By Steps to Recovery, Oct. 12, 2012

1) Don’t buy in to promises that anyone can CURE your addiction.

Books like “The Addiction and Alcoholism Cure” by Chris Prentiss and Passages Malibu are not reality based, they are simply a gimmick to get people into their overpriced, non 12 step based treatment facility.

2) Buy in to 12 step programs, don’t judge them because they haven’t worked for you in the past.

The reason people fail at 12 step programs is that they think that going to a meeting is going to actually stop them from drinking and using drugs. The 12 step programs are supposed to help create a “life plan” which includes making friends and deep relationships with other people in recovery. Meeting attendance is the path to this goal, and one of the most important things when trying to stay clean is to surround yourself with positive non-drug and alcohol using people.

3) Don’t let the thought of drinking and using turn into a feeling.

Your body doesn’t know the difference between thinking about a feeling and actually feeling it. If you think about how it feels to get drunk or high, it can create really strong cravings that are difficult to manage. If the thought comes in to your head, do something to push it out before it turns in to a feeling, before your body gets a craving. You can think about something else, grab your phone and call your 12 step sponsor, chew a piece of gum, etc. This little tip can help tremendously.

4) Get into treatment.

There are around 18 million people in the U.S. who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, but only one out of four who need help actually get into treatment. While the treatment of addiction, including rehabs or 12 Step programs is often stigmatized, care for your substance abuse problem in a licensed, professional facility is usually cheaper (both financially and emotionally) than its alternatives, such as incarceration.

5) Stay in treatment.

When a person leaves addiction treatment early, or against medical advice (AMA), they are at a much greater risk of health problems. Mental and physical illnesses that may be discovered and addressed while in-patient may go undiscovered. Also, studies shows that those who leave rehab prematurely have significantly higher rates of readmission. If you leave treatment before you’re truly ready, against the guidance of your treatment team, there is always the chance of relapse. Many leave treatment early only to fatally overdose and never again have the chance of achieving a life of recovery and fulfillment. Give yourself a chance. While you may never be able to CURE your body and brain of addiction, following through with the suggestions of addiction treatment services professionals has been shown to yield highly favorable chances of long-lasting abstinence.