A reader writes in and asks: “How can I permanently beat drug addiction?”
Well the answer to that is a bit tricky. No one can permanently beat addiction because there is always a chance for relapse. No one is permanently cured and if you put your drug of choice back into your body some day it is going to reactivate your addiction in a split second and you will be off to the races again. It doesn’t matter if it has been 30 years since your last use, we are all still vulnerable to a potential relapse. There is no cure for addiction.
On the other hand, I think the question still begs for an answer that can lead to positive action in the life of the recovering addict. Why not? We can still work towards the ultimate solution for our own recovery, even though we know that realistically we are never cured and can never safely take drugs again. In that sense, we can seek to find a way of living that insures our continuous sobriety. This is what recovery is all about.
So if you want beat drug addiction a day at a time, here are some recommendations that have worked for me and for others:
1) Help others in recovery – this is a huge piece of the recovery puzzle and is also the 12th step of the 12 step program. Perhaps nothing can be of greater value to those in recovery and nothing can provide greater insurance against relapse. If you are working hard to help others in recovery on a regular basis then it is very likely that you will not relapse. Is it still possible? Sure, people still relapse who are engaged in active 12 step work. But if your efforts at helping others are genuine then you will have a huge advantage in staying clean and sober.
2) Push yourself to grow continuously – the only enemy in long term recovery is complacency. Seriously, what do you think you have left to conquer after a few years in recovery? There real challenge is in staying active and to keep learning and to keep growing. There is no “graduation” in recovery and you are never cured, so the only way to insure sobriety is to keep pushing forward and to keep growing. Those who stagnate and stop growing in recovery are risking relapse.
3) Seek holistic growth – addiction is sneaky and relapse can sneak into your life in an unexpected way. Our addiction affected us in many areas and we need to seek growth in all areas of our life in order to recover. A holistic approach is therefore key to long term success in recovery.
Now of course we are never at a point where we are completely free from addiction and can now control our drug intake like a “normal person” might, but we can secure an awesome new life in recovery for ourselves and keep making continuous, positive growth. This is the point that you want to reach in your recovery–where things just keep getting better and better, and each new goal is exciting and challenging for you to overcome.