after addiction recovery

One of the questions that addicts ask is whether life really can be better after addiction. Their substance abuse had them rocketing been euphoria and hellish realities, can addiction recovery really lead to a better life?

People who have been there, say that a better life after addiction recovery is real. Let’s look at what some of them have to say:

Scott Stapp

The successful rock and roll musician of the band Creed went off the rails on prescription drugs, posting paranoid videos on social media and losing much of his vast fortune. He says he was “delusional, hallucinating, completely out of my mind”. He came close to suicide.

Today, he is in recovery, focussing on his health, his family and his spiritual wellbeing. He goes to his 12-step meetings and says of his addiction “I never want to go there again”.

Amy McAllister

An ex-heroin addict who relapsed several times, Amy says that that her addiction was characterized by feelings of emptiness and confusion. She emphasises that help is needed to get through recovery, and despite a bad relapse, she has now recovered and is living a full life. She captured her experiences in a book entitled ‘A better life: Tips form a Recovering Heroin Addict’. What do you get after addiction recovery? According to Amy, you get just what the title says: ‘A better life’.


An ex-addict who has not divulged his last name, James says that he hated the life he lived during his addiction. “I still think of heroin every day,” he says “but I never think of using it”. James says that he longed to be ‘clean’, but also longed for more heroin. He chose the former route, has been sober for 26 years, and he’s thankful that he’s found a better way to live.


Janice says that using drugs isn’t a lifestyle choice. She admits that she loved getting her fix, but she found herself in a hole so deep, she thought she’d never be able to climb back out of it again. But that’s just what Janice did, and this year, she’s celebrating six years of sobriety. She’s out of that ‘hole’ now, and she means to stay out!


Mike has been clean for two and a half years, but he still goes to his twelve step meetings. “I’m sober today” he says. Mike fears that complacency may lead him to take that one dose that will send him spiralling back into the hell of addiction he escaped from, so he keeps going to the meetings. He keeps reminding himself of what he escaped from, and he wants to remain the person he is now rather than becoming the person he once was.


“I value myself now” says Dave an ex-addict who seems as certain as you can get that life after addiction recovery really is better. He says that life after drugs is his first and his best chance at actually living. He admits that it’s not perfect – but he’s completely sure that it’s a whole lot better. No more feelings of guilt, no more constant worry about using, getting caught and where the next dose would come from. He’s been clean for two and a half years and means to stay that way.


An ex-addict who uses only his initial, M says that the opiates he was addicted to made him feel great – but that his addiction was ugly and selfish. After losing four of his closest friends to the drug, M chose a different route.  He’s been sober for ‘several years’ now, and the conviction with which he speaks makes it clear that he’s not going back.

Yes, there is life after addiction recovery: and it really is better!

All of these success stories have a common thread. The user is seduced by substance abuse, but knows that it’s destroying them. Life after addiction recovery hasn’t been easy – life never is – but it’s a whole lot better because it’s honest and ‘real’. The fear of relapse is real, and some of these ex-addicts have already tasted this defeat, but they keep trying, one day at a time. Why? Because it’s worth it!

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My addiction got me fired

So you messed up big time. You lost your job because of your addiction, and that doesn’t look good on your work record. Employers are going to be understandably nervous about you when they check out your history. But here’s the good news: your career has had a setback, but you can get it back on track again. You’re not going to get instant gratification, but it can be done. Be aware: you will need to prove that you’re responsible.

  1. Sort out your addiction

There are no two ways about this: you need to get help. And since your addiction has had such a profound influence on your life, you probably need inpatient treatment. Unless you lose the addiction, you aren’t going to regain a career, because whatever you are addicted to will stay in charge of your life.

You need to be able to show future employers that you took charge, that you did something decisive about your problem. You need to show that you’re no longer a slave to substances and your addiction. What could be more decisive than putting yourself into rehab? Do it!

  1. Get into some volunteer work

You can’t really expect to walk into a great job right away, but if you can back up your decisive action of going to rehab with proof that you’re a reliable worker, your chances are way better. Even a few months helping out at a community organisation can get you a good reference. Plus, it shows that you’re ready to be a giver and not just a taker.

  1. Get some new skills

Another way of showing that you’re done with being a loser and ready to be a go-getter is to upskill. Get into a training course that will improve your existing skills or try something altogether new that you always wanted to do. Give it your best shot. If you’re able to develop a good relationship with your trainers or tutors, you may be able to get a good character reference to match your great effort.

