The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse defines addiction as “the continued use of a mood altering substance despite adverse dependency consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.” Meaning, an addicted individual will continue to abuse their drug of choice through health issues, financial problems, relationship failures, time in jail and other negative consequences.
Addiction is a multifaceted disease that can affect anyone regardless of their age, race or gender. At any given time, there are millions of people throughout the world struggling with addiction. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 20.8 million people worldwide over the age of 12 had an issue with drugs or alcohol in 2006.
Although many people have reached long-term recovery through effective addiction treatment, there are countless others who aren’t getting the help they need. Less than 1 percent, of people with a drug or alcohol problem, receive care at a specialized addiction treatment facility.
Using Strength to Weaken Addiction
For those who do get help, many entering addiction treatment unfortunately often see it as daunting and find themselves struggling for strength during recovery, especially during its initial stages. But, there are ways to help. These tips can help a person find strength during the toughest parts of addiction recovery:
Be kind to yourself. In the past, you’ve likely beaten yourself up over misdeeds you’ve committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but it’s important to realize that those feelings are perfectly normal and happen to almost everyone in early recovery. It’s OK if you don’t succeed at the first try in everything you attempt.
Acknowledge achievements, big or small. Recovery is a building-block process and no success is too small to be counted. Recognizing each achievement can help build and maintain morale throughout treatment.
Remember that mistakes and failures happen. Everyone makes mistakes and each person moves through recovery at their own pace. There will be set backs but they aren’t the end of the world. Each day presents a new opportunity to learn.
Shift your outlook on life. Try to begin each day with a positive outlook. You have the power to decide what you’re going to think about first. For example, you can dwell on the feeling of having made less progress than you wanted the day before, or you can, make the conscious choice to accept what happened as part of the process and continue to move forward today.
Avoid making comparisons. Each person’s struggle with addiction is unique. Although your situation may be similar to someone else’s, everyone heals at their own pace.
Ask for help. At some point or another everyone needs a little extra help. Asking for assistance enables you to broaden your horizons and gives you a chance to grow on your path to recovery.
Many things such as public stigma, misconception, and intolerance, can make it difficult for people struggling with substance abuse to get the help they need and deserve. But despite potential roadblocks, using these tips can help an addicted person maintain the strength they need to persevere through treatment and flourish in recovery.