According to Dr. Richard Nahas, substance abuse and addiction can derail your life and take you to the darkest places. However, if you’re done with addiction treatment, you’ve already taken the first step to bringing your life back on track and should be proud of yourself. The next challenging step is to get your life back on track and here are a few techniques that may help.
- Keep yourself busy – Repeating a task over and over, turns it into a habit and allows you to do it in autopilot mode, without even thinking about it. When you create habits, you’re trying to rewire your brain and create new pathways. That’s why breaking bad habits like smoking, drug use and excessive alcohol consumption is very difficult. While addiction therapy helps to break them, to keep them broken, you need to create good habits to replace them and keep yourself busy.
There are four steps to creating a new habit – you receive a habit cue, experience a craving, respond to the craving and receive a reward. The path to addiction and creating good habits are the same. When you feel the craving for your addiction, try to do something else for that dopamine hit. For instance, you can try to run, lift weights, cook or do something else. Do that thing every time you have a craving for your addiction till you rewire your brain with good habits.
- Get regular exercise – Several studies show that exercise helps to reduce stress, relieve anxiety and depression, improve your sleep and boost your mood. Just half an hour of regular exercise can help you stay away from your addiction. However, you don’t need to force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy. For instance, don’t go for challenging HIIT exercises and other such intense routines if you don’t enjoy them. Just jogging for half an hour and building up a sweat can help. Your routine shouldn’t be intimidating. Otherwise, you won’t be able to sustain it.
- Get your finances on track – Addiction has devastating effects on your finances. You need a new plan to reduce your debt, control your spending and build a solid foundation. Get back in the workforce and focus on roles with growth opportunities and a stable routine. Once you have a steady income, you can start paying off your debt, budget your expenses and repair damaged credit.
- Cut off toxic relationships – Be honest about your friendships and romances. Emotional stress can sometimes be the greatest force to push you back into addiction. Relationships need space and mutual respect. Ending one doesn’t mean the other person is ‘bad’. It’s not a blame game. You’re just looking out for your well-being.
Dr. Richard Nahas suggests that you use the above-mentioned techniques to get your life back on track and keep it that way for the foreseeable future. If you’re still finding it challenging to stay free from drugs, you should talk to your therapist and doctors.