  1. Start your own business

One of my favourite recovery stories is about a British woman who exited her addiction with literally no resources. But she started looking for work as a cleaner, later began to co-ordinate a group of cleaners and now has a hugely successful business of her own. Could you do something like that?

Start small and work at creating a business that you can be proud of. Freelance online, take on odd jobs, look for growth opportunities. You could be amazed at where it can lead you!

  1. Start temping

Once again you’re using opportunities that will show future employers that you’re a serious and reliable employee – and temping is a foot in the door. You may even turn a temporary job into a permanent one. There are plenty of agencies that can help you to find temporary work. Join one.

  1. Try in-service training or an apprenticeship

You don’t earn much as an apprentice or trainee, but you get two golden opportunities: First, you can show that you’re to be trusted. Second, you can get a qualification that leads to better things. And as a bonus, there’s always a possibility of landing a permanent job with the same organization where you did your training. Pull out all the stops and go for it with all your might.

Organizations that can help

  1. The Department of Labor

The Department of Labor can advise you and put you in touch with places where you can explore opportunities. Visit a One Stop Career Center and see how they can help you to get your career back on track.

  1. America in Recovery

This non-profit for recovering addicts is straightforward in its strategy. If you’re ready to be thankful for a work opportunity, if you’re ready to work harder and accept lower pay, you fit their profile and they’ll help to find you a job. Remember, working for less needn’t be a permanent feature of your career, but you do need to prove that you’re worth employing now that you’re in recovery. Once you’ve done that, you can start looking for better-paying opportunities.

Never give up!

Keep your determination. Prove yourself. There are many people who have succeeded after addiction and you can be one of them. Show the world what you can do!

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Behavioral addictionsAlthough behavioral addictions are seldom deadly, they can destroy your quality of life as effectively as substance abuse does. Gambling addiction or shopping addiction, for example, can ruin you financially. Sex addiction can destroy your family life, food addictions can mess up your health, and internet addiction makes you unsociable and physically inactive.

In recent years, behavioral addictions are finally being taken seriously as the potentially crippling disorders that they really are.

Is it just something you like doing, or are you an addict?

Behavioral addictions have many of the same symptoms as alcohol or drug addictions. Ask yourself these three questions if you think you may have a behavioral addiction:

  1. Do I have control over how much and how often I indulge in my behavior?
  2. Do a feel uncomfortable or experience a feeling of craving when I’m not able to practice the behavior?
  3. Do I continue with my behavior despite adverse consequences?

Look out for the signs that characterize addiction:

  1. You get defensive if someone asks you about your addiction.
  2. You hide what you are doing because you are ashamed.
  3. You have financial and / or relationship problems because of your addiction.
  4. You constantly think about the behavior you’re addicted to.
  5. You neglect things you know you ought to do in favor of the addictive behavior.

Common behavioral addictions

Behavioral addiction works in much the same way as substance addiction. The addict gets a kick or a ‘high’ out of the activity. They begin to practice that behavior to a point where it is excessive and it starts adversely affecting their lives. They keep on with the activity even though it is causing problems for them, and they experience psychological withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop.

Almost any activity can become a behavioral addiction, but common ones include:

  • Gambling or gaming
  • Internet
  • Exercise
  • Sex
  • Shopping
  • Food-related addictions
  • Risky behavior
  • Work addiction

What causes behavioral addictions?

Behavioral addictions may not be physical, but they’re still a very real problem for those who suffer from them. As with substance addictions, the root cause is often psychological. Something about the behavior they are addicted to serves to fulfil an emotional need – and quitting can be just as hard as recovering from drugs or alcohol.

Experts say that’s behavioral addicts repeatedly flood their brains with ‘reward’ chemicals such as a dopamine, and when the level of dopamine begins to drop, the typical ‘craving’ sensation takes over.

Drug users find that they have to increase doses or frequency of use to get the same effect as they did the first few times, and behavioral addicts have a similar problem. As time goes on, going on a $500 shopping spree or betting a few dollars on the turn of a card just isn’t enough to be satisfying. They up the ante only to find that in a little while, the $1000 shopping spree and the high-stakes bets aren’t enough either.

What treatments work?

