Your Abstinence Action Plan

If you struggle with drug abuse, a time may come when you feel ready to quit. Often this happens after drug-related behavior results in serious consequences, and you determine, with all the best intentions, to leave a life of drug use behind for good.

This is an important mental change, and one that can mean the beginning of your recovery. However, not all good intentions actually lead to successful treatment for alcohol abuse or drug abuse. Though we may fervently hope to become abstinent, we need a plan, structure and support to free us from the hard-to-escape cycle of behavior that perpetuates addiction.

Though seeking out addiction treatment is a strong step towards recovery, it will help to have a plan as you work on achieving abstinence for the first time. We will help you through this process, but you can bolster your chances of successfully overcoming addiction with quitting strategies like these:

Stop Using Now

You may feel that gradually reducing your use will be easier than quitting cold turkey, but this is usually not the case. If you continue to use your drug of choice in any degree, you will reinforce cravings for that drug and increase the risk of returning to more intense use. Instead of fighting yourself over whether or not you should allow yourself to use, make a decision to stop using completely, right now. This is true of other drugs as well—even if you don’t have problems with other substances, they can reduce your inhibition and make you more likely to return to using your drug of choice.

Set Short-Term Goals

Though you should aim to stop using immediately, lifelong abstinence isn’t something anyone can achieve instantaneously. You may sincerely intend to never use again, but instead of focusing on this monumental goal, it’s better go one step at a time by setting goals you can achieve quickly and easily. If you focus on staying abstinent for just one full week, you’ll encourage yourself by reaching this goal and see that you can achieve the same goal in the next week as well.

Seek Out Support

Recovery can be a difficult, emotionally-draining experience, and it will help to have others there to support you along the way. Joining a self-help group like AA or NA or a recovery group led by an addiction specialist can provide you with immediate access to a broad and supportive network to help you through this time. However, it will also help to enlist the support of family members and friends. These people can provide much-needed encouragement and emotional support, and involving them in your addiction treatment program can help them start to learn the best ways to help you and how their actions may have enabled your drug use in the past.

Quitting strategies like these can be valuable elements of your action plan as you work to achieve abstinence, but remember: we all need a little help to deal with the difficulties of drug addiction. Talk to your counselor or psychologist about how to incorporate these strategies and others into your addiction treatment program.


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