examine the time that immediately precedes a relapse it is obvious that additional situations and circumstances were in effect before the offense occurred.
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