Overcoming addiction is not a one-time “event.” The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as the following:
“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. “
Because addiction is a chronic condition, those who are sober must address the social, psychological, and environmental obstacles that can cause relapse. When those are addressed, they must find healthy coping skills to minimize those risks. The following are effective and natural ways you can overcome addiction in the long run.
Create a Support System
One of the most effective ways to overcome addiction is to surround yourself with people that fully support your recovery. These people can be family members, friends, your recovering peers, sponsors, and counselors. When you have a reliable support system behind you, you have people that you can count on when you are feeling vulnerable in your recovery. These people are either a phone call or meeting away if you need help. Additionally, your support network is there to engage in healthy activities and will keep you accountable as you progress in your sobriety.
Another effective and natural way to overcome addiction is to engage in mindful meditation practice regularly. Mindfulness practices are relatively easy to master and can be done in as little as 15 minutes a day. It can be as simple as focused breathing or involve more formal mediation techniques and yoga. These practices help you focus on the present and the stressors and anxieties that are taking up space in your mind. When you engage in meditation practices, you learn to accept worries and anxiety for what they are, and you allow them to pass. With a relaxed mind, you are better equipped to make better decisions and healthier choices with your recovery in mind.
One component of a well-rounded recovery program that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle is exercise. Exercise is a healthy activity that will minimize the stressors that can lead to relapse behavior. It is recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of strenuous exercise daily. Exercise releases dopamine, which helps you relax and feel great. There is also the benefit of having a toned body, and with a better body comes a better and healthier mindset. This leads to improved self-esteem and self-worth. There is a wide variety of exercise options you have from daily walks and bike rides to intramural sports, weight training, and even martial arts. Find the activity or activities that best suit you.
Along with exercise, having a balanced healthy diet is a great way to overcome substance abuse. If you successfully completed a drug treatment program, you realize the importance of a healthy diet. Eating right gives you the nutrients you need for optimal body and brain functioning. You need to increase your intake of proteins through lean meat, vegetables, fruits, and grains. You also want to eat several smaller meals per day to keep energy levels constant and focus on healthy snacking. You also want to avoid processed foods and decrease your intake of carbohydrates and trans fats.
By making these healthy changes, you are creating a solid foundation for lifelong health and happiness, which support recovery. As you progress in your recovery, you will have time to assess how your recovery program is working and make the necessary changes where there are weak areas. If you are new to recovery, it is essential to believe in yourself, take care of yourself, and realize that you can find what works for you.