Although every addict is different in some way or another, all addicts have two things in common. The first is that they have an addiction, and the second is that in almost all cases they developed the addiction because they were struggling with some sort of problem in their life. All too often, individuals turn to drugs or alcohol as a solution to a problem that they are dealing with.
When a group of addicts were asked what problems they were trying to solve by resulting to drugs or alcohol they answered:
Low self esteem
Coping with pain
Of course there are many more problems that an addict may have, but in general, many people who use drugs or alcohol as a solution are in fact struggling with one of the above problems. It is hard for some individuals to accept and understand that there will always be good times and bad times throughout life; but becoming frustrated with one’s own self, with other people, places, or things and then turning to drugs or alcohol as a solution will never result in any positive outcome.
Unfortunately, many people who use drugs or alcohol as a solution to their problems do not know any other way to deal with them. When a person has this kind of mindset, drinking or using becomes their way out for any type of situation that they do not want to face. This is extremely dangerous and can cause a ‘never-ending’ cycle, which can lead the person right to an addiction. It is important to learn how to deal with the problems that life will bring in a positive, non destructive way.
There are many steps and techniques that a person can take when trying to eliminate drugs or alcohol as the solution to life’s problems.
The first step is to accept that there will be problems throughout life. During one’s treatment and recovery, problems will arise that may seem frustrating and cause stress, sadness, or even anger; this is inevitable. However, accepting that this will happen is a great way to prepare one’s mental and emotional well being. Furthermore, once this has been accepted, one should tell their self that there is absolutely no option of using drugs or alcohol as a solution. This may seem easier said than done, but by repeating these words over and over, they will begin to ‘stick’ in a person’s mind.
Reframe the Situation
Many people intensify the experience of stressful situations by the way they look at them. If a person can learn to look at their problematic situation differently, they may be able to take a different perspective on it and even find one that causes much less stress, if any at all! It is very healthy to learn how to turn pessimistic and self-sabotaging thoughts into more positive ones.
Take a Breath
Implementing breathing exercises into the daily life, especially when problems occur can also make the difference between turning to drinking or using as the solution. Breathing exercises allow for more oxygen into the body and release built up tension. They can be done anywhere at any time. Below is just one simple breathing exercise:
- Sit or stand in a relaxed position.
- Slowly inhale through your nose, counting to five in your head.
- Let the air out from your mouth, counting to eight in your head as it leaves your lungs. Repeat several times.
A Helpful Example:
Say for instance a person is in recovery and believes that they are going to lose their job because of layoffs. This will probably cause a great deal of stress in their life; at this time, this issue with the added stress may cause the individual to relapse. Instead of worrying about the possibility of losing the job, the person could put their time and energy into coming up with a backup plan. They could begin the search for a new job, create and send out resumes. This is a much healthier option than turning to drugs or alcohol to numb out their feelings.
It is important to remember that although the above techniques are proven to be highly beneficial, they are not the only thing that an addict should do to when trying to avoid turning to drugs or alcohol as a solution to problems they are experiencing. Developing a concrete plan of recovery and having a large support group will be enormous help to overcome life’s problems, whether big or small.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
If you or someone you know has an addiction to drugs or alcohol and want to make treatment the new healthier solution to life’s problems, contact The Cabin Chiang Mai today. We are here to help.