Drug addiction is a complicated problem and people have a tendency to want to simplify it. This is not really possible though because the solution is necessarily complicated as well. Addiction affected us in so many ways and so any solution we might use to overcome addiction needs to address many different areas of our lives.
So many people claim to have the answers to beating addiction but the fact of the matter is that relapse rates remain quite high, regardless of what program or what approach you take. On the other hand, there are a handful of success stories among people in recovery and we can draw several parallels between their experiences if we look closely at the situation.
Here are some tips based on what has worked for me and others that I’ve worked with in recovery:
1. Don’t underestimate your disease. Every single person does at first.
2. Take care of yourself spiritually. Be mindful of your connection to your higher power today.
3. Ignore the dismal relapse rates. You are creating your own success.
4. Make a zero tolerance policy with yourself concerning relapse. Don’t even allow your mind to go there.
5. Avoid fundamentalism, even in recovery. Rigid thinking and dogma can undermine your sobriety.
6. You are creating a life of recovery and you are responsible for ALL OF IT. Yes, others can help you. Their “help” is mere advice. It is up to you to recover.
7. Don’t confuse enthusiasm for action. Figure out what you need to do to stay sober and then do it.
8. Listen to what the relapsing addicts keep preaching. Then do the opposite.
9. Take care of your social network. Reach out to others in a meaningful way.
10. Figure out a way to help other addicts or alcoholics.
Now there are other concepts and ideas out there that will help you to overcome drug addiction but if you stick to this list of ideas and actually implement then you would be further ahead than 90 percent of the struggling addicts out there.
The reason for this is not because this is a magic list of recovery principles that is better than the 12 steps or anything, but simply that most people will not actually put in the action required to rigorously follow any program.
Imagine a recovery program that instructed “don’t drink or do drugs and stand on your head all day.” This would actually work if you worked it, but does that really prove anything? Does that make it a good program? Of course not, the proof is in how well a program helps you transition to the life you really want. If a recovery program doesn’t do that then it is not worth working it. Find a vision for your own recovery and go after it using these ideas.