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If you need a medical or dental procedure done, be upfront and find a provider who will work with you in either prescribing alternatives or the absolute minimum medication necessary.

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You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use or be denied medication for pain; if that happens, find another provider. Use caution with prescription drugs. If you were addicted to a prescription drug, such as an opioid painkiller, you may need to talk to your doctor about finding alternate ways to manage pain.

Drugs with a high abuse potential include painkillers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medication. Get involved in a distracting activity. Read, see friends, go to a movie, immerse yourself in a hobby, hike, or exercise.

Neuroplasticity and Addiction Recovery | Psychology Today

Talk it through. Talk to friends or family members about craving when it occurs. Talking can be very helpful in pinpointing the source of the craving. Also, talking about craving often helps to discharge and relieve the feeling and will help restore honesty in your relationship. Craving is nothing to feel bad about.

Road to Recovery: New Techniques for Healing

Challenge and change your thoughts. When experiencing a craving, many people have a tendency to remember only the positive effects of the drug and forget the negative consequences. Sometimes it is helpful to have these consequences listed on a small card that you keep with you. Urge surf. Many people try to cope with their urges by toughing it out. But some cravings are too strong to ignore. When this happens, it can be useful to stay with the urge until it passes. This technique is called urge surfing. Imagine yourself as a surfer who will ride the wave of your drug craving, staying on top of it until it crests, breaks, and turns into less powerful, foamy surf.

You can support your drug treatment and protect yourself from relapse by having activities and interests that provide meaning to your life. When your life is filled with rewarding activities and a sense of purpose, your addiction will lose its appeal. Pick up an old hobby or try a new one.

Learn a musical instrument, a foreign language, or try a new sport.

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Adopt a pet. Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for an animal makes you feel loved and needed. Pets can also get you out of the house for exercise. Spend time in nature. Take a scenic hike, go fishing or camping, or enjoy regular walks in a park. Enjoy the arts. Visit a museum, go to a concert or a play, take an art class or write a memoir. Get involved in your community. Replace your addiction with drug-free groups and activities. Volunteer , become active in your church or faith community, or join a local club or neighborhood group.

Set meaningful goals. Having goals to work toward and something to look forward to can be powerful antidotes to drug addiction. Look after your health. Regular exercise , adequate sleep , and healthy eating habits help you keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down. The more you can stay healthy and feel good, the easier it will be to stay sober. Relapse is a common part of the recovery process from drug addiction.

While relapse is frustrating and discouraging, it can be an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, identify additional triggers, and correct your treatment course. While specific causes of relapse differ from person to person, some common triggers include:. Call your sponsor, talk to your therapist, go to a meeting, or schedule an appointment with your doctor. You can choose to get back on the path to recovery and use the experience to strengthen your commitment.

Overcoming Addiction — Find an effective path toward recovery. National Institute on Drug Abuse. How can prescription drug addiction be treated? Crystal Meth Anonymous. Marijuana Anonymous. In the U. Authors: Melinda Smith, M. Last updated: October Share Your Experience. This step-by-step guide can help you cope with cravings and deal with relapse. Think about change Keep track of your drug use, including when and how much you use.

This will give you a better sense of the role the addiction is playing in your life. List the pros and cons of quitting, as well as the costs and benefits of continuing your drug use. Consider the things that are important to you, such as your partner, your kids, your pets, your career, or your health.

How does your drug use affect those things? Ask someone you trust about their feelings on your drug use. What could help you make the change? Preparing for change: 5 key steps to addiction recovery Remind yourself of the reasons you want to change. Think about your past attempts at recovery, if any. What worked? Set specific, measurable goals, such as a start date or limits on your drug use.

Remove reminders of your addiction from your home, workplace, and other places you frequent. Quickly relieve stress without drugs Different quick stress relief strategies work better for some people than others.

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Play with your dog or cat. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in a relaxed position. Take a few deep breaths and focus your attention on your body.

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Notice where in your body you experience the craving or urge and what the sensations feel like. What are the sensations in that area? Describe them to yourself. For example, perhaps you feel hot, cold, tingly, or numb? Maybe your muscles are tense? How large an area is involved? Notice if the sensations change as you focus on them. There is a numbness in my lips.