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What should I do to help with my recovery from substance abuse?

Sheila Dunnells
Addiction Medicine
Recovery from substance abuse is a challenge. One of the biggest challenges after you have stopped using, especially if you are a young adult, is changing the people and places associated with your drug days. In short, you will have to find new friends, and if you always got high with your friends at the local cemetery, you will not be able to hang out there anymore. Why? It's a trigger to relapse.
Making new friends is very hard. However, that is one of the many benefits of 12 Step Programs. You will meet people who are also working at sobriety and seeking out healthy alternatives to using substance.

Another ancillary use of your time in recovery is reading. Check out the self-help section and become very knowledgeable about the effects of drug abuse on your life. Explore topics such as Co-Dependency; COA's, family roles and anger management.

Also, invest in the Daily Meditation books offered. They will keep you focused on a higher power, which most people in recovery find necessary.
Kathy Sowder
Psychology
You can help your recovery by building a support team of friends and family who want you to stay clean and sober, and by being honest with them and yourself when you need help. You will need to stay away from old using friends, and find some sober activities that you enjoy to fill your time. You can help yourself by finding support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, and attending meetings regularly, as well as getting a sponsor to guide you. You can also identify your triggers to use, which may be people, places, or feelings, and find ways to deal with each of these. You can establish healthy routines of eating, exercising, and sleeping. If you need additional help, find a treatment center of a counselor who is licensed in treating substance abuse.
Fredrick Wade
Addiction Medicine
One of the primary tools of staying sober is learning the practice of expressing the thoughts and feelings that may lead to relapse.  Consistently doing so will greatly diminish your potential for relapse.  Adding this coping skill to your recovery assures that you will most always seek out help when needed. This coupled with your ability to self-report means you will rarely find yourself alone with the day-to-day problems and stressors of life.  It is also true that a primary relapse syndrome is the act of not expressing feelings and or thoughts that may lead to relapse.  
Your healthcare providers and counselors can only do so much to help you recover from substance abuse, but you can help by making simple lifestyle changes. Find new activities and hobbies and take care of yourself by exercising and eating well. Physical activity and eating better will help you feel better. Get enough rest and consider relaxation exercises, meditation or stress management classes.

Strengthen your existing relationships with family and friends and consider making new ones. As you build new relationships, you may want to get rid of some old ones with people who drink excessively or encourage you to do so.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.