Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

Four Steps for those in Addiction Recovery to Change Their Lives

Addiction recovery is one of the hardest things that addicts will ever have go through in their life, but there are five key steps that will help them get through it and change their lives.


Before someone in addiction recovery starts on these steps, they need to make sure they have received the right help from qualified medical staff – whether that is counselling, a medical detox, drug therapy – whatever is the right approach for them. Once they have given up the drugs and started to address your addiction with the proper treatment, then they are in the right place to start changing their lives.


  1. Create a New Life

If you cling on to your old life, you are increasing the risk of relapsing back into your old ways. Just giving up is only a very small part of recovering from addition. Things have to change and you have to create a new life for yourself. You don’t have to move towns or cities, unless you really think that is what is needed.  But there are some positive steps you can make that will help you get through and change your life in the long term.

  • Don’t keep a bottle in the cupboard or a little bit of something under the bed, just in case. You are setting yourself up for a fall
  • Keep away from the bars that encouraged your addiction
  • Don’t drive through your dealer’s neighbourhood, you are dangling temptation right in front of you
  • Keep away from the people who encourage your addiction or those who trigger your addiction. If you seriously want to change then you need to remove them from your life.
  • Do you need to move house? Do you live close to your dealer, next to a liquor store, across from a bar or just close by to people who are a bad influence? If so, then this might be a necessary action.
  • Remove any paraphernalia related to your habit from your house – this is just reminding you and putting temptation in the way
  • Identify high risk situations and try to avoid them. Write them down and keep them with you. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid them completely and sometimes they sneak up on you, but at least if you know what they are then you can take measures to handle the situation when it arises. It may save your life!


  1. Find People You Can Relay on and Who You Can Go to For Help

Attempting addiction recovery on your own is hard. It is how many people fail. You need a group of people around you who can help – a recovery circle. You don’t have to do this on your own. They might be family, friends, and people from a recovery group, counsellors or health professionals. There are lots of people out there who know what you are going through and they are there to help, you just have to find the ones who you get on with and the ones you know you can turn to.


Self-help groups like Alcoholics Anoymous (AA), Narcotics Anoymous (NA) Marijuana Anonymous (MA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA) have been shown to significantly increase the likelihood of people successfully recovering from their addictions.


  1. Be honest

You need to be honest with yourself and those around you who are helping you. This might sound obvious and a simple thing to do, but as most addicts have spent their whole addiction lying to themselves and people they care about, this is a huge and necessary challenge. You are only going to get the help of loved ones if you are honest with them. The chances are they are fed up with the lies and lying about anything you are doing relating to your recovery could ruin that relationship for good.


Addicts become so good at lying; they almost forget who they really are. So honesty is going to take dedication and work.


  1. Look after yourself

This might go without saying too, but it is a crucial step. Looking after yourself might mean starting with checking into a rehab center, whether that is as an outpatient or staying on site. This is the first step in the right direction. In these facilities you will get a chance to start taking part in other fun activities that help distract you from your addiction – sport, exercise, yoga, arts and crafts. These are the sorts of activities that will help get you out of the dangerous places and circumstances that lead to using when you leave the facility. And they will help you to realise that you can do fun and enjoyable activities without relying on drugs or alcohol.


These sorts of activities will help to keep you calm and relaxed rather than irritable, exhausted and angry – all the feelings that lead you to using in a bid to escape.


Meditation is often encouraged. There is actually evidence that yoga, mindfulness and meditation will help people to give up drugs and alcohol.


This is all part of changing your life. If you use drugs or alcohol to try to feel better about yourself, you need activities that can replace that habit.


Nutrition is also a key part of changing your life. If you are eating lots of green vegetables, lean meats and pulses in tasty recipes and drinking lots of water, your body is going to react. It will be starting to get the nutrients it needs to function properly. You will start to replace the nutrients you lost during your drug using time, you will feel more energetic, your skin will look better, you will feel more healthy. All of these feelings all contribute to staying on the right track for recovery.


Some people use the cost of these activities and healthy eating as a barrier, but sit down and write down or have a think about the amount of money you spent on your addiction. You can now channel probably a lot less money into these positive and healthy activities. On top of that, you are going to make a whole new social group who will be a world away from your drug taking circle.