When you are battling an illness, it can feel like you’re in the fight alone. When the disease you’re fighting is addiction, that sense of being isolated and misunderstood can be especially strong. You may, in fact, welcome that feeling of isolation, of being left alone to fall into your disease. After all, your addiction doesn’t judge or reject you. However, it destroys your body, relationships, and life.
That is precisely why isolating is the last thing you should do when you’re battling addiction. When your adversary seeks to destroy you in solitude, your greatest strength is in numbers.
Why It Matters
Substance abuse is dangerous because it’s subtle. After all, using substances, whether for medicinal purposes, relaxation, or celebration, isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s as old as human history itself.
The problem is that you don’t always recognize when substance use mutates into substance abuse. Consider alcohol. It’s inexpensive and readily available. You can pluck it from the shelves of most grocery stores. It punctuates practically every special occasion, from birthdays and anniversaries to graduations and dinners out with friends. Alcohol can also be one of the first things people reach for when they’re feeling stressed or anxious.
For all its ubiquity, you’d think alcohol would be harmless, but alcohol, when misused, has the power to ravage most systems in the body from your cardiovascular system to your kidneys. It can even affect your reproductive organs.
The effects of alcohol on the central nervous system manifest not just in normal drunken behavior, but alcohol also impacts your emotions. It causes everything from rage to depression and paranoia, and that systematically destroys your physical health as well as your mental health. This doesn’t even include the effects that alcohol has on your personal and professional relationships.
Battling addiction is about more than just recognizing you have a problem and then committing to quitting. That’s not only physically dangerous, but it’s also the surest way to set yourself up for failure. No one, no matter how strong you are or how determined you might be, can do it alone.
The first step is to recognize that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. That’s why it’s important to find the program that is right for you. Your approach will depend a great deal on your history of abuse, like the type of drug, how long you’ve been using, and how much. There are some addictions, such as addictions to opioids and benzodiazepines, that require medical intervention to safely detoxify the body.
No matter what substance you are battling, you may find safer, natural alternatives to help you manage the effects of withdrawal. A number of herbal remedies, for example, have been found to help users break the cycle of addiction: valerian root for sedative dependence, kudzu for alcohol abuse, and ibogaine for opiate withdrawal. If you were using a substance to combat chronic pain, natural pain relievers like kratom and willow bark can help you while you get clean.
Speak with your counselor or support group to help you explore the options that might be right for you. If you choose to go the holistic route, there are great programs that can help you connect with the experts specializing in alternative medicines. They have the tools, resources, and know-how to help ease your journey.
Don’t Go It Alone
No matter what treatment plan you choose, the important thing is that you enlist help. After all, the drug wants nothing more than for its call to be the only voice you hear.
When you have made the decision to get clean, that’s when you also need to make the decision to get connected. You might consider massage therapy or art therapy, looking into yoga, meditation, or mindfulness, or even examining experiential therapy. There are also plenty of telehealth options to aid you on your road to recovery.
When you’re choosing your treatment strategy, you should also strongly consider the benefits of group therapy. With group counseling, you are automatically connected with an entire support team, and you also get the added benefit of different perspectives and experiences. That means more tools for your recovery toolbox!
Recovering your physical, mental, and emotional health is a long and difficult process, but you don’t have to fight your addiction alone. Indeed, you shouldn’t. Instead, surround yourself with a strong support network and work with them to develop the recovery program that works best for you. There is life after addiction, but no one gets there alone.