MANY PEOPLE ABUSE SUBSTANCES AS A NORMAL PART OF THEIR LIVES.
Whether it’s social use with peers on weekends or using secretly to cope better with the everyday stresses and strains, sometimes it progresses from there and we can find ourselves addicted and unable to stop using drugs.
Addiction is such an insidious disease and has the ability to totally consume us before we realise that we’re in way over our heads and cannot stop using drugs on our own. In many cases we doubt that, even with help from our families and professionals, we’ll be able to stop using drugs.
Being addicted to drugs is completely debilitating. What can begin as natural experimenting during adolescence, conforming to peer pressure or testing the limits can easily become an overwhelming drug addiction.
A consequence of being addicted is poor insight into the condition; this is often described as being in denial. It’s interesting to note that denial is an unconscious defence mechanisms and not conscious deception or ‘lying’.
It is often assumed that there is nothing that can be done to help a person to stop using drugs until they are highly motivated to help themselves. We often hear family members say that ‘it’s a waste of money to put them in drug rehab because they have to want to quit drug use for themselves.’
By its very nature addiction makes the person unable to see the full consequences and effects of their behaviour. This doesn’t mean that they can abdicate responsibility for their condition or do not need to make any changes. It means that through effective drug rehab treatment people can be shown how to arrest their addiction through stopping using and lead a drug free life.
If we wait until the addicted person has some form of spontaneous awareness into their condition or a ‘burning bush’ insight that magically increases their understanding, we’ll wait a very long time for an event that’s beyond our control and may never happen. All the while the patient’s addiction proceeds to get steadily worse day after day.
Addiction to drugs is a serious condition that can be life threatening and waiting for the addicted person to do something positive to stop using drugs is highly unlikely.
Most often it takes someone in the family to step forward and stop the drugging madness. Helping you to determine the best way to get your loved one into a rehab centre is our specialty.
HOW TO STOP USING DRUGS?
Waiting for something to change will not help. You need to make the changes for your loved one stop using drugs.
If you wait for them to show more willingness, more readiness to change, more motivation, you may be waiting in vain and chances are…. nothing will change.
Professional drug rehabs specialise in working with ambivalent addicts who aren’t sure if they want to or know how to stop using drugs. Let the professionals do their job and assist your loved one in stopping drugs and staying well.
If you wait, nothing will change – call us today to get your loved one to stop using drugs. We can arrange interventions if necessary and immediate access to the best detox and drug rehab treatment centres.
Waiting for a substance abuser to eventually come to a place where they ask “How do I stop using drugs?” may never happen. It’s critical that families of addicted people can find ways to regain their power, stop enabling, and put the addicted person in a position where they have to begin assuming responsibility for their recovery from addiction.
The following pointers are practical and basic steps to stopping using drugs. These tips are simply a starting point and aim to increase awareness about quality addictions treatment.
If the addicted person who’s trying to stop drugging suffers from any withdrawal symptoms it’s paramount that they seek professional help from a drug rehab centre.
MAKING A DECISION TO STOP USING DRUGS
With addiction to drugs it’s important to understand something about conflicting desires and motivation.
It’s often assumed that because addicted people are struggling to stop using drugs, and may even talk and talk about stopping, but never seem to make any real changes that they are not really willing or ready to make the change. In reality though there is an awful amount of conflict around stopping and continuing to use drugs when addicted.
It is a condition of active addiction that the patient has a decreased awareness and therefore it is most often the family that has to step in and bring about a crisis that can result in an admission to an addiction treatment centre and the possibility of some much needed real change.
Only once the addicted person is in an effective drug rehab and the addictions counselling team has managed to reduce the patient’s level of delusion (by dismantling their mental denial system) will they have a more accurate awareness of the severity of their problem.
Once the addicted patient’s awareness of their reality is increased, there’s the potential for a deeper motivation sufficient to bring about the required changes that would enable them to get well and to stay well.
Enhancing motivation for change and the environmental conditions (the culture within the addiction rehab) are the responsibility of the focal addictions counsellor and the overall treatment programme. Family, friends, employers, court orders etc can provide critical external pressure and help to maintain the movement towards addiction recovery.
It is often wrongly assumed that these external forms of pressure are no good as the motivation for change isn’t coming directly from the patient but initially this internal motivation may be conflicted and external pressure is very useful.
Of course being motivated is entirely up to the client, however through developing a good rapport the addictions counsellor can roll with resistance, using collateral from external sources as pressure to enhance motivation and a healthy decision making process.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY?