Outpatient treatments are more often successful in curing behavioral addictions than substance addictions, but inpatient treatment offers a good chance of success since it takes the person away from the familiar environment they associate with the addiction. Once they have a head start, recovering addicts undertake the difficult process of recovery while living a normal life.

Whichever option is chosen, one-on-one counselling and group therapy will form the basis of the treatment. Group therapy follows the familiar 12-step program that is so successful in helping addicts to overcome their issues through facilitated meetings with peers who share their problem.

It’s also important to take care of your health through proper diet and exercise, and build an active social life. With the help of your counsellor, you’ll discover what caused you to slip into a behavioral addiction, so you’ll be working on your mental health too.

What’s the first step towards recovery?

Knowing that you have a problem that has to be overcome is the first step towards recovery. You will probably find that you need help in order to quit. That doesn’t mean that you are a bad or weak person, it’s the nature of true addiction. You have to get help.

Nowadays, there are several organizations that help with behavioral addictions and treatment centers that specialize in addiction are increasingly getting geared up to help people with behavioral addictions. After all, the same therapies work. Reaching out for help is the next important step to take once you realize that you have a problem.

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Addiction recovery

Going it alone is not the best way to conquer any challenge. If you were planning to climb Everest or take a trip to the North Pole, you wouldn’t even consider it without a support team to back you up. Getting through your addiction recovery period is one of the biggest and most important challenges you’ll ever face. Make sure that you have the best possible chance of success by mobilising your support team.

Who will support you during addiction recovery?

  1. Your family

Although your family may want to help you, they won’t necessarily know how. That’s why family counselling is so important. Your loved ones are the people who can help you to stay motivated and they’re the people you need to know you can turn to when the going gets tough.

By working together, your family can help you to pull through your recovery. Don’t leave them out in the cold. Chances are, they really want to help you, even if you hurt them during the time you were an addict.

Countless recovered addicts will tell you that the love and support of their families made a huge contribution to their addiction recovery, and that’s confirmed by studies that have shown that family involvement reduces the chances of a relapse.

  1. Your counsellor

There are deeper reasons why you became an addict – and you may not even be aware of all of them. Your counsellor will help you to identify and address the root causes of your addiction. You may have detoxed and lost the physical craving for drugs or alcohol, but the psychological issues that underpinned your addiction won’t just go away all on their own.

Plus, a professional counsellor will never judge you. You can tell him or her things you’d never want to discuss with your family – things you need to clear up if you are ever to recover fully from your addiction, its causes and its consequences.

Make sure that you feel comfortable about opening up to your counsellor. A personal connection is important. A counsellor needs to be someone that you can like and trust.

  1. Your therapy group

The people in your therapy group have been through similar experiences and right now, they’re in the same place as you are. You know that they are going through a similar process, and its great having the support of a group of people who really understand because they’re battling similar problems.

Although group therapy may seem awkward at first, you’ll soon find that you loosen up and begin to experience its benefits – and while you are being helped, you also provide help for others. As time goes on, you’ll find that your therapy group becomes closer and more supportive.

Therapy groups are a form of ‘peer pressure’, but it’s a positive kind of pressure. You know that you aren’t alone, and you can discuss any problems you encounter with your group.

  1. Your church or spiritual mentor

Your healing has to cover every aspect of your life, and spiritual guidance can provide you with the inspiration you need to keep at it when the going gets tough. Making peace with yourself, forgiving and being forgiven are vital steps in addiction recovery, and having spiritual guidance can go a long way towards making that a reality.

Having a person or a group of people that you deeply respect on your side can work wonders, even if they’re not physically present, and reaching beyond yourself to draw on a higher power for strength can get you through trials and temptations.

  1. True friends

True friends will be glad that you are now in recovery, and they will want to help. Sometimes, just knowing you can get on the phone and talk to someone who is supportive can be a huge advantage. But do be cautious that you aren’t mixing with people who will tempt you towards the very substances you need to eliminate from your life!

  1. Your employer

Telling your employer that you are in recovery may seem like a scary step, but most employers will be supportive. Just telling your boss about your recovery process will make you even less likely to backslide.

Extra tips

As you can see, addiction recovery takes a team of people who are all on your side rooting for you. It’s a good idea to keep a few ‘emergency numbers’ handy. Promise yourself that you will call one of these emergency supporters if you are tempted to use alcohol or drugs. You may find that just knowing they’re on standby helps you to pull through difficult times.

