7 Steps You Can Take on Your Own to Break an Opioid Addiction

Pyramid Online Counseling      Addiction & Substance Use  
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When you’re struggling with an opioid addiction it can feel like you’ve lost control in your life. The cravings, the money, the broken ties with family and friends may seem to have gone too far to fix.

If you’re in the midst of opioid addiction, there’s hope. Professional treatment can offer the healing and support you need, but if you want to get started at this moment, here are 7 concrete steps you can take today to take back control of your life.

1. Throw away drug paraphernalia

A doable first step in addressing opioid addiction is to discard any drug paraphernalia you may have. Better yet, smash it, flush it down the toilet or throw it away somewhere you can’t go back for it. Get rid of it permanently, and the sooner, the better.

2. Delete contacts in your phone

One of the quickest ways to cut off your supply is to cut out your supplier. Deleting your supplier’s contact in your phone (and anyone who could connect you to drugs) is a simple and easy step that can have a big impact on ending your addiction. Make sure to disconnect on social media, too.

3. Tell someone about it

Telling a loved one about your opioid addiction is one concrete step you can take to boost your recovery. If you have someone on your team who can inspire you towards sobriety, the journey will be easier and less lonely. You’ll benefit from better accountability and a reinforced relationship with a sober friend. 

Hopefully, your friend or family member will also assist you in getting set up with treatment. Just make sure you don’t put pressure on your buddy to “fix” your addiction, only you and a team of professionals can do that.

4. Educate yourself on withdrawal symptoms

If you’ve been using opioids regularly and you abruptly stop, your body is going to have a reaction. A system that has become adjusted to the presence of opioids will go through a period of detox without them.

As your body rids itself of toxins, there are numerous symptoms you may experience. When you know about the sensations of detox ahead of time, you’ll be ready to handle them. 

It’s highly recommended to undergo this process in a licensed detoxification facility, so medical and mental health experts can help you manage the negative symptoms without turning back to opioids. You can start the mental prep on your own though, and you can do it now.

5. Start a recovery journal

When you start a substance use recovery journal the message will stick in your head that your recovery starts today. Your journey won’t take a linear path, and that’s ok. A substance use journal is a place to chronicle all the ups and downs from the moment you decide to commit.

If you’re not sure how to start a journal, check out these 31 addiction recovery journal prompts. All you need is a pencil and paper to make the next step towards sobriety.

6. Imagine your life free from opioids

One of the best ways to address an opioid addiction right now is to picture yourself sober. When you break free from an opioid addiction you’ll experience more mental clarity, have more energy, feel better physically and have more opportunities to live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Imagining that life now can offer you motivation to start the journey and to continue when you embrace roadblocks. Whether you spend a few quiet minutes visualizing your happier self or journal about it, imagining your future is a step you can take right now to get a leg up on addiction.

7. Write down goals

Imagining a freer future naturally leads to setting goals for yourself. What do you want to accomplish when you’re no longer chained down by drugs? Write career goals, family goals and mental health goals.

When you engage in treatment a therapist or addiction counselor will help you to build goals into your treatment plan, but start brainstorming now for an extra dose of inspiration and a positive outlook.

Call for help

Making the call to start treatment doesn’t have to wait. When you’re ready to commit to ending an addiction, look into local treatment options. Once you decide where to start your journey, an addiction specialist can help you determine the appropriate level of care, organize transportation and schedule services.

Getting help for comorbid disorders is also crucial to your success in sobriety. Anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders often accompany addictions, and managing them with therapy and medication can make recovery more attainable.

Your future starts now

Kicking an opioid addiction is no easy task, but there are things you can do today to start your journey off on the right foot. Cut ties with contacts, find a sober community and get yourself ready for treatment. You deserve a life free from opioids, and you can start today.

Pyramid Online Counseling can offer you the support you need to get sober and stay sober. Flexible scheduling and licensed professionals can help you with the next set of concrete steps towards a life independent from opioids. Call to get set up with treatment at 833-525-3077.

