What are the First Steps to Overcoming an Addiction?

father daughter

The road to overcoming an addiction is challenging, but learning how to overcome it is essential. Every person’s recovery journey is different, but most people follow the same path. There are many forms of addiction, including substance use addiction, alcohol use addiction, and behavioral addiction. Behavioral addiction includes eating, gambling, shopping, and exercising. People still engage in harmful behavior despite the negative repercussions, because of the increased desire for substances and experiences. Overcoming an addiction is a gradual journey and following the proper steps is critical, including:


This stage involves being defensive and justifying the behavior; in this stage, one hasn’t realized the harmful effects of addiction on their life. People who have undergone recovery and had a relapse stay in this stage due to disappointment in themselves. Lack of enough information and patience makes many people remain in this stage for years.

Decision to Change

After realizing a problem, the patient goes through the contemplation stage. The patient has enough information about the importance of the recovery process, making this the essential step.

The process may take time, depending on the decision process of the patient. The patient must set realistic goals. Consultation is necessary; visit a psychologist or an addiction counselor to learn the risks and get further guidance.

Preparation to Change

After deciding to change and having the urgency to have a new life, start preparations for change. In the case of substance and alcohol abuse, removing drugs from your environments like home or workplace is critical. Eliminate any trigger that might cause a relapse. If friends might trigger a relapse, avoid contact with them.

If the addiction is severe, visit an inpatient or outpatient rehab center to receive treatment, addiction experts are well-trained in handling severe addiction cases. Sometimes a family member takes a patient voluntarily or involuntarily to rehab centers.

smoking girl addicted

Find Social Support

Joining addiction support groups is essential for a patient; this is a group of people in their recovery journey. In these groups, the patient is not judged; it is vital for a person not to have contact with friends who may cause a relapse. Loneliness is a massive challenge for addicts since they lose touch with old friends. The family should be supportive throughout the recovery journey.

Get Treatment

Different treatment procedures are used for recovering patients, including psychological and medical processes. Psychotherapy is a psychological approach where the patient develops a new behavioral pattern. It could be done through cognitive behavior therapy, motivational enhancement, mindfulness, and family therapy.

Medication is used to treat withdrawal symptoms to help the patient remain in treatment, preventing relapse. The type of medication depends on the kind of addiction and alcohol detox facility.

Avoid Relapse

A relapse is frustrating for the patient’s family and friends. Relapsing comes during the recovery period or after the completion of the process. A patient needs to manage cravings and control triggers. Avoiding cravings, most times, comes during withdrawal. It is managed by getting away from anything that could trigger, like environments that cause the addiction or friends.

Constant meetings with support groups and visiting a counselor or psychologist are good for recovery. Relapsing can be dangerous and often lead to death because the body has low drug tolerance after withdrawal.

Create a Drug-Free Life

Enjoy every moment that comes with the new life. Build new ties with family, have new friends, join new meaningful activities, eat healthily, and have a positive mindset. Creating a new life is difficult, but it becomes easy with the right support system.

After completing a rehab program, create new hobbies, have life goals, and rebuild a new life that is less stressful and more meaningful.

Keep Hope Alive

Avoid blaming yourself for past actions and look at the future. Be hopeful for a bright future and have a positive vision. Forgive yourself for everything that happened and ask for forgiveness from the people you might have wronged. Lack of clear vision is the leading cause of relapses.


The journey to addiction recovery is full of challenges but living every day as it comes is the way to go. Everyone has a recovery journey that suits them; some may go through the journey faster than others. Addiction recovery is a continuous commitment.