Detoxification, whether it is from alcohol or heroin, is one of the most painful things a person can experience. This is no exaggeration either; your body will literally feel like it’s going to die.
It is a very sensitive process as well. It does not take much to make your pain worse, or to make your cravings too much to resist. After all, whatever vice you are addicted to probably took up a lot of your time and energy before you tried detoxing from it. Most people use their vices to deal with stress and fill in time that they would otherwise spend alone and idle.
That means there are a lot of things you can do and a lot of situations you can be in that will make your withdrawal symptoms worse and your cravings more intense.
What we are going to do today is talking about the 10 most common mistakes people make during detoxification that make their treatment and recovery much harder than it needs to be.
Going Too Hard Too Fast
Most people are familiar with the experience of working out for the first time in a while, straining themselves in excitement, and then being too sore to work out again for more than a week.
By the time you recover you will have basically returned to square one. The same applies to drug detox. There are a lot of things that can help you detox and recover from addiction, but if you try to take them on all at once you are setting yourself up to fail.
Start off slow. Wean yourself off, eat better, and workout. But if it strains you to do so, do not go so hard that you end up quitting.
Lots of people think that going into recovery from addiction has to be like turning a light switch on and going from dark to light. But often the best course of action is to introduce the elements of your recovery one at a time. We mentioned weaning yourself off, eating better, and working out. Dedicate a whole week to each of those before you really go into detox.
A lot of what we are trying to emphasize to you here is that you should manage what you expect to get out of detox. For a while early on, all that you will get out of detox is pain. If you think that detoxing will feel good, then you are going to have trouble when it inevitably feels bad.
You’re not trying to make detox easy. You are trying to build yourself up to deal with it being hard.
One common issue addicts deal with is the heavy stigma against addiction. Society makes addicts feel as though they should not “burden” others with their addiction. But not only is it nearly impossible to deal with addiction on your own, there are plenty of people willing to help.
Do not try to take on detox alone. Involve people who love you and medical professionals.
Telling Your Workplace About It
The flip side of isolating yourself is including people who do not need to know about your struggle. While people like friends, family, and medical professionals can basically always be trusted to help you, your employer can almost always be trusted to hurt you by telling them.
Staying Around Other Addicts
Like your employer, other addicts do not need to know you are trying to quit your addiction either. Most addicts know some other addicts that enable them. Now, we are not saying you should cut these people out of your life. Just that you should be sure not to be pressured by them. Friends are friends, but if all you ever do with a person is get high or drunk, avoid that.
Getting Into a Relationship
Not everyone will find the opportunity for this during their recovery. That scarcity makes the relationship seem valuable. In fact, some people will view the relationship in symbolic terms, as if the person they have the opportunity to start a relationship with is there to save them.
You can imagine the issues here. No one is your personal messiah. Even if you do not believe that then your own struggles are going to take up so much time and effort that they would make a relationship basically impossible.
Being Too Idle
As we alluded to before, most people will use drugs and alcohol as a way to pass the time. It is their way of relaxing, and they happen to form a dependency on it. This means that if you are trying to avoid that substance, then being idle is the shortest path to relapse.
As you go into detox you have to have an idea of what you are going to do with your spare time.
This might seem highly related to the previous point, but it is not. Whether or not you are physically active is different question than whether or not you have things to do.
Working out and staying mobile will help your body stay healthy enough to deal with detox and withdrawal. It can give you something to do, but it should not be the only thing you do.
Let’s go back to society’s stigma against addiction: Many addicts will internalize a belief that they need to make do with what they have and do everything themselves. This is a toxic idea that leads to addicts refusing help they need under the pretense that they “shouldn’t need it”.
At the point that you are an addict, you are no longer a perfect judge of your own needs.
Of course, you know in general what you need. If you are seeking detox, Epiphany Wellness suggests you at least know you need to get clean. But that should come first ahead of everything, from your pride to your self-imposed limitations.