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Exercise helps you to overcome addiction

Have you ever wondered why the best residential rehab programs include exercise as an important therapy for those who want to overcome addiction? It’s not just a matter of improving your health – exercise to beat addiction has been researched in clinical studies, and the results of these studies are truly remarkable.

Reduce cravings

A 2010 study showed that addicted rats had reduced craving for cocaine and less damage to their brains when they exercised regularly. It’s as if all that healthy exercise stopped the rats from wanting drugs, even when they were available.

Have you ever heard of ‘runners’ high’? It’s a natural feel-good sensation that comes from heightened endorphin levels. So apart from helping you to feel great and look fantastic, fitness will also help you to get through your recovery.

Improve quality of life

A survey conducted in Scandinavia found that recovering addicts reported a similar effect to the one observed in the addicted rats. They just weren’t all that interested in drugs when they exercised regularly.

Plus, they reported the kind of benefits that just about anybody who exercises talks about. They felt more upbeat and energetic, and they were pleased with the improvements in their physical appearance.

Reduce stress

Exercise is a great way to let off steam and reduce your stress. If you’re in recovery, you are in a stressful situation, but by sticking to your exercise routine, you can channel your stress into a healthy outlet.

Mental healing is as important as physical healing, and exercise helps with both. Sleep is also important. It’s the time when our bodies and minds heal, and exercise will help you to sleep better at night maximising the benefits of sleep.

Keep your mind busy

When cravings hit, being able to distract yourself from them is a valuable skill. Exercise is a great distraction, and some recovering addicts reach for their running shoes for exactly that reason. It’s hard to even think about drugs or alcohol when you’re pushing yourself to run that extra mile or get through the next set of exercises at the gym.

Build a new lifestyle

Kicking an addiction involves much more than just quitting. You need to build a whole new lifestyle. It’s a wonderful opportunity to develop new habits that will become part of your life from now on. Getting exercise and taking care of your body by eating a healthy diet can form part of that – and who doesn’t want to be lean, toned and healthy?

You may also find that exercise opens up social opportunities. Join a running club or find a workout buddy. Take up a sport. Who says you can’t have fun while you exercise?

Tips for getting started

All of these benefits sound wonderful, but you can’t expect things to happen overnight. If you’re not already fit, you aren’t going to love exercise from day one. It’s going to be very tempting to skip your workout at times, and you’ll never get the best out of your exercise if you’re constantly stopping and starting.

  • Commit to at least three workout days a week. Four is better. Rest days are also important because they allow your body to recover between workouts.
  • Push yourself, but don’t overo it. A lot of exercise beginners overdo it. They run too far, use weights that are way too heavy for them and so on. Allow yourself time to become stronger and fitter.
  • Combine strength training and cardio. Running and cycling are great ways to get fit, but strength training is also important. Your muscles support your joints, so you’ll find that strength training will make you better at your cardio and reduce your chance of muscle and joint injuries. Stretching exercises are also really good for you, so if you can fit in a yoga class once a week or more, go for it!
  • Consider working with a trainer. If you’re a raw beginner, you will be unsure of how to approach exercise – and you can hurt yourself if you do certain exercises in the wrong way. Think about joining a class or getting a personal trainer to show you how to get started.

Get moving – you have nothing to lose!

Well, let’s qualify that statement: you may well lose some unwanted weight! But you can gain a whole range of other benefits too. Exercise is good for your body and good for your mind, so why not make that commitment to regular workouts and get started?

Stick to it! You won’t get obvious results right away, but three months down the line you’ll be amazed at the difference exercise has made.

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Success after addiction

A lot of people subscribe to the idea that ex-addicts will never fulfil their real potential. But career success after addiction isn’t all that rare. Showbiz is an obvious place to start looking, but sport, politics and the business world also contribute to our list of successes. Check out these inspiring stories that prove the point. You may just be surprised!

  1. Oprah Whitney

Drug of choice: Crack

It’s hard to imagine that Oprah Winfrey, the woman we know as a successful entrepreneur and talk show hostess is a one-time crack user. It happened back in her twenties when a boyfriend introduced her to the drug. She kicked the habit and the boyfriend out of her life and has never looked back.

  1. Kirstin Davis

Drug of choice: Alcohol

Today, the gorgeous ‘Sex and the City’ star is the picture of health, but in 2008, she was brave enough to share her story of recovery from alcoholism. Back in the days when she was an addict, she didn’t think she’d live past 30, but kicking the habit has opened the doors to success and a healthy life.

