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Addiction is a hard battle that many are facing. No one chooses to become an addict, and it does not happen overnight. Perhaps you have been struggling with addiction for a long time and you would like to come out of its crippling, cold grasp. You are probably aware that the road to recovery is a long one, but with determination and hard work, you can successfully kick your addiction and begin living the life you deserve. Here are three ways you can start your journey today.

Find a treatment program
Treatment at a rehabilitation center will enable you to regain control of your life by counteracting the disruptive effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain. Substance abuse typically begins when a tolerance is developed for the drug of choice. Developing a tolerance causes you to use the drug more frequently and in higher quantities to achieve a high. After using for an extended period of time, your body develops a chemical dependency. A treatment center will break this cycle by helping you get off of the drug and take the steps necessary to cure the chemical dependency. A successful program will give you the tools you need to live a healthy life. There is not one specific treatment for everyone battling addiction. It may take several attempts to find the treatment that works for you, so do not be discouraged if you do not find it right away.

Eliminate your triggers
Once you decide to become sober, you will need to make a few important changes immediately. First, you have to stop hanging around friends who still use drugs or abuse alcohol. Hanging with people who are still battling addiction will only thwart your progress and tempt you to relapse. Make the effort to find a group of sober people to befriend that won’t encourage your old behavior. Avoid any old hangouts that you associate with drug use and steer clear of nightclubs and bars. Even if alcohol wasn’t your form of addiction, drinking can impair your judgment and lead you to relapse. While you are eliminating these triggers, fill your time with more productive and healthy hobbies. Participate in activities that spark your imagination and challenge your creativity, such as an art class or a reading club. The more you participate in positive activities the less time you will spend trying to ward off a relapse.

Identify your support group
Having a support system is essential for successfully recovering from addiction. Your support group doesn’t have to be large in quantity, they just need to be available to lend an ear or a helping hand when you need it most. Your support can come from family members, old friends, or members of your church. As you begin your recovery journey, reach out to them and let them know that you are committing yourself to living a life without addiction. Inform them that they can offer support by offering words of encouragement and helping you stay on track in the face of temptation. Friends and family will prove to be your cheering section, and they will boost your confidence as you become stronger. Know, too, that your support system doesn’t have to be made up only of humans. Four-legged friends can play a vital role in addiction recovery as they help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and offer the unconditional love you need now more than ever.

Struggling with addiction is a lonely, isolating path. The reason you are choosing to break away from its ugly restraints is because you want to have a better life. Not only do you deserve it, it is already there waiting for you. All you have to do is ignite the flame, and try your best to never look back. Be proud of any accomplishments you make on this journey and share those moments with those who want nothing but the best for you. You are well on your way to living a happy, healthy, and sober life.

Author: Adam Cook
Reprinted with permission from The Prevention Coalition.