Over the course of the past two decades, heroin abuse and addiction rates have skyrocketed nationwide, and heroin overdose is now one of the leading causes of accidental death across the country. A report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that every day during the year 2018, upwards of 128 American men and women died as a direct result of opioid-related overdose. These deaths were all preventable – had these innocent citizens sought professional help at the onset of their addictive disorders, they might have successfully recovered.
The sad truth of the matter is that the vast majority of citizens who are suffering from a serious and life-threatening substance abuse disorder do not seek the clinical care they need. This might be because they are unaware of available resources, or because they believe that they will not be able to afford quality addiction treatment services.They might feel like they are not quite ready to quit using – like they have one more “high” in them, and when they “feel ready” they will seek the help they need. The truth about the disease of addiction is that people rarely feel ready to quit – they typically need to be nudged in the right direction.
If you are actively using heroin or any other chemical substance and you have considered quitting, there is no time like the present. Keep in mind that because the disease of addiction is so powerful, you will not be able to do so on your own. Guardian IOP offers men and women struggling with an addictive disorder of any severity the initial or continual care they need to go on and live happy and fulfilling lives of recovery. To learn more about our comprehensive and individualized recovery program, reach out today.
Staying Positive in Recovery
If you are already in recovery – congratulations! The hardest work is already behind you. Navigating early recovery is not always a walk in the park, but it truly is a breeze compared to your worst days using. One of the most difficult challenges you face in recovery is learning to stay positive. Because you are going to be facing so many unique and unfamiliar challenges, it might be hard to consistently convince yourself that the glass is half full. Things will get hard. The good news is, with the right coping mechanisms in place you can successfully pull yourself out of any slump in a record amount of time. There are numerous studies proving the benefits of positive thinking. The National Library of Medicine recently published an article exploring the connection between the immune system and psychological stressors. The study confirms that long-term stress severely compromises the immune system, and that individuals who undergo stress for any extended period of time (the study took place over the course of 30 years), were far more likely to develop physical illnesses and ailments.
Another study confirmed that there is a direct link between positive thinking and anxiety disorders. This study was published by Science Direct, and is entitled, The power of positive thinking: Pathological worry is reduced by thought replacement in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Those who utilize coping skills in order to stay positive experienced a significant reduction in anxiety-related symptoms. When it comes to positive thinking, the proof is in the pudding. But how can one stay positive through all of the hurdles that early heroin addiction recovery will undeniably present?
We have compiled a useful list of tips for staying positive in heroin addiction recovery – take a look, and feel free to utilize whatever you feel is useful! For more tips, reach out to us today.
10 Tips for Staying Positive in Heroin Addiction Recovery
- Learn to set and maintain healthy personal boundaries – If you are constantly saying “yes” when you want to say “no” and doing things that you are not comfortable with, you will likely find it difficult to stay positive. Step outside of your comfort zone when doing so will lead to personal growth – otherwise, it is okay to practice self-care whenever you feel the need to do so.
- If you start to feel down, remember where you came from and how much progress you have made – In the throes of heroin addiction is a dark and devastating place to be. Remember that your worst day sober is 100 times better than your best day in active heroin addiction.
- Develop friendships with other sober individuals, and lean on them when you start to feel sad – Developing authentic relationships with others is essential to long-term sobriety. Not only will you have a group of people you can lean on for support, but being there for others is a great way to build self-esteem.
- Make a list of things that you are grateful for in the present moment – Jotting down a quick gratitude list can help you change your attitude in a matter of minutes. What are you grateful for right now? Is the weather nice? Do you have enough money to treat yourself to a nice lunch? Find things to be grateful for – it shouldn’t be that hard to do if you woke up sober!
- Watch a funny movie or put on a comedy special that always makes you laugh – Sometimes all you need to start feeling more positive is a good Seth Rogan flick. Carve out a couple of hours during which you can watch your favorite comedy movie. Invite a sober friend (or several friends) over for a comedy movie marathon. Just be sure you are not using Netflix as an avoidance technique – if something is really wrong, be sure that you speak with someone you trust about what is going on.
- Go for a long walk outside and try to stay as present as you possibly can – Staying present in the current moment is a great tool for staying positive. Negative thoughts will inevitably start to crop up if you dwell too much on the past or worry too much about the future.
- Go to a 12 step meeting and share about your experiences – Why are you feeling sad? Are you able to articulate why, or do you simply feel a little glum? One of the more common symptoms of post-acute heroin withdrawal is mild depression – feeling sad from time to time is completely normal and expected. The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior (at UCLA) confirms that a common symptom of PAWS is a depressed mood. If you share your experiences openly at 12 step meetings, you will undeniably find people that can relate.
- Work on bolstering your sense of spirituality and your spiritual connection – Once you start developing a sense of faith you will be able to rely on your higher power for strength and clarity.
- Find a funny meme online and share it with a friend – One of the best things about living in this day and age is constant access to hilarious memes – find something that makes you laugh and share it with someone you care about. Again, be sure that you are not using this form of entertainment as a method of avoidance. If you are feeling glum for no particular reason, there is nothing wrong with attempting to cheer yourself up with a little goofy humor.
- Volunteer – Get out of your own head. Do something nice for someone else. This will put things into perspective and help you feel better about your own circumstances.
At Guardian IOP we work to instill our clients with the coping mechanisms and life skills they need to stay sober and positive for years to come. To learn more about our program, or for more tips on staying positive in heroin addiction recovery, feel free to give us a call at any time.
Reviewed for accuracy by:
Anna Marie Barrett LCSW, CYT
Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.