Most of the people, find it very easy getting off alcohol and other drugs and it's not the hardest part for them to overcome an addiction.
Living free of drugs and alcohol is the real challenge. There are a number of reasons for this and one among them is the fact that you now feel the pain that you have always been fleeing. This pain may come in various forms such as a past trauma or having to live with a condition that has made you feel unwanted. None of these problems are small even on your best day but dealing with them in addition to treating an addiction can make life a lot more difficult. When a pattern of abusing has been created, regardless of the causes that spurred the substance abuse, you might be unfamiliar with other ways to live your life, especially to overcome traumatic situations. You may not begin to feel that you have any coping strategies such as problem-solving skills, self-care techniques and other methods of dealing with issues that are buried underneath the haze of alcohol and drugs.
When you decide to stop using alcohol or drugs and in particular, after a long history of substance abuse, you are likely to be swamped by an avalanche of painful emotions. This feelings can be severely overpowering for you and the people close to you especially when you are not ready for such emotions and you are uncertain of what to do which might leave you thinking that a life of being sober is like that. It comes as no surprise that many people turn back to the bottle or drugs despite having the best in intentions not to do so. It's a good idea to find support if these things sound familiar to you. Make an attempt to find the methods which can slow down the release of pent-up emotions as the pace will begin to feel manageable rather than overwhelming.
Some people fall into extreme depression after the detoxification. You may have to come back down to reality if the drugs or alcohol you were using were the ones keeping you positive.
This will in most cases not just overwhelm you but also result in deep disappointment as you had hoped for an improvement in your life. Even so, don't throw in the towel. Things will get better.
It is important to find a reason to be hopeful at this point since you're only starting to process the information you're receiving. Hearing about how others have turned around and how they have managed to do it can also be helpful in this regard. You'll wish to know that what you can look forward to, and what you can expect, even if not right at the moment at least in the near future. Some of the most common benefits which you can avail of are increased self-respect, self-confidence and self-love, which can again set you on the path where you came from.
Since people recovering from addiction to drug and alcohol abuse are unique individuals who will not all respond to the same therapeutic methods, there are a number of techniques that may help.
At the very start, as a coping method, many people need a very pragmatic and realistic one.
This relates looking for practical ways to:
Openness is a critical component to recovery and you can work on this by being realistic. Going for goals that are actually achievable rather than those that sound good is what the realistic approach is all about. You can always set a high bar for yourself but do not set yourself up for failure. The one thing you do not need is to come up with an unrealistic plan which forces you into lies or leaves you feeling ashamed that you could not achieve it. Being realistic may mean that you work on some of your issues before quitting so that you may begin reducing your alcohol or drug use gradually. Or, to completely stop. The route you decide to go on should be the one best suitable for your conditions.
More intense and longer term therapy may be what you need to help you stay free of drugs or alcohol.
This means that whichever issues initially led to your addiction will also have to be addressed first be they emotional trauma, stress at work or at home, feeling like you don't fit in etc. In some cases it could mean dealing with current life situations such as an absent or abusive spouse.
Dealing with these issues is not a small matter and it may require the intervention of a professional such as a psychotherapist in a one to one or group setting. Many have to do this comprehensive work in order to stay sober, while others don't. Many people find that their reason of abusing alcohol or drugs in the first place is intimately connected to the deeper issues. The need to rely on drugs or alcohol might be decreased by dealing with these problems.
Similar to what happens when quitting drugs and alcohol, overcoming painful circumstances will often hurt before it can get better. Long-term benefits, like being satisfied with yourself, living your life to the full and being free, happy and more alive, will make your dedication worth it even if you initially feel like you are not getting better.
It is tempting to declare that there is only one way to quit drugs and alcohol. Many have the desire to believe that there is a solution that can help anyone or a firm answer for all. However, life and people are rarely that simple. I have looked at many people using different methods that worked for them to overcome substance abuse (and others that significantly decreased their intake). Look to yourself to find the solution that will work best for you. Give it a try if it feels right. Sobriety in the long term may start with that single step.