  1. Charlie Watts

Drugs of choice: Alcohol and heroin

Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts was always the ‘quiet’ band member. He didn’t get involved in scandals or outrageous parties, but from 1983 to 1986, he was a heroin addict and alcoholic. Although he was already famous and successful, his family relationships nearly broke down because of his habit. Charlie’s post-addiction success? Staying sober and keeping his family together.

  1. Larry Kudlow

Drugs of choice: Cocaine and alcohol

Being a Wall Street executive and an economic advisor at the White House amounts to serious success in a serious job, but Larry Kudlow was hiding a huge problem: his addiction. It took several attempts to kick the habit, but in-patient rehab and spiritual mentorship ultimately worked. Kudlow has been open about his experiences because he wants to inspire others – and his continued successes in politics, journalism and finance are legendary.

  1. Stephen King

Drugs of choice: Alcohol, cocaine, painkillers, marijuana

The character of the alcoholic writer who is losing his sanity portrayed in King’s bestseller ‘The Shining’ is no figment of the imagination. King was writing from experience. After kicking the habit in the eighties, King worried that his writing would suffer, but he has written some of his finest works since achieving sobriety.

  1. Laura Walsh

Drugs of choice: Painkillers and alcohol

Although Laura Welsh may not be well known in the US, she’s a household name in the UK. She bounced back from a crippling addiction consisting of 30 opiate painkillers and 20 cans of beer a day and built a hugely successful business from absolutely nothing.  She’s also a successful authoress and an inspiring example of how an ex-addict can achieve massive success.

  1. Court McGee

Drugs of choice: Heroin and alcohol

Martial artist Court McGee was declared clinically dead from a heroin overdose in September 2005, but medics managed to revive him. His family found him a place at a rehabilitation center, but McGee would struggle with relapses before finally achieving victory over his habit. Since then he has achieved enormous success, but to him, his greatest success was winning back his wife, Courtney.

  1. Samuel L Jackson

Drug of choice: Crack

Twenty years of sobriety is surely proof that one can kick a drug habit for good. Samuel L Jackson’s continued sobriety is a great achievement in itself, but during this time, he has also made some of his finest movies. Jackson attributes his success to being a quitter: the best thing to be when what you’re quitting is drugs.

  1. Michael Glasser

Drugs of Choice: Multi-drug addiction

The tycoon of Denim, Michael Glasser wasn’t always on the road to success. At one point, he even sold Cocaine to keep up his habit. After nearly dying as a result of taking Quaaludes, his family persuaded him to enter rehab. Glasser gave it is his best effort, and today, he’s a multi-millionaire businessman who has been sober for 30 years.

  1. Buzz Aldrin

Drug of choice: Alcohol

Few people realize that the second man to set foot on the moon was a recovering alcoholic. Being a hot-shot astronaut and a substance abuser just don’t seem to fit together, but Alrdin had already quit drinking before the 1969 moon mission.


  • Getting help is worthwhile
  • You may relapse, but you can recover from that too
  • Working at sobriety is worthwhile
  • Alcohol is scarily addictive
  • Inpatient treatment is often a necessity
  • Counselling, mentorship and support are important
  • Success after addiction is possible

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Wherever there is information there is also misinformation, myths and urban legends. The worst thing about these addiction myths is that they are so widely accepted. Many addicts believe them too, and that can harm their recovery.

Addiction Myth #1 Addiction is genetic

About half the addictions we come across may be caused by a genetic predisposition to addiction but it’s all too easy to misinterpret this snippet of information. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

Just because there’s a history of addiction in your family doesn’t mean that you are fated to become an addict. Some addicts won’t even seek help because of the ‘in your genes’ theory. After all, if it’s genetic, it can’t be cured, right? Wrong!

The other side to this myth is that some people place themselves at risk of addiction because there’s no family history of addictive behavior. They actually believe they can’t become addicted. Bad mistake!

Addiction Myth #2: Once an addict, always an addict

This belief lies at the root of the stigma that some uninformed people hold against recovering addicts. It also stops addicts from reaching out for help, especially if they’ve tried to quit once before and relapsed. The fact is, most people can and do recover from their addictions.