The first step towards recovery has always been that the addict needs to admit to themselves that he has a problem with drugs and cannot stop using on their own.
As we’ve already discussed it may take a professional addictions counselling team to help an addicted person to begin to see how they been rational in all areas of their lives but deluded about their drugging.
Recovery from addiction requires honesty in the form of facing ourselves and our behaviours and how it’s negatively impacted those around us. This takes courage and learning to deal with feedback from other addicted people in the rehab that may be a little further along the recovery path, the addictions counselling team and our families.
PATIENCE IS NECESSARY
Breaking free from active addiction takes time. There a line in the Narcotics Anonymous, 12 step, self help Programme that says “We didn’t become addicted in one day, so remember ‘easy does it’”
For severe addictions there’s a direct link between the length of treatment and people’s abilities to stay clean. Addiction treatment centre’s that provide programmes of at least three months tend to show better results.
Recovery is a process rather than an instant fix and patience is needed all the way along the journey. Remember that times take time and that relapse may occur.
If you relapse it’s important to focus on ground gained before you picked up the drugs and to remember that the relapse is just an indication that there’s some ground not yet covered, something more that needs to be looked at.
Relapse means that there’s something you’re doing that you need to learn to stop doing or something that you’ve not yet learned to do that needs to be done. That’s all.
Be patient and loving with yourself, make a gratitude list looking at al the progress you’ve made and keep going. Patience is required to get up and start again. Do not be too hasty in giving up. Keep focused on
the long term results.
AVOID TRIGGERS OF DRUG USE
Especially in the early days, it is best to remove all influences that encourage the use of drugs. It is vitally important for the individual to learn to be able to walk away from the things that trigger drug use.
It may be old friends, certain places or even different emotions. When the addict has learnt what the triggers are in his life, he has to avoid those triggers at all costs. He will learn to recognise the relapse warning signs such as changes in behaviour and attitude.
THE ONLY PERSON TO RELY ON IS yourSELF
There are a multitude of things that can be done by families to begin to squeeze the addicted person into a position of accepting responsibility for their illness and to get them to stop using drugs. However, at the end of the day, family and friends need to accept that they are as powerless over the addict and the addict is over the drugs.
We can provide support and guidance, cajoling and pressure, encouragement and love, but the only person who can stop drugs at the end of the day is the person addicted to them. Being in recovery requires a seismic shift to new ideas and ways of relating to the world. This takes a very brave or a very scared person to attempt.
Most addicts are terrified of returning to drugging and so desperate to stop that they stand ready to do anything that will lift the merciless obsession form them. This is a great starting point for recovery.
Some people try to depend on friends who also choose to give up drugs at the same time, doing it together. Invariably someone doesn’t follow through with their decision and it all goes astray.
It is best for the addict trying to stop drugging to avoid friends who are still using altogether as the temptation may be too strong to resist. A new set of friends who are clean from drugs may be a pleasant surprise and will definitely form healthier relationships in the long run.
EAT HEALTHY FOOD
Nutritious food is a good idea as it can help to keep the addict’s body strong. Proteins are important as they keep the blood sugar levels stable. This helps the individual’s moods to remain more consistent. The body needs all the help it can get at this stage.
JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP
It is very rare for addicts to stay in recovery on their own and there is no need to go it alone. Support groups are available where help is offered on issues that arise when stopping drugs.
Churches, addiction rehab centres, 12 step programs and hospitals may offer support groups or give information on where to find something suitable. The addicted person should not be afraid to talk to a professional or go for a confidential assessment.
REPLACE DRUG USAGE WITH AN ALTERNATIVE ACTIVITY
Because drugs have been such a large part of the actively addicted person’s life, they can start to plan ahead and fill gaps with different activities. Perhaps returning to old things that used to be done before you began using drugs would be beneficial?
You could also make a list of all the things you would like to do and begin a new hobby or interest.
Healthy things to focus on during recovery are family, positive friendships and physical health. All of these were more than likely neglected during active drug addiction, and now that you’re stopping drugs it may be time to start to make up for it.
As previously mentioned, stopping drugs is a process which may continue throughout life. The person wishing to stop is advised to use the help which is available today as it is generally a challenging journey.
Addiction rehab centres are available with trained professionals who have the patients best interests at heart and it may be wise to visit and find a suitable program to help with the transition from active addiction through stopping drugs to a stable and contented recovery.