5 Tips That Can Help You Stop a Gambling Addiction

Pyramid Online Counseling      Addiction & Substance Use, Treatment & Therapy  
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Poker chips on a table

Whether it’s horse racing or slot machines, poker or sporting events, gambling activities can quickly progress from a social activity into an active choice, quickly becoming a habit that takes time and serious effort to break. It’s best to take full control of the issue before you begin to notice it taking full control of you. Left unaddressed, a gambling addiction can quickly contribute to considerable financial harm, loss of friends and desperation to recoup debts.

Stopping a gambling problem can often feel like trying to slow down a train travelling 200 miles per hour. However, proven techniques can help you slowly take back control of your life from gambling issues; in time, you’ll gain the separation from gambling that you’re looking to achieve.

1. Admit that you have a problem

Sadly, so many individuals never progress past this initial step. Admitting to yourself that you have a gambling problem is brave in itself. You’re admitting to the issue, a problem that you’ve perhaps sidestepped or ignored to this point.

It also helps immensely to admit that you have a gambling problem in front of someone else that you trust. Whether it’s a friend, a beloved family member or a peer, let someone else know about the gambling issues that you’re struggling with. Not only will you find comfort and confidence in finally opening up about your issue, but you’ll also be creating an accountability partner, who can help you stay true to your resolve when you begin to distance yourself from self-destructive gambling practices.

2. Take steps to avoid gambling triggers

You know better than anyone what triggers your gambling habits. Immediately after taking steps to ensure that you receive the help you need, distance yourself from any triggers that could cause you to fall back into damaging gambling practices.

Sometimes, this means limiting your internet connection during certain times of the day, especially during times when you would otherwise be most likely to participate in online gambling. Other times, this means asking an accountability partner to check up on you during certain periods of the weekend, when you might otherwise be traveling to a casino or placing remote bets. Ultimately, you need to find ways to avoid the avenues that traditionally contributed to your gambling habits. If this means reevaluating the individuals you allow to influence your decisions, and adjusting your social group so that you spend more time with people who are going to build you up, that’s an adjustment you need to make.

3. Fill your time with productive activities

It’s not enough to remove negative influences from your life, most importantly those influences and activities that contributed to gambling habits. In addition, you’ll need to replace those gambling habits and self-destructive practices with productive activities, that help you foster self-confidence and build peace of mind.

These activities certainly don’t need to be complicated. You’re only trying to replace problematic habits with productive ones. Try taking advantage of the opportunities that gambling has taken away: go for a walk during the middle of the day. Sample a local restaurant’s menu. Spend time with old friends or neglected family members. Perhaps you could adopt a new habit, start a new television show or learn a new skill. No matter how you choose to spend your time in the wake of absent gambling habits, you’ll be taking a huge step forward in replacing degrading gambling issues with positive, new habits.

4. Persistence is key

When you’re trying to overcome a gambling addiction, it’s so important to maintain persistence. Setbacks are not final; victories do not mean struggles will not arise again. Instead, look to prioritize daily perseverance above all else. Through good days and bad, through the periods of self-confidence and self-doubt that are sure to follow, persistence is key. Stay persistent with your therapy or counseling sessions and persistent in the changes you’ve made to your daily life.

5. Don’t wait to get the support you need

Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle your gambling addiction on your own. There are so many resources at your fingertips that can help you take back the fight for your freedom. Make it a priority to source help professionally, from licensed therapists who can speak to the struggles you’re facing. Whether you receive that help through our counseling network at Pyramid Online Counseling or through another reputable counseling outlet, it’s critically important that you make your own health an immediate, lasting priority by getting the support you need as soon as possible.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward a happier, healthier you, Pyramid Online Counseling is ready to help. Browse through a network of licensed, online counselors to find the perfect fit for you. You’ll be able to connect online through a HIPAA-compliant, encrypted online counseling platform, to receive the help you need without leaving the comfort of your own home. Fill out our easy-to-use counseling form today, and you’ll be paired with the therapist best qualified to help you distance yourself from life’s challenges.