Saying that you’ll always be an addict just because you are one now is about as logical as saying it’ll always be December because it’s December now.

Addiction Myth #3: Addicts should be punished

This myth originates from the belief that addicts are bad people. That’s not necessarily the case. You get good people and bad people in any group of people, and addicts are no different.

Yes, they may have done foolish things that caused their addiction, but now they have a real medical condition and what they need is help rather than punishment. Addiction can drive people to do terrible things, but that’s because they’re addicted, not because they’re natural-born villains.

Some addicts are so angry at themselves, that even they believe they ought to be punished. Get help. When you’ve recovered, you can find ways to make amends for any bad things your addiction drove you to do.

Addiction myth #4: Prescription drug addiction is ‘safer’

The whole problem with prescription drug addiction is that people continue with medications for longer periods than they are supposed to for the sake of their heath.

As time goes on, they start taking bigger or more frequent doses – and the results can be as fatal as any heroin overdose. Dead is still dead. Addiction to prescription drugs such as painkillers can be as dangerous as addiction to other drugs.

Addiction Myth #5: Addicts need to hit rock bottom

Firstly, ‘rock bottom’ means different things to different people, so this is hardly a scientific indicator. Next up, the sooner an addict gets treatment, the better. Waiting for some mythical ‘rock bottom’ experience could be the death of you. Recognize your problem and get help as soon as you can.

Addiction Myth #6: Rehabs spoil addicts when they should be punishing them

This particular myth always makes my hair stand on end. Seriously. What are these people thinking of? A lot of people end up as addicts specifically because of self-esteem issues and a shortage of constructive outlets that help tem relax.

To me, the counselling and occupational therapies that some rehabs offer is what makes them get such good success rates. Believe me, the nightmare of addiction is unpleasant enough in itself. Rehabilitation centers should always be positive places that offer support, encouragement and a pleasant environment in which to learn important life lessons.

Addiction Myth #7: Being an addict is fun and that’s why addicts don’t quit

If you’re an addict or have been one, you’ll know that this last myth is an absolute howler. Fun? Yes, sure. Desperate cravings, horrible after-effects, scary side-effects, knowing that you’re killing yourself a bit at a time, depression, ruined relationships and more are all part of the ‘fun’ of being an addict.

Don’t let untrue addiction myths stop you from getting help

You can beat addiction. You’re not a naturally ‘bad’ person. Rehab can be the single most positive experience in your life. What could be better than getting yourself back on the right track? Addiction is a disease, and sick people need help. If you’re an addict, don’t delay. There is no time like the present. You can’t do much about yesterday, but you can make a life-changing decision today.

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why taking stimulants

It’s exam time, and students are going online – not to research their work more deeply, but to buy ADHD prescription stimulants from ‘online pharmacies’.

They say the drugs help them to concentrate, stay awake, and memorise their work more effectively. Drugs of choice include Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanase – and none of these students actually has ADHD. Have they discovered the ultimate ‘performance enhancing drug’, or are they fooling themselves?

Illegal prescription drugs online: what are you getting?

You honestly don’t know. The FDA has warned consumers about illegal online pharmacies. The drugs you buy could be contaminated, contain too much active ingredient or an active ingredient that mimics the ‘real thing’ but is actually harmful.

The presentation is nice: ‘genuine’ looking bubble packs with neat rows of pills – but you have no idea what those pills contain or in what conditions they were manufactured.

“Pills make me smarter” – no they don’t!

Trying to cram too much into your head at one time is counter-productive. Even if you’re really concentrating, it’s all too easy for the information to become jumbled because you’re just trying to take in too much at once. It’s the worst way to learn.

The really smart way to study is to keep up a steady pace throughout the year. By the time exams come around, a little revision is enough to refresh your memory and prepare you for exams.

Remember, a lot of these pills are a form of amphetamine: you may feel great, but it’s a delusion. Raging on speed won’t necessarily get you through your exams – even though it may make you feel positive about your chances.

Short-term side effects

Even the short-term side effects that occur as a result of misusing prescription drugs to stay awake should put you off. You start having difficulty sleeping – so you’re super-tired. What can you do? Take another pill? What a great way to build drug dependency! Hardly a ‘smart’ move!

There are other side-effects too. You start feeling restless, you get headaches, you’re irritable and depressed. Functioning at your best? Hardly!

