Top Ten Tips for Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery can be a long and complicated process. However, there are several tips to help make the journey to long-term sobriety easier.

1) Work with a treatment specialist or treatment center to get the help and support you need to recover.

Treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs generally requires professional help to overcome the entrenched habits and behavior patterns of addiction. Begin with a therapist and explore the addiction treatment options for your unique needs.

If you’re in need of detox or rehab, click here or call 1.866.734.2242

2) Attend regular meetings and seek out support groups such as those offered through the 12 step programs for ongoing recovery support.

Staying away from the addictive substances and behaviors requires a daily commitment to abstinence. This is much more attainable when you are surrounded by a network of supporters and others who understand what you are dealing with and are available to offer encouragement when you feel tempted to relapse into your addiction.

3) Develop self-acceptance through practicing compassion toward yourself.

Mistakes and regrettable behavior go hand in hand while in the middle of an addiction. Often, the seeking of our preferred substance or addictive behavior (gambling, sex, etc) has been our chief objective. It badly clouded our judgment regarding who else might be hurt in the process. An important component of recovery involves learning how to be a better friend to ourselves.

We need to develop a positive regard for our unique self that is realistic and that recognizes our own value regardless of how we look, perform or how others feel about us. A strong sense of self and a commitment to living with integrity and self respect are essential in sustaining recovery long term.

4) Get treatment for co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Often, the addict unknowingly has been self medicating an underlying mood disorder such as depression or anxiety. This must be addressed in order to avoid falling back into the addictive behavior.

5) Practice mindfulness and living in the moment.

The addict or alcoholic may find that worry about the future, and regret and sorrow about the past consume them when they are not under the influence of their substance. New coping skills must be employed immediately to make day to day living more tolerable and the ups and downs of life more acceptable.

Learning to live in the moment, to be present now to the sights, sounds and experiences of today can be a powerful grounding tool when emotionally distressed. Also, deep breathing exercises and meditation can also assist in calming frayed nerves and help one to stop mind tripping into the past or the future.

6) Listen to and honor your feelings and learn to tolerate uncomfortable ones.

The person suffering from drug addiction or alcoholism can be disengaged from their emotional state to avoid dealing with uncomfortable feelings. Learning to tolerate uncomfortable feelings is crucial to long term recovery from addiction.

7) Avoid triggering events and people until you feel secure enough in your recovery that the temptation will not overwhelm you.

It may be helpful to stay away from former places where you used to practice your addiction, such as bars, parties, etc. Give yourself time to develop a deep and lasting commitment to recovery behaviors before placing yourself in situations that may cause you to crave your addictive substance or behavior.

8) Accept your addiction and practice abstinence.

Denial is a hallmark of addiction. The belief that “I am not that bad, I will quit tomorrow, etc” characterizes the mindset of a practicing alcoholic or addict. This denial must be confronted and shattered. Acceptance that you are not able to tolerate ingestion of this substance or engaging in a specific addictive behavior is an important daily step.

9) Have a relapse prevention or correction plan.

Relapse or slips are an all too common problem for those in recovery from an addiction. Changing long held destructive behaviors with drugs and/or alcohol can be extremely difficult. If a relapse happens, it is important to remember that all is not lost and that the same skills that helped you become sober and clean before are available to you right now, to pick up and re­commit to your recovery journey.

10) Develop faith and trust in God and let go of what you cannot control.

A hallmark personality trait of those that struggle with addiction is a tendency to feel the need to control people, places and things. An uncertain outcome can be extremely anxiety producing for the addict or alcoholic. This often results in attempts to manipulate others, events and situations to obtain the desired outcome of the individual.

This comes at a steep cost, as the loved ones, coworkers and friends of the person suffering typically object to this controlling behavior and pull away from the person. Learning to trust in a wise and all loving God/Spiritual Power can be a powerful tool in resisting the unhealthy urge to try to control life.

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Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800–662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline. You can also find treatment centers here.

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Originally published at on October 15, 2015.