From An Addict to a Community Resource

Most conversations about recovery are filled with doom. They revolve around how hard it is to completely heal from an addiction. They also paint a picture of a stubborn mental illness that’s almost impossible to overcome. This article is for people who have a resolve to beat addiction. It is for a person that needs to recover and become an important resource for the community.  We will talk about tips on how to help a recovering addict integrate back in society, gain their confidence back and become even greater.

Know What Is Expected Of You

When you set out for a new start, you never know what to expect. Here you are embarking on a new life all together. Sobriety will be a new life, one that you have not known in a while. A new life comes with Change. Tell yourself that there is going to be a change. You may not know exactly what it will look like, but recovery is all about change and you are somehow ready for it.

Outwardly, there will be expectations from others. Speak to friends and family, be open to what they expect of you at this point. Remember expectations have changed over time. Talking to friends and family will help you know where you are in the new world.

While you learn what others expect of you, express your expectations as well. Most friends and family around you have been used to an addicted version of you. Have this discussion so that you can moderate expectations from both ends. They will also tend expect too much, from you especially now that you are choosing a new path. Set your boundaries on how much you can handle so you do not feel over pressured.

Preparation Stage

Now that you have made a decision and you know what is expected, make a plan on how to move forward. This stage is important because you get to evaluate yourself against your challenges, expectations and aspirations. Then go ahead and plan for what is important. Here a number of preparations you can make.

Examples of the kinds of things a person might plan, do or decide about during the preparation stage include:

What change do I need to make?

Ask yourself the kind of change you want to make – is it cutting down intake, reducing harm or quitting completely?  Be honest with yourself here. It is the most important thing to know.

While at this stage, understand the triggers of your substance use and addiction. This knowledge will help you plan on what to change and how.

How do I make the change?

If you are planning to reduce alcohol intake for instance, you could plan to reduce intake to 3 bottles a week. If you want to quit opiates, you can choose when to perform a detox and where, and so on. This is all about coming up with ‘the how.’

Get the necessary resources

The resources you need will depend on your plan. If you are dealing with nicotine addiction, you will need nicotine patches. Then you will also need to know what patches are most suitable and if you are already enrolled into a treatment program, you will discuss this with your physician.

One of the most valuable resources is a good treatment center with expert addiction and mental health specialists. Once you have this in place, the rest of the decisions will be easy to make. If they are helpful, they will provide some of the resources or they will point to you reliable sources.

There are also other resources that are not directly related to treatment. They could be related to your personal development, a sport or a diet plan to boost your health. Please plan for this as well. Whether it is books, a kit for protection from infections such as STDs or counseling sessions, begin to make the bookings early.

Remove triggers

Addiction does not occur in isolation. It is either triggered by an underlying mental illness, genetic factors, family problems, work problems, or peer pressure. Of course you won’t change your genes but you can know how to handle it and what medicine to take with guidance from your treatment specialist. For a mental disorder, the specialist will also help you learn how to go about treatment so that you are free.

Other triggers will include people in your circle, a certain family issue or just availability of the substance. Based on your journey, you know what to avoid. It could be a bar on the corner, a friend’s house, some reminders or even a neighborhood. It is difficult, but it is a worth sacrifice for a new start.

Build a support system

It is difficult to tell people to be there for you. But for accountability and care, open yourself up and accept help. Often people do not go get support because they do not ask for it, and they also don’t allow others to help.

Inform your family and friends of your plan to have a fresh new start. Ask for help depending on the person’s place in your life. Set accountability structures. Talk to your physician and seek help in achieving this plan. Finally, face your addiction buddies and let them know you are checking out and you have a plan. It’s crazy, but this is the only way they will respect your process and not indulge you in ‘getting high’ sprees.

Execute in the Action Stage

Now that you have discussed your expectations, it is time to execute. It is the hardest part. For many people in career, marriage, education or even business know what to do. But doing exactly that is the most difficult part. If you can actually start doing — attending therapy sessions, stop using, change daily habits, change how you relate with people around, change your circle – you are fully set to recover.

If you are looking for a facility to help you execute your plan, High Point Treatment Center has well trained specialists in addiction treatment and mental health illnesses. They also have a program for integrating you back into family life, work and community.

Helpful Resources

Harmony Place Resources
Northern Illinois Recovery
North Jersey Recovery Center
Kingsway Recovery Center
Free By The Sea Addiction Resources
New Directions for Women Resources for Addiction