Drug abuse and addiction continue to bedevil the United States on an epic scale. The cost is horrifying. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, abuse of alcohol, tobacco, opioids, and other illicit and so-called recreational drugs is costing America over $740 billion annually in criminal activity, health care bills, and decreased productivity in the workplace.
Dan Manson, the founder of Elevate Addcition Services claims that while overcoming an addiction is a huge challenge for the normal person, the best way to handle the problem is to break it up into manageable units of time and activity. He says it’s like the old oriental story of the man who was commanded by his king to eat a whole elephant. At first the man was overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of the beast he was commanded to devour, but then, after giving it some thought, he simply began by cooking and eating the tail, and then worked his way bit by bit, piece by piece, over the course of several weeks, to eating a little bit of the elephant at a time. Eventually he had eaten the whole beast, and the king rewarded him for his diligence and creativity by giving him his daughter the princess to marry.
Grohsman says that while that fairy tale is a good start, there is still the problem of the mundane and so-called dreary procedures that recovering addicts need to follow through on to insure the success of their individual program. One of the reasons that addiction is such a powerful enemy to defeat is because the addicts drug(s) of choice gives them such a feeling of power and exultation that coming back down to the regular drudgery of employment and civil restraint can seem almost like a death sentence to happiness and satisfaction. Grohsman gives these 9 suggestions to help addicts deal with the real world and make their recovery valid and long lasting:
The mere fact that a person has recognized his or her problem and decided to combat his or her addiction is cause for celebration. An addict should celebrate every single day of recovery and sobriety as a holiday. Eat dessert first. Buy an inexpensive present for yourself. Take a photo of the sunrise on your cell phone and share it with everybody on Facebook. Go on a sober spree.
Think outside yourself
Recovery is an intensely personal project -- it’s literally a matter of life and death. But be sure to include significant others, pledge yourself to quitting for their sake as well as your own -- whether it be a spouse a child or a friend. Recovery is not a solitary activity -- it needs input from those your love and trust.
When the going gets tough, the smart swap jobs
Don’t even think of relapsing just because you have an unpleasant job or duty to perform. For instance, if you simply loathe taking out the garbage and would rather go back to your addiction hell, then tell your roommate/spouse/whoever that you’ll wash the dishes for them if they’ll take out the garbage for you. It’s the trivial that messes up the addict, so make sure it’s dealt with immediately.
Assume a virtue if you have it not
Meaning, start each day with the positive conviction that you have put your addiction behind you. Don’t dread each day as another contest between you and your drug of choice. Just assume the attitude that you’ve already won. And then you will have won.
You’re not alone
Alcoholics Anonymous proved that a group of drunks working with each other could have a positive impact on their own sobriety. And this goes for all types of addiction. Don’t be afraid to share your story with others in organized and supportive group meetings. Go to new place and meet new people -- the recovering addict is truly a new person, ready to explore and conquer new worlds.
Just do it
Don’t overthink your recovery program. Make the commitment to yourself and to someone else you trust who can monitor your progress (and backsliding) and then go to work to put your life back together. Sitting and brooding may be okay for philosophers, but that ain’t you -- it’s imperative you DO THINGS, not think things.
Educate yourself about your addiction
The above suggestion doesn’t mean that you should remain ignorant of your enemy. Learn all you can about the drug(s) that have bedeviled you in the past. Know your enemy. Take night classes, read magazine articles, talk to others who have gone through what you’re going through. Most people only fear what they don’t understand, so learn about your enemy and it’ll be that much easier to defeat it once and for all -- and even laugh about it someday. For the addict, knowledge truly is power.
Record your success
Keep track of every single moment of triumph on your journey of recovery. Get a notebook and a Bic pen and start writing down things like waking up in your right mind instead of looking for a way to painlessly kill yourself; having a good appetite and enjoying a good meal instead of vomiting in the toilet; record the names of those you’ve had to leave behind because they weren’t ready to support you, and the names of those who have stepped up to help out; write about how good it feels to not be afraid of seeing a police car in your rearview mirror.
When you paint yourself into a corner, climb up the wall
You’re going to have moments of panic, when the universe seems to be closing in and wanting to force you back into old ways of thinking and old destructive habits. Anything can act as a trigger to bring your addictive behavior roaring back to life, threatening you and everything that’s really important in your life -- a certain smell, a certain place, even a certain word can allow your old demons to storm the castle of your wellbeing once again. When that happens you’ve got to sprun all your old ways of handling the craving -- because your old routines are what got you into trouble in the first place. When you’re in a corner, don’t think of it as being trapped -- think of it as discovering your inner Spider Man; how can you manage to crawl up the wall right now? And believe in yourself -- you’re going to do it! There is a way. Keep looking until you find it.