The meat and bread of addiction is the urge to use drugs or alcohol. Unless you have endured the trauma and difficulty of quitting drugs or alcohol, it is impossible to fully understand the power of the cravings for drugs. Rehabilitation clinics, like Scottsdale Recovery Center, have dedicated themselves to the highest possible success rates for rehab, but there is a host of difficulties and roadblocks on the way to recovery. Even with treatment, avoiding use of the substances that landed a person in therapy is difficult. Imagine getting used to being happy every morning, and one morning you feel sad. That sad morning is scary, shocking, and uncomfortable. Alleviating that sad feeling might become your focus, and if not your focus, something that bothers you through the rest of the day. This example, though, is only a shadow of the power of drug cravings.
The need for a drug can send a person fresh out of rehab right back into their old habits, and it’s possible they may go deeper, and be further gone by the time they are able to confront their problem again. Rehab can be difficult for some: admitting to the problem, though a tough first step, is just the first step. Admitting oneself to a place for help requires a huge leap of faith, bottomless bravery, and infinite support from friends and family. For some, rehab can begin as if they’re rolling a boulder up a hill: the longer they’re away from their drugs, the harder it is for them to function. Fortunately, rehabilitation centers are equipped and ready for the strongest cravings.
But what about when someone is deemed fit to leave rehab? A recovered person is actually quite vulnerable: in the United States, the rate of relapse is high. Some people can name celebrities whose journey with drugs and rehab has been widely publicized, further cementing the fact that wealthy and famous people are as human as anyone you’ve ever met.
Across the United States, the rate of successful completion of rehab and subsequent maintenance of sobriety is estimated at between 40% and 50%. This is a scary number to some – it means that the majority of drug-addicted individuals never make it out of their addiction. This number, though, focuses specifically on the number of individuals who both complete rehab, and remain sober, not simply those who seek out treatment. Drug treatment centers don’t always have the resources to continue supporting those who need additional support, as many others need immediate attention and assistance.
The importance of a strong network of supportive people around a recovering person cannot be overstated. If a person is able to complete their rehabilitation program, whether it takes 30, 60, or 90 days, the real battle happens when they are on their own, and away from the watchful eyes of counselors and doctors. Freedom from addiction can mean that a person is once again vulnerable to the wiles of drugs and alcohol.
With so much pressure stacked against them, how anyone could hope to stay clean and sober is beyond what most are able to grasp. For those lucky enough to make it through that portion of their journey, staying sane and away from drugs and alcohol requires a new type of mindfulness, and management of one’s own self. Drug cravings will inevitably occur after rehab. The way that a person handles the cravings determines whether they go on, or whether they return to a rehabilitation center. If you or someone you know has left rehab, it’s important to find ways to mitigate drugs cravings. Friends and family can help, too – listening to a recovering person’s difficulties may be hard to handle emotionally, but the good it does for a recovering person is invaluable.
Being surrounded by a loving and supportive network of people is a firm foundation for success in recovery from drug addiction. With a crowd of people cheering a person on, it can be easier to stay motivated to keep one’s self on the road to better health and a longer life. Change isn’t easy for anyone, but reaching out to friends and family is an excellent way to deal with drug cravings.
If reaching out to the network isn’t feasible, then having a long exercise session can also help overcome a craving. One workout won’t save anyone from a succession of cravings, but it can distract a person until the craving passes. Meanwhile, the physical work is doing another favor to the body, in addition to avoiding drugs!
Another great strategy for managing drug cravings after one has left rehab is taking up a hobby. Music is a popular hobby among those who’ve survived addiction. Try listening to a new and different artist, singing, playing an instrument, learning to play a new instrument, attending a music event, or even spending time where musicians play outside for tips. Don’t forget to tip the musician!
It is possible that a doctor may recommend an anti-craving drug for a person to continue their journey to better health. There are dozens of anti-craving drugs on the market, and available by prescription only. Having that option may make the day-to-day of a recovering addicted person a little easier. Some drugs are surprising – bacolfen, a muscle relaxant, for example, has been known to curb cocaine cravings.
If there’s still a shrinking gap between someone’s cravings and satisfying those cravings, the option to phone a counselor, or the center at which they recovered is a good option. Some clinics, like Scottsdale Recovery Center, actively offer the services of their counselors after a person has completed the program. This also allows the center to continue to be an actively positive driving force in the life of those recovering from addiction.
No matter where you are, if you’re living with addiction, trying to free yourself from the effects, or concerned about relapse, it’s important to reach out for help. There is always someone willing, and ready, to keep you away from harm.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.