Breaking the Cycle of Addiction, Step by Step
Even though it might not feel like it at the moment, breaking any substance use addiction is possible. If you’ve struggled to achieve recovery, follow these steps for your best shot at success.
How to break the addiction cycle
Breaking the cycle of addiction won’t happen overnight, but taking the right steps can get you to sobriety faster. This chronological process can be used as a guide as you pursue your freedom.
Step 1: Understanding addiction
Overcoming addiction is much harder when you aren’t familiar with what’s going on inside your body. Addiction is both a mental and physical process that starts off with pleasurable feelings.
The first few uses of a substance are strongly reinforcing. At this point, you’re benefiting from the high and the consequences seem to be far off. Meanwhile, the brain’s reward system is being rewired to crave the substance, and even from the first use is building up a tolerance.
Over time, your system’s tolerance increases, requiring more and more of the substance to experience the same euphoric or calming effects. While the high may remain the same, the alcohol or drugs are causing devastating damage to your central nervous system and other systems in the body.
Breaking the cycle of addiction is complex and difficult due to the ingrained patterns that have been formed in the brain. Understanding how substances affect you can give you perspective on the progress of your addiction, and help you to not be so hard on yourself when setbacks happen (and they will).
Step 2: Deciding to make a change
This step could happen at any point in your life, and it’s likely that you’re ready to change if you’re reading this article. Deciding to commit to getting sober is a crucial step because no matter how desperate your friends or family might be for you to get clean, only you can make that happen.
While many people who struggle with addictions want to lead a different life, deciding to make that change will require action. This step is the pivotal point where you forgo the next opportunity to use a substance, and start getting serious about treatment and recovery.
Step 3: Getting connected with the right treatment
Getting connected with recovery services is typically the first and best action step you can take after deciding to commit to change. Whether this means immediately signing up for a sober living home or starting therapy for co-occurring mental health disorders, treatment is going to make a huge difference in your recovery.
Step 4: Going through detox
Getting over a drug or alcohol dependence will require a period of withdrawal. Withdrawal can be extremely painful and dangerous, so finding a detox program for this stage of the process can help you get connected with pain relief and emotional support.
There’s no sugar-coating it— detox is grueling. However, once you’re past this stage you can use it as motivation to avoid relapse and only go through it one. Plus, when you start with detox you’ll have an easy segway into the next stage of treatment, whatever that entails for you.
Step 5: Keep at it
Detox programs are quick, generally one to three weeks. Services don’t stop there, though. It may be important for your recovery to stay in inpatient (or residential) services, or spend a spell at a sober living home. Regardless of your plans, continuing treatment will be a gamechanger for your success.
Step 6: Build up supports around you
The skills and lessons you learn in treatment aren’t going to stick if your lifestyle puts your recovery at risk. Hanging out with the same crowds, frequenting the same bars and keeping the same stressors in your life is inviting trouble.
Creating a life around you that supports recovery is a key step in your journey. This stage often requires compromise and letting go of things you love. Keep in mind during this phase that your recovery is worth it. At the end of the day anything that could be a trigger to use is less valuable than your freedom.
The journey ahead
These six neat steps are surely challenging at face value, but breaking the cycle of addiction isn’t always linear. Don’t beat yourself up if your journey doesn’t take this exact path or take a few tries. Leaving addiction behind is possible, and setbacks shouldn’t keep you from trying.
Thankfully, there are proven ways to boost your chances of recovery, and connecting with professional services is one of them. At Freedom Detox, you can find the help you need to get your life back. Call 800-475-2312 today to take a critical step towards the life you’ve been longing for.