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How to deal with and overcome addiction

Posted by David Williams
on 16 Dec 2019

There continues to be widespread shame, stigma and secrecy over addiction, yet there’s so much more understanding and compassion in our society than people realise.

More than 60 per cent of Britons know someone who faces or has faced addiction and 27 per cent say a family member has suffered, a 2019 YouGov poll found.

The same poll, carried out for the charity Action on Addiction, showed 69 per cent of people thought there should be more support for people facing addiction and 70 per cent wanted more support for affected families.

Knowing that a majority of people have some experience of addiction and want more help to be offered to anyone affected may just help those who feel ashamed or desperate to deny their issue to begin to confront addiction.

Dealing with addiction starts with:

  • facing the issue
  • opening up about your addiction
  • making a decision to consider addiction as a possibility or probability in your life 
  • addressing it as necessary. 

How to deal with addiction

Dealing with addiction requires an understanding of what addiction is and what it is not.

Addiction is not:

  • a choice
  • something that can be overcome with willpower alone
  • about people desiring to continue their addictive behaviour. Often giving up is the thing they want more than anything. 

Addiction is:

  • likely something some people are predisposed or more vulnerable to than others
  • very often a failed coping mechanism. So often, the behaviour begins as a conscious or unconscious attempt to forget past trauma, gain a sense of confidence, attempt to escape anxiety or depression, for example.  
  • something people can move on from, even if they have tried and failed before.
Group of people in circle holding hands

How to deal with addiction when it’s someone else that has the problem

Dealing with addiction is commonly said to only be possible when someone is ready to face their problem. That is true to a certain extent but it is possible to begin dealing with addiction even when the person isn’t yet ready to get help. 

When you care about someone who has an addiction, you can take steps to help them begin to see their problem. 

This includes educating yourself about addiction and treatment, learning how best to raise the issue with them and to communicate positively and compassionately – and doing so as much as you can. Recognising that you may need support too and seeking that out yourself is another powerful step you can take.

Whether you are seeking to help a colleague, employee, loved one or friend and whether the issue is with drugs, alcohol or something else there is information and support available. 

How to deal with your own addiction 

Recognising and accepting you have a problem is, of course, the first step to any recovery from addiction. 

If you are concerned about your own drinking or drug use, it is wise to seek professional advice. 

Few people get well without support, though not everyone requires residential rehab in order to stop drinking, taking substances or other addictive behaviours.

Either way, asking for help is the first step. For further reassurance and a better understanding of the extent of your own problem, you may wish to read up on the signs and symptoms of alcoholism, cocaine addiction and other addictions.

Indicators of addiction include:

  • an inability to abstain even when you planned to
  • indulging more than you intended to in drugs, alcohol, gambling or whatever the addictive issue is
  • physical withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, agitation between uses of alcohol and certain substances, such as opiates
  • failing to meet obligations due to your addiction
  • Loss of interest in other things 

Whilst beginning to accept you have a problem is a huge first step, understanding that getting to grips with addiction and entering and then maintaining recovery is a long process will help you to show yourself the necessary compassion to make it happen. There are many stages of recovery.

How to overcome addiction

Overcoming addiction involves personal change that goes a long way beyond just abstaining.

Most people who have become addicted will find it impossible to abstain if they don’t make the other necessary changes to maintain their abstinence.

That is due to the fact that addiction is most usually a response to something – it is the symptom, not the cause.

To overcome addiction you will likely need to consider and maybe change:

  • how you deal with and express emotions
  • the people you associate with
  • daily habits and routines
  • your feelings and thoughts about yourself
  • what you do to enjoy yourself

These are all tough asks that often require an objective and, most likely, professional eye and input. 

Counselling plays an important part in addiction therapy due to the value in people being able to analyse, assess and change the way they feel about themselves, interact with others, approach and respond to challenges. Along with the fact that addictions often become an escape or crutch when these things are difficult for people. Unearthing and uncovering what led to the addictive behaviour and forming different responses can be vital to sustained recovery.

Others do not need or respond well to talking therapies, but may be hugely changed by finding ways to relax, release and embrace emotion such as through somatic techniques like yoga, meditation, mindfulness and conscious breathing techniques.

How to enjoy sustained addiction recovery

Many people believe they have reached a point of recovery only to relapse which can happen for many reasons.

It’s vital to not fall into the same pattern of denial and shame that kept you in addiction’s grasp initially.

Those people who seek thorough, holistic and tailored support during the rehabilitation and recovery process will be best placed to maintain their recovery. Those people will be best armed with a full understanding of what led them to addiction and how to avoid it happening again. Where relapse does happen, those people will also likely have learned and accepted in recovery that they are fallible, that’s ok and they can get back on track again. 

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How to deal with and overcome addiction
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How to deal with and overcome addiction
There continues to be widespread shame, stigma and secrecy over addiction, Delamere Rehab is here to combat this and explain addiction.
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Delamere Rehab
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About the author: David Williams

David is our General Manager at Delamere. David brings a huge amount of experience from both the hospitality and healthcare sectors. Find out more about David on our team page.

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