If you are thinking you want to stop using mind altering substances, but can’t seem to make the change, here are some pointers that I’ve learned throughout my lifetime.
1. Go to DETOX.
Do yourself a favor and find a medical detox you can go to. Trying to stop drinking or using on your own can be dangerous. At the detox you are able to stay away from your dealer, your using friends and the addictive substance. You will be separated from the addictive substances safely. There are medical staff there to aid in your detox by using medications unique to you. While you are at detox, you will sleep and eat, and get your head cleared up. Look at this as your time to begin to heal and be aligned with your sober ideals and what you want for yourself. It may also be a time to mourn the loss of your crutch. In any case, you will be in the right place.
2.Go get tested.
Wherever you are in your disease, you should always get a work up at the Doctors or local clinic. We do things in our disease that we wouldn’t do normally, like have unprotected sex or sharing needles. Therefore, blood work should be done for STD’s, HEP C, and HIV testing. This is your responsibility to do and it will put your mind at rest. If you are still using and having unprotected sex, get some condoms for yourself. If you’re an IV drug user, go to the needle exchange and stock up on supplies. There, you will be able to get the harm reduction gear to keep you safe.
3.Do ninety meeting in ninety days in a 12 step program.
One of the first things I learned in recovery was to do ninety meetings in ninety days. That means going to a 12 step or SMART meeting, everyday. It cushions you from relapse in the beginning of your recovery. It helps lay the foundation for success in staying clean and sober.
4. Get a sponsor.
Don’t overthink it, just do it. At your 12 step meetings you can find someone to call and talk to. Look for people you relate to or who’s sobriety you like. Consider how much clean time they have too. You don’t want someone with less time than you. Sponsors are there to take you through the 12 steps and guide you through your sobriety. Commit to them and stick with them, throughout your step-work. Listen to their suggestions and try to follow them. Work with another addict/alcoholic is the crux of the 12 step program.
5. Talk to a professional about your mental health.
By now you should have a routine going and are settling down. Now you can take the time to follow through on this aspect of recovery. Getting on the right meds takes time and you want to be sure to follow through with each of them. My own journey with depression caused me to feel hopeless and suicidal. It was important that I was stabilized with the right medicines in order to stay clean. You too may have been using as a way to self medicate.
There is much more to life than recovering from drugs and alcohol. These steps should put you on a good path towards living free from use. Keep up the good fight and I’ll see you in the rooms. NLM