Did you know that the American society of Addiction Medicine and the National Institute on Drug abuse see addiction as a disease that actually changes your brain? If you’re an addict, you’ll be more accustomed to having others think that you are a ‘bad person’ who isn’t responsible rather than a person with a bona-fide illness. Perhaps you even share that opinion.

But you want to quit. You want to stop defining yourself in terms of your addiction and become the best person you possibly could be. You want to leave the past behind and recover from addiction. There’s just one problem: you’re an addict. That means that you actually can’t just stop, even if you actually want to. Does that mean you have to be an addict for ever?

If you haven’t done so yet, book into a rehabilitation center

No matter what your addiction is – even if you have a behavioural addiction rather than a drug or alcohol based addiction – you won’t be able to get through this on your own, no matter how positive your mind-set is.  If you’ve been for rehabilitation treatment and then returned to your habit, you should try again. Remember, failure isn’t failure unless you give in to it and stop trying. As long as you keep working on your problem, you haven’t failed.

Its’ not just a matter of ‘drying out’ or detoxing; what you need to do is to uncover the underlying psychological issues – the emotions and the thinking that actually turned you into an addict. If you don’t do that, you’re only treating the symptom and the cause has not been removed. If you don’t do that, you probably will relapse.

There’s no one size fits all route to recovery. Everybody is different. One on one counselling will help you to uncover the place where your mind got stuck in a rut, and help you to find strategies to overcome that.

Don’t be ashamed

Would you be ashamed of yourself if you had heart disease? Obviously not, but the misconceptions about addiction are perpetuated by addicts themselves. We think that we have a choice, that we are weak-willed criminals rather than people with a common, treatable illness. If you think these things about yourself, that’s the first change in your mind-set that you’ll have to overcome if you are to recover from addiction.

Shame prevents us from talking about our problem and getting help and without help, recovering from addiction becomes impossible.

Be determined

Make a firm resolution and don’t be deterred if you recover by fits and starts. Of course, you might get through the whole recovery process without setbacks, but a lot of people do experience setbacks and relapses. Changing your entire mind-set and forming new habits isn’t easy, but just because something’s not easy doesn’t mean you should simply give up. If you are determined, you WILL recover. You’ll also understand yourself a lot better than you ever did before.

Love your body

That might sound like quite a hard thing to do. You’ve been indulging in self-destructive behaviour for so long. You probably don’t love yourself all that much, and loving your body is likely to be the last thing on your mind.

But this is something you’ll have to learn, and if you check in for rehabilitation at a good rehabilitation center, there’ll be people who can help you to learn how to care for and respect your own body. You’ll learn healthful new habits: eating correctly, getting exercise and discovering how to build up your damaged vitality.

Leave your past behind

You can’t pretend it didn’t happen, but your past need not define you. You can build a whole new you and move into the future a better, wiser and stronger person than you were before. That’s something to look forward to.

There will be tough times, but tough times are an opportunity to prove that you’ve got what it takes, no matter what anyone else may say about you. Turn your face towards the future, and work towards the most worthwhile thing that you will ever have done before – recovering from your addiction.

Be ready to help others

Recovery is a painful process – and the really hard part only begins when you leave your rehabilitation center and return to your old life, hoping to be a new person from now on. Attend your twelve-step meetings and share your experiences. Listen to what others are going through and try to help them out if you’ve overcome similar problems yourself.

You can recover from addiction – if you have the right attitude to see you through.