How to Stop an Addiction: Expert Advice on Recovery

Aug 7, 2021

There’s not a single person who hasn’t been in an unhealthy situation in life. How you respond to it becomes the most important first choice you can make. A substance use disorder is no different. The priority should be on determining what steps get someone to recovery and keep them in recovery. Today, we’ll share some expert advice on how to reach and sustain recovery from drug or alcohol misuse.

Some people may believe that if you “just say no” you will be able to stop unhealthy drug use. But how to stop an addictive illness, especially substance use, demands a greater understanding of how the addictive substance affects the body. Increased tolerance over time can make a person feel like they’re in control of their drinking or drug use. Facing withdrawal symptoms, often severe ones, can discourage people from starting recovery efforts. Learning how withdrawal affects the body can help someone better prepare for the symptoms and choose a medically supervised detox to avoid the complications of withdrawal. An introduction to treatment for a substance use disorder should be seen as a continuum of care, not just the treatment program itself. This continuum of care can include family therapy, treatment for comorbid mental health issues, and plans for alumni care upon completing a residential program.

Reasons You or a Loved One Has Tried This Before

The list of reasons someone tries to quit misusing drugs or alcohol is endless. It’s affected jobs, school, family, or relationships. It’s made it hard to function every day. It’s created legal issues or financial difficulties. You’ve missed special experiences or valuable opportunities. You’ve lost touch with people or been cut off by them. Former friends no longer trust you. You feel isolated and alone most of the time. You feel like life is unmanageable. You don’t like how you look or feel. The list goes on and on. You may recognize many of these reasons as personal to you or someone you love.

One or more of the factors above may have compelled you to try recovery on your own. You may have even tried to quit cold turkey or tried to stay sober on your own willpower. It may have been a “let’s see if this works” kind of approach. You might have quit drinking or doing drugs without help and stayed sober for a short time. You felt like your efforts paid off until they didn’t, and you were using again. You may have even blamed yourself when attempt after attempt didn’t produce a recovery that you could sustain.

The Downfall of Tolerance

Tolerance to a drug or alcohol can be deceiving. It suggests someone can handle their substance use because their tolerance has increased over time. There may be a sense of pride in how much they can consume and still function.

The person who sees their tolerance increase may begin to use more often or consume higher amounts to get the same result. A high tolerance doesn’t mean someone has developed an SUD yet. It’s one step on the path towards an SUD, though.

Another downfall of tolerance is compelling people to mask their drinking or drug use habits. As their reputation for “handling” a lot grows, they may begin to hide their substance use. They may feel there’s no pressure to limit drug use if no one is monitoring them.

The Withdrawal Cycle

Seeing withdrawal as a series of events is different than seeing it as a single experience of starting recovery. The cycle involves several steps and begins with quitting drinking or drug use or even reducing the amount of substance use. One simple way to look at the early withdrawal is beginning to see symptoms that are the opposite of the drug’s effects on your body.

The withdrawal cycle’s two main parts of the acute effects or the protracted effects. The acute effects last a short time. They start within a few hours and can last for several days. If untreated, they can intensify over time. A third day could feel much worse than a first day without using drugs or alcohol. A protracted withdrawal means the symptoms linger for weeks or months. They may not always be present and can return unexpectedly.

One of the threats of the withdrawal cycle comes from potential health complications. Detoxing from some substances, including alcohol, can be more dangerous than detoxing from others. That’s why it’s imperative to detox from these substances at a facility with medical professionals providing care. They can monitor and treat patients to avoid the risks that come with withdrawal.

Treatment Can Help

Going through detox without a plan can set you up for failure. Without a treatment plan, you’re really going back to “square one” on your sobriety. Treatment at a program specializing in your specific substance use disorder is a way to begin a recovery plan that can be sustainable.

It won’t be enough to stay sober while you have no access to drugs and alcohol. The key in treatment is learning the skills to keep your sobriety going when living independently again. That comes from a program’s specific offerings to prepare you for seeing friends, family, and familiar places again.

A proper diagnosis is also another essential step in beginning and sustaining recovery. Treatment must be customized for the comprehensive needs of a patient in order to support long-term recovery. For example, a man with a history of depression and opioid addiction benefits from a treatment plan integrated to address both disorders.

Family therapy can be another instrumental part of a patient’s success in treatment. Learning to repair and rebuild these essential relationships can be a healthy part of recovery work during a treatment program. Developing a plan for continuing care once the initial treatment phase is over also extends the support provided to a patient who will need help staying on task with their recovery goals.


Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1019.

You May Also Like…