How to Manage Addiction and Substance Use

Pyramid Online Counseling      Addiction & Substance Use  
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Managing addiction and substance use

Substance use and addiction can arise from a large number of influences – prolonged stress or anxiety, behavioral health issues, life events, relationship problems, even health strains. No matter the difficulty that has given rise to substance use, addiction comes typically when individuals begin self-medicating with unhealthy drugs and/or alcohol.

It’s important to note that no matter your challenges, you are more than your substance use. If you’re looking to manage some aspect of your life – a relationship, difficulty or challenge – know that productive alternatives to substance use can help return you to the healthy, happy life you’re looking to live. 

Substance use – the damaging use of alcohol, prescription and other drugs, cigarettes, inhalants and any other harmful substance – can contribute to damaging life patterns and developed addiction. We’ve outlined 4 tips that can help you effectively manage addiction or substance use.

1. Get the help you know you need.

Even though admitting we need help managing life’s challenges is the most difficult step in the process, it also marks the beginning of a journey away from addiction and substance use and toward recovery and sustained freedom. During this time, it’s always a great idea to surround yourself with family and friends, especially individuals who empathize with your journey and current needs, or who have successfully made the same journey to freedom you’re embarking on now.

However, it’s also important to seek help from certified healthcare providers along the way, therapists qualified to help you like they’ve helped so many others. Browse counselor profiles today, to find and schedule an appointment with a licensed counselor through Pyramid Online Counseling’s secure online platform. You’ll receive top-tier care from counselors standing by to help.

2. Find opportunities to practice mindfulness.

It’s likely one of the first interactions you’ll have with your Pyramid Online Counseling therapist: you’ll learn how to practice mindfulness. In fact, mindfulness therapy – a powerful form of psychotherapy that prioritizes meditation, breathing techniques and a concentrated focus on how breathing and thoughts affect feelings and actions – is critical in helping you distance yourself from substance use practices. Founded on principles of attention, self-acceptance and a focus on inhalation and exhalation during small periods of time, mindfulness helps you identify how your thoughts contribute to actions. If you can reverse-engineer your own thought process to determine where and when your thoughts lead you into substance use, you’ll be one step closer to eliminating addiction altogether (with the ongoing help of your professional counselor).

3. Replace destructive behaviors with productive activities.

You’ll find that it’s not enough to limit substance use to eliminate addiction in your life; in order to make positive life changes permanent, those destructive behaviors should be replaced with positive ones. Identify the times during your day when you typically fall into substance use, and make sure you have productive activities planned to deliberately overlap.

You’ll also need to be prepared for life’s stressful moments or triggers, which would normally cause you to use harmful substances. Have alternative, productive activities standing by to appropriately deal with emotions in an engaging, non-harmful way. This replacement process is made entirely easier with help from your licensed therapist, who can help streamline the process with appropriate encouragement, positive coping techniques and suggested activities that can easily take the place of substance use and the addiction that follows.

4. Take time to celebrate life’s victories.

This one might sound obvious, and we hope it is: take time to celebrate the little victories every day. Maybe you’ve noticed that you avoided falling into substance use, despite encountering a trigger. Maybe you found that today you successfully replaced an addictive tendency with an alternative, productive activity. 

Too often, we’re quick to punish ourselves for the moments in life where we fall short of our own goals, or of our counselor’s goals for us. However, when we make progress, we’re more reluctant to recognize it. Whether it’s reaching a major recovery milestone or a daily win, make sure that you take the time to appropriately celebrate.

We can point you in the right direction

When it comes to managing addiction and substance use, it’s critically important that you take the time to consult professional therapy help. Pyramid Online Counseling is here to help, with an extensive network of counselors standing by to help you take life’s challenges head on. Browse counselor profiles, find the right therapist for you, and receive licensed online counseling for substance use and addiction in the comfort of your own home.  Contact us to schedule your appointment today.