Clean and sober. These simple words are so easy to say – yet for many people, they are so difficult to achieve. Drug usage is on the rise, according to drugfree.org, and a shocking 1 in 10 people above the age of 12 years old are addicted to either drugs, alcohol or both.
If getting clean (and staying sober) is part of your New Year’s Resolution, here are some tips that will help you on your path to recovery.
Start by staying positive. A healthy attitude will help you persevere throughout this process. Your addiction can be treated – and that you don’t have to go through this alone. Be sure to surround yourself with a solid support group in your recovery process.
This includes (and is not limited to): any trusted friends, family or loved ones; your Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous sponsor; your therapist or counselor; and any medical professionals who are helping you with your recovery.
Once you’ve created your support group, you can begin looking at treatment options and the daily actions you will be taking to get clean and sober. Of course, the most common recovery process is the twelve step program.
Working a twelve step program has been the gold standard in addiction recovery for the past 75 years. Those struggling with alcohol addiction have probably heard of Alcoholics Anonymous, the free and confidential support group offering addiction recovery support. Those struggling with drug addiction are also welcomed at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or you can see if there is a local Narcotics Anonymous meeting in your area for drug-specific recovery.
The twelve-step program is also helpful for treating codependence. Many addicts are also codependents, sometimes called “relationship addicts.” Working the program will simultaneously improve your relationships, build better boundaries and lead to a happier, more fulfilled life. Additionally, you could work a twelve step program for addiction and a second twelve step program specifically for codependence. For more information, read the leading books about codependence by author Melody Beattie.
Those who have tried the twelve step program without success might be tempted to give up on addiction recovery altogether. Don’t give into this pessimistic thinking! There are other options out there if the twelve step program doesn’t feel like a good fit. Faces and Voices of Recovery, Women for Sobriety, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, Moderation Management, and many other groups exist to provide support and various options for those seeking a clean and sober lifestyle.
Volunteer work can also help with your successful return to sobriety. You’ll find that volunteer work has benefits for yourself as well as others. Caring, kindness, giving and service will all give you a sense of purpose and self esteem, while building relationships with others. Healthy social relationships are crucial for your recovery.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to run out and build a house with Habitat for Humanity or volunteer at your local hospital tomorrow. If you’re not ready for a bigger volunteer project right now, simply wait until you’re ready – and start small. If you’re an animal lover, try walking dogs for a local humane society first. Find a type of volunteer work that appeals to you, and start there.
Recovery is a long-term (and most likely, lifelong) process. You will face many challenges and obstacles, and there are high odds that you will relapse. Finding a twelve-step recovery program along with a support system will be key in getting you through the struggle to sobriety.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay by Milada Vigerova
Article by Cecelia Johnson