Here’s the contradiction. You get your full night’s study in – but then you pay the price. Even a caffeine high is like that. You feel great! Then you feel awful. You get dumped a lot harder than you were ‘helped’.

Longer-term effects

If you make a habit of using stimulants to function, you become dependent on them. You carry the drug with you beyond your studies and into your working life. How long can you live like this?

Quitting isn’t easy. Your body has an enormous sleep-debt, and when you quit, it’s payback time. If you don’t, there’s no doubt that you are putting body and mind under enormous strain, and sooner or later, you’ll be paying the price.

If you really want to succeed:

Taking drugs is the last resort of the desperate. Studies found that ‘very social’ students were far more likely to abuse stimulants. Why should that be? They’re not spending enough time on their studies and they know it! When the exams begin to loom, they give up on sleeping and pop pills. A healthy habit? I don’t think I need to answer that!

You’ll do much better in exams if you:

  • Attend classes and take notes
  • Consolidate work after every class
  • Read your set works
  • Make summaries and mind-maps
  • Do all your assignments – even if they’re not mandatory ones
  • Ask questions in class
  • Plan your time throughout the year
  • Start preparing for exams early

That doesn’t mean you can’t party. After all this hard work, you should let your hair down from time to time, but it does mean that partying and socialising won’t be your first priority. Good study habits will see you through.

Your advantage? You get to sleep at night. You don’t turn up for exams stoned. You don’t flirt with addiction – and you’ll probably get better marks than any chemically-fuelled zombie!

Do ADHD medications make you smarter?

In the same way that alcohol makes you more attractive, yes. That is to say: not at all, but you THINK you’re smarter. What a pity you’re the only one who thinks so!

Already in trouble? Get help!

You know that you’re in deep water if you’re taking prescription meds to stay awake at night, and then using them in the mornings just to get awake enough to face the day. If you use prescription meds ‘occasionally’, you can probably kick the habit, but if you’re a frequent user, you need to get help – addiction is a reality.

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You detoxed. You thought your nightmare of addiction was over, but then you suffered a relapse. You might feel like kicking yourself, but that isn’t going to help. So what do you do?

You basically have two options:

  1. Give in to the drug and be an addict.
  2. Use your relapse as a positive lesson and start over.

Option one isn’t really an option. After all, you were ready to go to hell and back to kick your habit, weren’t you? You wanted to revive your career, improve your health, get your relationships back on track and live a normal life again.

Option two is hard. It’s almost like starting over – but it may not be as hard as it was the first time round – and you stand a better chance of succeeding this time. Why? Because something triggered your relapse. Identify it, and you can eliminate the trigger or at least reduce its power over you.

What to do next?

Decide what you want. Nobody but you can cure your addiction. Your recovery is in your hands. If you really do want to recover from your relapse, you can overcome it.

Next up, you need to get back in touch with your counsellor or 12 step sponsor. Yes, you aren’t going to feel good when you do this, but it will probably not come as a surprise. Chances are, you’ve already missed appointments.

Depending on how long your relapse lasted, you may need some inpatient treatment. Remember, it’s worth it! You’ll get a head-start again, and this time, you’re going to make it work for you!

Your family also needs to know – if they don’t already know

Your loved ones will be disappointed, but it’s important that they know what’s happening in your life right now. They can’t help you or give you support if they don’t know what’s going on.

Chances are, they already know about your relapse, or have been suspecting it, and it will come as a relief to them to know that you’re back on the program and fighting back.

Most important of all, they’ll be in your corner, rooting for you, backing you up and cheering you on. You need that support to get through your relapse. Going for family counselling can show them how best to help you.

…but I’ve already been to rehab!

Sure you have, and it helped you, right? You got all the professional support you needed. You worked through many of the issues that caused you to turn to substances in the first place.

Maybe you need to do a little more work now. If your doctor or counsellor feels that you should start over from the detox phase, then going to rehab is not something you should simply dismiss. And don’t be shy about going back to the same facility. The staff already know you, and they’ll be able to help you even more effectively than they did last time.

Think of it this way. If you have flu, you go to the doctor. If you get flu again, you return to the doctor. Addiction is a complex condition, but if you keep working at it, you can overcome it. Use every tool and every aid at your disposal. Why do things the hard way if there’s an easier way?

