Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Power of Choice in Overcoming Addiction

The Power of Choice in Overcoming Addiction
By: Emma Wilson

We make a lot of choices.

Eat broccoli or cake with your sandwich? Major in exercise science or accounting? 
Call your sister or sleep in? 

These are just a small sampling of the things we decide throughout the
day. Choices are a huge part of life. Some decisions are neither good nor bad, while others
can influence us greatly both in the immediate future and long term.

Those who struggle with addiction may feel they have lost the ability to make choices because of past mistakes. But this is not true! When it comes to addiction, one of the most important choices we can make is to heal and move forward, choosing sobriety and discipline over drugs. It may be difficult—but choices we CAN make while recovering ultimately help us to overcome addiction.

Drugs Limit Power
Dependence on drugs often limits the choices addicts have; they may be dependant on their
daily dose—or doses—to function normally. This dependence often leads to a cycle of poor
decision-making, leaving the addicted person unable to choose another route, even when he
or she so desires. Sometimes, drugs become so paramount that the individual no longer has
a choice in many of life’s important decisions.

By seeking treatment and help from friends, however, those who have lost some of their
power of choice to drugs can regain some of those decision-making powers. Sometimes
this seems like options are limited, but only in the short-run.

In fact, their decisions are making a big difference: because when seeking help they are
choosing the greater good: the often-difficult road to recovery. In essence, they are
choosing to once again lead a happy life with their family and friends, free from substance

Take Control
Here are some choices you CAN make when struggling with addiction:

Choose to include others. Make the choice to enlist the help of others. This can include a
spouse, parents, children, and close friends who are not currently struggling with addiction;
a qualified health professional; and a support group. As explained here, in getting professional help you can choose health over insanity. After getting help, seek out others who are committed to living clean and sober and establish a network to help you continue making good choices.

Choose optimism. “Attitude determines altitude,” they say. Choosing a positive attitude can
be one of the greatest factors in determining happiness during recovery—not to mention
that choosing to stay positive will help you develop self-mastery over your feelings.

Choose healthy eating. Addiction takes a great physical and mental toll on the human body, but changing other habits—especially nutrition—can make a huge difference. Try to find fresh or home-prepared meals; choose fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and grains rather than bags of potato chips and candy bars. It only makes sense that our bodies crave nutrients. The positive result: developing a habit of better eating may help ease cravings and withdrawals, and offer the added benefits of more energy and overall better health.

Choose to exercise. Exercise brings a myriad of health benefits, including a natural “high,”
that will almost assuredly improve your personal road to freedom from addiction. Bonus:
the endorphins released through physical activity can help mitigate depression! The key is
to find activities you actually like to add into your life. It doesn’t matter whether you choose
softball, kickboxing, mountain biking, or yoga—the health benefits from these choices will
help you achieve your dreams.

For the Support Group
Supportive family and friends are a key resource every addict needs as he or she

• Show your love through frequent visits and/or contacts, as appropriate. There
is a different between “enabling” a behavior and showing forth love. If you have
questions on how to do this, consult a qualified health professional.

• Respect the autonomy of your loved one as well as their former independence.
Try to let them make as many choices as they have at their disposal, including diet,
activities—even when you may personally disagree. Show particular support as
they make good choices.

• Encourage your loved one to stay in therapy. Help from trained professionals can be
one of their greatest tools to a full recovery from whatever they are battling, and it
gives them an added support team.

• Express optimism in their chance for full recovery—even if they relapse on
occasion. Your optimism can help fuel theirs and lead to positive changes.

• Help your loved one distance himself or herself from anyone who pressures them to
return to their habit. Help them replace those people with people who have successfully fought addiction or others they connect with who are a positive influence.

• Be a strong example of living a clean, sober, healthy, and happy life.

Whether in rehabilitation or living independently, the choices we make determine our
success and happiness in life.

What decisions are you making toward a healthier life today?

I hope you enjoyed this guest post.
Thank you so much for stopping by. Lets stay in touch :)
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