Drug addiction is a trap that is very difficult to escape once you fall into if not for sheer will and determination.
One destructive thought most people thinking about quitting drugs fall victim to is the belief that with a strong will, they can control their drug use and can choose to stop the behavior if they want to.
This thinking encourages the ‘just this once won’t hurt’ thinking that never ends well.
On the road to recovery from severe drug addiction, the first step is recognizing the problem, which is quite challenging.
After that, there are several other hurdles that you would have to overcome until you can adjust completely to a life free of drugs.
Even if you have completed addiction recovery treatment, the threat of relapse is very real; in fact, research shows that more than 85% of drug users relapse after a year.
There is no denying that you will face challenges, but dealing with them is important.
It is necessary that you first acknowledge the problems you are going to face; we will be discussing some common challenges that recovering addicts face on the road to recovery.
1. Not giving into relapse triggers and cravings
You are bound to experience cravings like you used to before you decided to quit but facing these cravings is much harder when you have vowed not to engage in drug use again.
It causes significant emotional and physical distress when you have to avoid giving in to cravings. If you have joined a rehab or treatment center like the Delphi Health Group, their long-term relapse prevention programs will also guide you to identify and escape addiction triggers and remain sober.
High-risk situations like drug partners, suppliers, or places of previous drug use are likely to trigger the urge to relapse, and relapse prevention programs will help you develop healthy coping mechanisms.
2. Developing alternative coping strategies
Drug users come to rely on drugs to alleviate stress and emotional hardships. Recovering addicts will face numerous problems, including the physical symptoms of withdrawal and the feelings of shame or embarrassment.
Overcoming these issues without having their previous go-to solution of drugs is quite a challenge. Often drug users are ridiculed or rejected by their loved ones while being cut off from the last company of drug users or suppliers.
It requires a great deal of bravery and emotional resilience to overcome all this without the addictive substances. The urge to relapse also intensifies during these emotionally exhausting periods.
3. Adapting to the change in relationship dynamics
Your social circle has a significant impact on the direction in which your addiction recovery journey moves.
Overcoming drug addiction requires a major shift in relationships. You have to give up your bond with other drug users and suppliers and develop ties with a healthy social group.
At the same time, recovering addicts have to mend ties with their family and friends who are likely to have distanced themselves from them because of their addiction problem.
Healthy relationships founded on mutual respect, compassion, honesty, trust, security, and support are important when recovering from addiction.
This comes as a challenge for addicts used to being cut off from others and not tied in any close relationship.
4. Overcoming boredom
When in a treatment program, you have a carefully structured routine to follow with a series of group meetings and a specified time for exercise, personal reflection, and meals.
Once you have completed rehab and entered into your old routine, you will find plenty of free time on your hands.
Previously, you spent a lot of time on drug-related activity, and now boredom sets in when you have nothing fun to do. This boredom can be a major threat for recovering addicts, compelling them to relapse.
For most, finding an activity that they enjoy as much as they used to enjoy the feelings induced by drugs is difficult. Drug use is known to activate your reward center so that other activities are no longer as pleasurable as drug use.
You probably won’t find many things interesting but engage as much as you can in new sports, reading, or work.
5. Recovering from co-existing mental health problems
Mental health issues are very common in drug addicts; research shows that nearly half of all substance use disorder sufferers have some co-occurring mental health problems.
If these mental health problems are left untreated, overcoming drug addiction becomes even more challenging than it is for others.
Major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, PTSD, ADHD, and personality disorders are commonly reported co-occurring mental health problems in drug users.
Once you have decided to do something about your drug problem, the road ahead is one of many hurdles and unpredictable challenges.
Relapse triggers, relationship problems, unhealthy coping habits, boredom, and accompanying mental illnesses will make your struggle even harder.
However, with enough social support and professional help, there is no challenge you cannot overcome.
Remain steadfast once you have decided to quit, and no matter how ashamed or guilty you feel, know that your efforts will lead to a much better life ahead.