For people quitting addiction, one of the most difficult aspects is not the actual quitting, is not accepting they have a problem, it’s continuing to maintain that change; it’s keeping momentum. Before I get into that, I’m not saying the other two steps are not a difficult aspect of change for many people. Deciding we actually have a problem with something is not easy at all, and actually finally doing something about it is also very difficult. But in some ways, once those processes are accomplished, what we have left is continuing them on forever, or for as long as we feel is necessary.
Often times what people need in order to keep momentum is support and an ongoing structure to make their changes flourish. But what happens is people go to treatment or some type of recovery program and learn a lot in a very supportive and educational environment and then return to their normal lives where not much is different than before. A plant needs the right type of environment to grow and flourish. So do people, and if we don’t have that, it makes it both easier to cope with addictions and harder to quit them. So it is very important for those who have decided to stop using substances to create an environment that is positive, healthy, and supportive.
Find good support groups, or start your own, that feel healthy and supportive. Work hard to make new friends that support, challenge, and encourage you, helping you stay clean. Make some fundamental changes to how you live your life on a daily basis in order to set yourself up for success. Don’t just hope that therapy or treatment is going to change everything for you. It won’t, I promise. There should be a huge disclaimer to residential treatment that says, “what you experience here is not the same as your real life will be when you return home, and you will need to be very prepared for this.” Treatment and therapy are not magic bullets. They are launching pads.
Support. If people don’t have good support and a system of people around them that are positive and healthy, it will be very difficult to make changes. Many times people are not comfortable around others so it keeps them from reaching out, but it is SO important to find a way to reach out and connect with others that can support you. A plant that grows, grows all by itself but wouldn’t be able to grow without the support of soil, water, and sunlight. It does not make you weak to need support when making huge changes in your life.