How to Embrace Pain as a Way to Overcome Addiction

The path to overcoming addiction is a long and arduous one and is an emotionally draining experience for both the patient and their friends and family. The vast majority of addicts begin abusing substances as a way to mask pain or anxiety about some event or trauma that may have occurred in their lives. Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol is a common technique that many people use when going through difficulties, but the addictive nature of these substances can quickly grab hold of a person and begin to dominate their lives. When attempting to quit drugs or alcohol, the pain that was being suppressed will rise to the surface once the patient becomes sober, and it is often far greater the second time around. Rather than attempting to mask this pain, embracing it will allow you to finally come to terms with any deep-rooted emotions you may have and will also teach you some valuable coping skills for the future.


Forgive Yourself


Wallowing in self-pity does not help the situation and will only make it harder to move forward. Accept your past mistakes and realise that what’s done is done, and vow to start rebuilding your life a piece at a time. Overcoming addiction does not happen overnight, and will take huge amounts, of strength, endurance and patience from both you and your support network.


Seek Help


There are many different rehab programmes that use various approaches to help patients overcome addiction. The traditional 12-step program is the most well-known, but many consider this method of rehabilitation to be outdated. Non-12-step programs such as have been found to have a greater chance of curing addiction and helping patients to remain sober years later. Complementary and alternative therapies have also been found to increase a patient’s chances of recovery, so look for any yoga classes, acupuncture clinics, drumming therapy groups or meditation workshops in your area.


Begin Rebuilding Relationships


It is important to remember that your loved ones have suffered just as much as you have during your addiction, so extending some compassion towards them is vital to begin repairing your personal relationships. Arrange to sit down with each of your friends and family separately to listen to anything they have to get off their chest. You do not have to grovel or beg for forgiveness during this time. An acknowledgment of how your actions have affected your loved ones and a simple apology will be greatly appreciated.


Recovering from addiction is a different process for each and every addict, and what works for the majority may not work for you. Don’t be afraid to try different rehab programs until you find one that works for you, and occasional relapses or difficult periods are all part of the recovery process and should not be viewed as failures. With the support of trained counsellors and a strong support network of family and friends, you will be able to get your life back on track in no time, and you might even consider putting your experience to good use and assisting others on their journey to sobriety.


Laura Richardson is an experienced psychologist. She frequently blogs about effective strategies for dealing with difficult situations.

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