Part One – The early days
Before you decided to stop, your drug or alcohol problem was in the driver’s seat. Even when you do stop, those factors that “drive” you to use are still in place. The challenge you face now is to take back the steering wheel and begin to recover. Anyone can stop using drugs or alcohol. But how do we stay stopped?
First things first: Stopping is not a cure. Doing a ‘rattle’ or going ‘cold-turkey’ is not a ‘cure’. Detox is not a ‘cure’. There is no magic wand! You have probably spent years of learning and perfecting your ability to use and stopping will not unlearn these for you. Stopping means you have taken a big first step in getting physically free of drugs or alcohol. However, it’s important to remember that it’s only the beginning.
The drugs or alcohol may be physically gone from your body, but the people, places, problems, situations and emotions that you think led you to drug and alcohol abuse are still there.
Breaking the cycle
Perhaps you have tried before and you have doubts about staying sober and off drugs. You can do it. Not everybody manages it first time around. Treat a past attempt as a learning curve not a failure. Let’s move away from the problem and into the solution.
Maybe you tried to go it alone last time. This time, get help. Ask for help and look in the back of this booklet for further resources. We can help you if you are struggling to stay abstinent. There is also advice available if you need to find better housing, child care, a new job, education and training, advice on benefits, dealing with a bad relationship or anger management, being a better parent, or finding medical help etc. if these are issues it’s going to make your recovery journey harder so getting help now is essential.
Go to local recovery projects or self-help group meetings. These groups are a no-lose situation. They cost nothing, are available almost everywhere and any time, and you can find one that meets your preferences. Others in recovery know what you are going through, the obstacles you face and how to get around them. You have more choices and opportunities than you realise.