Imagine, for a moment, the analogy of a man or woman trapped in a well. After an unlucky slip, this person falls into a dark pit. Their only comfort is the solid ground upon which they land. Every other element causes fear – the fall, the darkness, the isolation and uncertainty.
Drug addiction is a lot like that. Except there’s no solid ground upon which to land. Drug abusers tumble into addiction’s abyss with nothing to stop the fall except jail, death or complete loss of everything in life. I know because I took the tumble. But there is a way out.
I’m not writing this article from an academic perspective. I’m not a therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist. What I have to offer is my experience crawling out of the pit of addiction to drugs. I’ve also worked with many addicts and their families to help nourish freedom from drug addiction. So I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.
I know how to quit drugs because I’ve done it. And you can too. I’ve been sober from alcohol and drugs for over 9 years.
First of all, addicts who stay sober for one year or longer usually follow five simple suggestions. They get into sober housing, actively work with a sponsor, designate a home group, meditate regularly and have sober friends.
The good news is sustained sobriety – consistent abstinence – from drugs is possible. It’s no walk in the park. But most good things in life require commitment and perseverance. Staying sober from drugs and alcohol is no different.
Start by asking yourself some of the following questions:
- Am I a truly happy person on drugs, or am I just using the drug to hide my inner discontent?
- How have drugs impacted my life in negative ways?
- What have I lost as a result of drug addiction?
- What will happen to me if I continue to abuse drugs?
- How do I perceive myself in light of my addiction?
- How do I think others perceive me in light of my addiction?
- Can I ever be the person I want to be and continue to abuse drugs?
- Do I lie, cheat or steal in order to obtain drugs?
- Am I able to develop lasting relationships while using drugs?
- How would my life improve if I stopped using drugs?
- What do I really desire to do with my life, and how are drugs keeping me from achieving my dreams?
It’s not easy, especially for an addict, to ask these questions and answer them honestly. I used alcohol and drugs to hide from guilt and shame that was a result of my addiction. Yet the emotional pain these questions may bring will go a long way in fueling the decision to change. Ask and answer honestly. Write your answers down on a sheet of paper. If you aren’t willing to do something this simple, then you probably aren’t ready to quit drugs.
Exercises to develop a willingness to quit drugs. Write a list of things you want to accomplish in life, but cannot due to addiction. This list should include:
- Would you like to own one day (a house, a particular car, etc)?
- What benevolent causes would you donate to if in a financial position to do so?
- Would you start a savings account?
- If yes, how much would you like to save?
- How much will you need to retire comfortably?
- Do you want to invest in stocks or start a 401(k)?
- What have you always aspired to be in life?
- Do you have to have a particular type of education to qualify for that profession?
- Once you get that job, what would you like to accomplish professionally (if you start at an entry-level position)?
- What kind of person would you like to become?
- What kind of ethics do you want to practice?
- Do you want to get married and have a family?
- What kind of qualities will you look for in friends?
- What are you willing to do to get sober?
Feel free to add any additional questions of your own design. Highlight the supplied answers and keep them readily accessible in a wallet or purse. Whenever you are tempted to use again or feel dedication slipping, reread your goals.