Substance use and addiction can arise from a large number of influences – prolonged stress or anxiety, behavioral health issues, life events, relationship problems and even health strains. No matter the difficulty that has given rise to substance use, addiction comes typically when individuals begin self-medicating with damaging 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 for managing addiction or substance use.
1. Get the help you know you need
Even though admitting we need professional help is a scary step in the process, it also marks the beginning of a journey away from addiction and substance use and toward recovery and life-long freedom. During this time, it’s always helpful 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 healthy 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 other enjoyable options standing by to appropriately deal with emotions in an engaging way. This replacement process is made easier with help from your 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. Whether you’ve noticed that you avoided falling into substance use, despite encountering a trigger or successfully replaced an addictive tendency with a coping strategy, it’s important to celebrate the wins, even if they seem small.
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 relish your accomplishments.
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 a network of counselors standing by to help you take life’s challenges head-on. Find the right therapist for you and receive licensed online counseling for substance use and addiction in the comfort of your own home.