The advent of a new year often prompts people to make a list of New Year's resolutions. Of course, many people quickly forget about or abandon those resolutions because they find it too hard to commit to real change. One of the toughest resolutions of all, getting clean when you're plagued by addiction, might seem like a pipe dream New Year's resolution, but it doesn't have to be. You might just need some help getting started.
Here are some resolutions to add to your list for 2019. If overcoming addiction seems like an insurmountable challenge, focus on taking one small step at a time. You'll soon find that by changing your direction by just a few degrees, you'll arrive at an entirely different destination.
If you're not convinced your addiction is severe enough to merit intervention, get informed. Learn more about what you're addicted to, whether it be alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal substances. Research signs and symptoms of addiction and honestly assess yourself. Find out what impact prolonged substance abuse can do to the body.
The most common short-term effects of substance abuse include high blood pressure, dizziness, mood changes and paranoia. In the long run, continued use can lead to heart attack, respiratory failure, coma and stroke, according to drugabuse.com. The risk of these more severe side effects increases with the duration of substance abuse because your body will require higher amounts of the substance to achieve the same high.
Change your habits
Overcoming addiction isn't an overnight process. It takes dedication to build a new lifestyle and new, healthier habits. One challenge to breaking through the cycle of addiction is when people fall back on old habits and hang out with old friends in familiar places. These are called "triggers" and they increase your chance of relapsing simply because old habits die hard.
Starting a new hobby, making new friends, or even moving somewhere new are all possible options for someone who is serious about getting clean. You must rid your life of the reminders of past addiction. If you choose to undergo treatment at a rehabilitation center, consider going somewhere far outside your comfort zone to take you out of temptation's reach.
Making healthier choices in exercise and nutrition are some of the most important habits you can cultivate. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to fall back on addiction to feel better emotionally and physically. In fact, being active can boost positive mood endorphins, helping you naturally feel happier without the need of outside substances.
Work on improving your self-image
Letting go of addiction might feel like you're letting go of a part of yourself. If you've had a substance abuse problem for a long time, you might not know who you are without that familiar identification. You might also struggle with the idea that you're worth saving or that the substance you abuse is what allows you to be more comfortable around other people or forget about past mistakes.
A study published by the National Institutes of Health followed 300 individuals, 100 of whom had no record of addiction and 200 of whom did. Based on their observations, the researchers concluded, "Those who are involved in addiction, theft and prostitution have a lower self-esteem compared with the ordinary person."
Of the many risk factors for developing addiction, this is one of the few that a person can actually have control over. You are the only person who can control how you feel about yourself.
Recognize when you need professional help
If after you change your habits, your lifestyle and your attitude you still struggle to overcome your addiction or you are experiencing symptoms of depression, you may need to seek professional help. Treatment centers employ experienced experts who will help you break the cycle of addiction with personalized treatment plans and time-tested recovery programs.
Pacific Bay Recovery understands the challenge of watching a friend, family member or loved one struggle with addiction. We are here to help.