Turn your relapse into something positive

No event that offers you an opportunity to learn is ever a waste. Relapse is only a failure if you give in to it and decide to live the rest of your life out as an addict. Of course, you won’t be celebrating your relapse, but you can use it to your advantage. Here’s how:

  • Use your relapse to make an even stronger commitment to sobriety.
  • Learn where your coping skills failed you and address the trigger that caused the relapse.
  • Come back stronger, wiser and even more determined.

Know that you’re by no means the ‘only one’

You don’t have to feel like a loser. You’re only a loser if you give up on giving up. Lots of people before you have been to rehab and relapsed. Some of them have done this several times. You’re not some strange anomaly. The important thing to remember is that they kept fighting and they won out in the end.

You can have your victory too. Sure, you’re disappointed about your relapse, but you’re going to use it to make rehab work this round. Hold on to that thought! Never give up on giving up. Relapse isn’t a failure unless you allow it to be.

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body mind sprit

‘Holistic’ might sound like one of those meaningless words we so often find being bandied about, but in holistic treatment for addiction, holism is a very meaningful concept.  To understand why this should be so, we should investigate what it really means. Is it just another nice sounding word? Far from it!

In healthcare, symptomatic treatment is all too common. You have a headache, so your get given painkillers – but what actually caused the headache? Won’t you just get another one when the treatment wears off?

What holistic treatment is all about

Holistic treatment looks at the causes that lie behind the symptoms. If you became addicted to substances, what were the underlying reasons for that? There’s no point in treating symptoms without addressing causes. If psychological or social issues caused you to turn to drugs, anyone who wants to help you should guide you through these first.

Sure, you can detox and return to your former life, but will you stay off drugs? If the real reasons for your addiction aren’t treated, you’ll be back at square one before too long. So holistic treatment looks at you as a ‘whole person’. It sees addiction as being nothing more than a symptom and practitioners of holistic rehabilitation strive to find out just what caused that symptom.

Mind, body, spirit

Each of us is unique. We may end up with addictions that are far from unique, but the causes of those addictions lie in the mind and spirit, as well as the body. If you want to recover, mind, body and spirit need to be addressed together.

That’s what all the most effective rehabilitation programs do. They don’t rely on generic solutions. They help you to explore yourself as an individual and provide you with the tools you need to achieve holistic healing that deals with both causes and consequences.

You can’t be a passenger in the process

Here’s the difficult part – you have to make holistic treatment for addiction happen. You can submit yourself to detox and allow the symptoms of your addiction to be treated, but to achieve holistic healing, you have to be involved, open and motivated.

Nobody can hand holistic healing to you on a silver platter in a rehabilitation program. You need to live the process. You need to want healing enough to open your mind and even your soul, and you need to be ready to ring the changes. If you don’t, your chances of relapsing are much greater.

You can’t expect to check into rehab and emerge healed in body, mind and spirit unless you’re willing to make an effort beyond just submitting yourself for treatment. It has to come from you, from the heart and from the soul.

Don’t forget the importance of spirit

It’s easy to see addiction as being a physical disease that’s brought on by psychological issues, but you should never forget the importance of spirit. That’s the deep-down real ‘you’ that consists of more than just body and mind. Spirituality can help you to find the inner grounding you need to hang in there even when the going gets physically or emotionally tough.

The best drug rehabilitation centers don’t prescribe a one size fits all spirituality, they leave it up to you. But what they will do is encourage you to reach beyond yourself for the extra strength you’ll need during your recovery – a strength that extends beyond your time in rehab and your recovery and that permeates every aspect of your life.

Becoming ‘whole’ again

Many addicts fear rehabilitation. They see it as a process that will remove one of the things that made them a ‘whole’ person. They fear being incomplete without the drug that threatened to destroy them.  But that drug was only a crutch. It filled a gap that existed in the body, mind, and spirit trinity.

Holistic treatment strives to identify that gap and helps you to fill it with something that’s really ‘you’. Not a drug or a drink, something natural and pure that comes from within you. It allows you to be ‘whole’ without drugs or any other outside influence. It allows you to become who you deserve to be.

What’s in a word? A whole lot!

You can dry out or detox. That’s the ‘easy’ part. The harder part is staying sober, just being yourself in a world that’s full of pressures and temptations. Holistic treatment for addiction strives to help you to achieve the powerful inner knowledge of who you are and what you really want and need. It helps you to reach your full potential – but it can’t do that for you unless you’re fully committed to achieving wholeness.

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