Addiction is a complicated, chronic disease that impacts more than 200,000 people in the US each year. To live with an addiction is to acknowledge that, at some point in your life, you failed to follow the path of least resistance and became addicted to a substance or behavior that interferes with your ability to function normally. Even if you’ve never been diagnosed with a substance- or addiction-related disorder, you can benefit from learning how to manage your cravings, deal with thoughts of addiction, and remain abstinent. When you go through recovery with resolve and focus, you achieve better outcomes than if you’re bowled over by your disease and its treatment options.
In this article, you’ll learn the seven essential roles that a personal support worker can play in your recovery from addiction. Personal support workers have been helping people get and stay sober for decades, and their contributions have become ever more important in an era of social media and 24-hour news coverage of substance abuse. One of the best ways to maintain your sobriety is to expand your support team: include friends and family members who understand your struggle, and find ways to be more present during the recovery process.
Encourage and support your recovery
When you’re struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to recognize and acknowledge that you need support. Even when you’re ready to address this need, you may be too ashamed, too ashamed to acknowledge that you have a problem, or worry that others will reject, judge, or shame you if you ask for help. You may also be afraid that others will think less of you if you ask for help.
To encourage and support your recovery, you need to recognize that you have a serious problem to address. This might sound like putting the cart before the horse, but it’s true. You must first acknowledge that you have a problem, and then — and only then — can you start to implement solutions to help you solve the problem.
You also need to recognize that your recovery is a process, not a destination. During your recovery, you will experience periods of difficult times and even feeling rebellious, before you reach a place of greater clarity and sobriety. Just because you choose to abstain from drugs/alcohol during your recovery doesn’t mean that you have completely recovered from addiction.
Provide a safe place to share your story
People who struggle with addiction often keep their addiction private, often fearing that others will reject,judge, or shame them if they ask for help. Sharing your story can give others the opportunity to understand what it’s like to go through addiction, and can help you open up the lines of communication with others who care about your well-being. Sharing your story can also help you recognize your triggers, develop better coping skills, and realize that you’re not alone.
Cope with withdrawal and temptation
During your recovery, you may feel tempted to use, but shouldn’t use. You may want to experiment with substances to test out different options but shouldn’t use them. You’re trying to improve your situation, not set yourself up for failure or shame. You may also want to experiment with various drugs and behaviors to satisfy cravings, but doing so will be harmful and can lead to terrible outcomes.
Build your coping skills
You need to develop better-coping skills to deal with the rollercoaster of emotions and stresses of recovery. One of the most important things you can do is to examine your coping skills and develop ways to build stronger bones. This includes dealing with the anxiety and stress of withdrawal, the temptation to use, and the feelings of shame and isolation that often come with addiction.
Stay committed to recovery
Even when you think you’re ready to face your addiction problems head-on, you may still feel ambivalent or unsure about how to proceed. This is normal, and it’s okay to feel this way. Even if you think you feel ready to face your addiction, you need to stay committed to recovery so that you can stay on the path to self-care, self-determination, and autonomy.
All of the above means that you need to work on your recovery plan, which includes developing better-coping skills, staying committed to recovery, and making time for self-care. By addressing these elements, you can maximize your chances of being able to stay abstinent and improve your outcomes.
Having a plan for your recovery is the most important thing you can do. It’s also the most challenging thing you can do, but the payoff is worth it. Having a plan for your recovery will give you the energy and focus you need to stay abstinent, and it will also improve your outcomes.
So, if you’re ready to take the next step in your journey to recovery, make sure you have a plan.