How to Maintain Hope While Dealing with Addiction
Overcoming drug and alcohol addiction is a long and grueling journey full of ups and downs. Addiction is a treatable disease. Yet, relapses can happen even to the most dedicated and hopeful of addicts.
Although they’re common, relapses never indicate that treatment has failed. Nor do they mean that an addict can’t recover from their addiction.
Often the hardest part of recovery is maintaining hope while dealing with addiction. Addicts need to constantly work at seeing the light at the end of the long road to recovery.
So, what are some coping skills that can help addicts maintain hope and stay on the path to recovery? Read on to discover the ways you or your loved one can persevere and overcome addiction once and for all!
Building & Maintaining a Positive Attitude
Some say that a change in attitude can go a long way. But changing one’s attitude towards drugs and alcohol isn’t as easy as the snap of a finger.
Still, a positive attitude is crucial when it comes to recovery. And this is often the first – and hardest – stepping stone an addict has to cross early on in recovery.
Building a positive attitude begins with acknowledging your addiction. How has it impacted your life?
Then, search for meaning in your recovery and why you can (and should) make changes for the better. Why do you want to recover? What would a life free of drugs and alcohol look like for you?
Believing in yourself may not come easily at first. But admitting to yourself that you deserve to live a life free of addiction is always a good start. You can also write down your reasons for recovery and read them aloud to yourself every day.
Focus on Your Relationships
Maintaining a positive attitude all on your own takes hard work and dedication. There will be some days where you wake up and feel too tired or hopeless to continue down a sober path.
You alone have the power to make changes in your life. But recovery is not something you have to endure alone. There are people who care about you and want to support you along the way.
Recognize those who are positive influences in your life. Identify toxic individuals who feed your addiction and distance yourself from them.
This is also a good time to form new and healthy relationships. Try reconnecting with an old friend or trying new hobbies that’ll allow you to meet new people. You can also meet new people who are also dealing with addiction at support groups, like AA or NA.
Challenge Negative Thinking
Friends and family can’t be with you 24/7. It’s easy for negative beliefs to creep in when you’re alone and feeling vulnerable. A lot of addicts fall into negative thinking patterns and say things like:
“Recovery is pointless. It doesn’t matter if I relapse or not. I’m a loser.”
And once someone begins to think like that, relapse becomes more a possibility. That’s why it’s important to nip this type of thinking in the bud as soon as it starts.
What are some coping skills that can challenge and reverse negative thinking? Begin by reminding yourself how long you’ve gone since your last relapse. Then, tell yourself that you’re able to go X amount of time sober and that you’re capable of doing it again – and for longer.
You can also remind yourself of how you feel when you’re sober and feeling your best. Ask yourself, “Do I feel like a loser when I’m sober and enjoying the things I love?” You’re never far away from feeling like that again.
Take Good Care of Yourself
Keeping your emotions in check is crucial to staying on the path to recovery. When you’re deprived of sleep and nutrition, it’s harder to do so. That’s why it’s pertinent that you follow these basic coping skills:
- Sleeping 7-8 hours each night
- Eating nutritious foods
- Staying hydrated
- Exercising each day
Exercise does wonders for overcoming addiction. It not only reduces stress but releases endorphins in our bodies that make us feel happier. Plus, exercise can distract you from negative thoughts and curb cravings.
Early on in recovery, you may find it hard to fall and stay asleep. At nighttime, try to unwind by reading, meditating, and unplugging from electronics.
Try New Hobbies
Many addicts worry that they won’t know what to do with themselves after they give up drugs or alcohol. This not only leads to feelings of hopelessness, but to relapses, as well.
First, recognize which activities and places trigger your cravings for drugs or alcohol. Then, ask yourself, “What are some things that your addiction has prevented you from trying?”
Make a list of at least 3 things you want to try that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. Try to think up of one activity that you can enjoy outside home. That way, you can venture out and meet new people.
You should also include things that you can enjoy at night or whenever you have downtime. Mind puzzles, baking, and coloring can help you develop stronger coping skills when at home.
Overcoming addiction is easier when you recognize what you should already be happy for. Showing gratitude builds a better and more hopeful outlook on life.
What’s something or someone you can be grateful for? What is something you can be grateful for right now, at this moment?
Always look for the positive in the world around you by being grateful. Express this appreciation not only to yourself but to others. It doesn’t matter how significant or trite it may seem!
Finding & Maintaining Hope While Dealing with Addiction
The road to recovery often begins with finding a glimmer of hope for a better and healthier future. It can be hard to spark this glimmer in yourself when you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol. But it’s not impossible, either.
If you or someone you love is dealing with addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can inspire hope and help you overcome addiction!