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Addiction wasn’t originally a disease. It’s a core part of our survival. When we experience something good or something that keeps us well and alive, we adhere to it. If an animal realized that eating a certain mushroom made it full and healthy, it would continue to eat that mushroom.

Our brain works the same way. When it experiences something good, it releases feel-good chemicals, telling us that what we did was rewarding. This could be a bar of chocolate, a cup of good coffee, or a good jog. Our brain’s addiction center tells us to keep doing that because it helps us function and survive.

It all changed when substances that alter mental states, entered our society. One could argue that the first addictive substance was alcohol. The inebriation causes loss of inhibition making you feel braver and the second, drowsing effect relaxes you and releases tension.

Here is where the true culprit of addiction comes. Not the effects that make you feel good, braver, and calmer, but the reasons why you need to constantly feel good, feel brave, and calm yourself.

How to Overcome Addiction?

The key to solving any problem is to first find the source. Like in medicine, the most effective way of curing a disease is finding out what’s causing it and dealing directly with the cause. Other times, the only solution is to fight all the symptoms and let the body fight the disease on its own (such as getting a  cold.) The former applies to drug addiction better.

What is the source? Sadly, the right question is “What are the sources?” Addiction is the culmination of several factors, all constantly in play. There is the individual, the environment, and the resources to get the drugs or other substance.

  • The Individual

You’ve heard this in nearly every therapy session. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that they have a problem. An addict has to first accept and embrace the fact that they are addicted. On some, their brains have rewired themselves to justify the drug abuse as necessary for function. The key here is for the individual to understand what the addiction causes and why it happens.

First, the individual must list down the harmful effects of the addiction, both on themselves and other people. It can be their health, relationships, finances, anything that’s compromised by their habit.

Second, the individual must make the opposite list. They must make a list of all the positive changes they want in their lives. Positive things such as freedom, more money, enjoying old and new hobbies.

Third, the individual must create their quitting commitment. With a scope of the harmful effects of their addiction and the motivation of good things to come, they can start making a plan. There are many ways to quit, some of them short but tribulating, others are long, yet effective. With this plan, they should include the solid reasons why they should quit, as a reminder in case they question it.

Once these are all assembled, they must be placed somewhere the individual can see. It may just be words, but it has power, especially to the person who wrote it. It may not work 100%, but it factors in the success.

There are some exceptions. One such exception is if the person has a condition that’s mitigated by the drug. If a person has pain problems that won’t go away unless they are under the influence, it might be difficult or downright impossible to stop. As such, individuals should seek personal and professional advice.

  • The Environment

Many factors fall into this category, but it can be simplified into the people around you. To an addict, there are three kinds of people. Those who promote the addiction, those who enable the addiction and those who oppose it. Everyone else is uninvolved.

For those you’ve harmed, the best approach is to tell them that you’ll start quitting. You don’t need to convince them and you don’t need to compensate just yet. If you need to apologize, go ahead and do so, but actions speak louder than words. It’s even better to apologize when you’re completely sober and drug-free.

For those who enable you, tell them that you are quitting. Tell them to support you instead of enabling you. Most enablers do what they do because they think it’s for the best. Tell them to turn these good intentions into a force that will help you stop.

Stick close to the people who love you. But you have to understand that the only one that can truly help you is yourself.

Finally, seek professional help. If you have health insurance, speak to their representative. They will be more than happy to give you the specifics. If they don’t rehab directly, they can offer alternatives or options. At the very least, they can point you to other professionals or places where you can get help.

  • The Source of the Substance

One of the key ways to stop addiction is to get rid of the source. Destroy all existing substances, even the secret stashes, and the secret-secret-secret stashes. The point here is to avoid temptation. You can even ask your local bar to block you from entering. They may be sad to see a customer go, but they will be glad that they helped someone struggling.

For people who are addicted due to a condition, consult your doctor first. Ask for alternatives, detox treatments or surgery that may help with the condition. Even if the procedure is expensive, consider the expenses you’ll shell out when your addiction starts to take its toll.

The guide here is but an alternative to the many ways people can battle addiction. There are groups, centers, and professionals that can help people combat addiction.

How to Beat Drug Addiction When You Have No Money

Rehab is expensive. Detox treatments are expensive. Many bonafide procedures and programs to combat drug addiction are expensive. This is due to people making a business by answering a need. We can’t blame them for doing so because even they have their needs. There are ways to combat addiction without spending money.

  • The Tapering Option

If executed perfectly, this is one of the most effective ways to stop addiction, all while minimizing withdrawal. You can do this by yourself, but it’s still more effective to do this with someone you trust.

What you do is to systematically reduce the amount you take every few days. For example, you take 1000 mg of something, or 10 drinks of something normally, you reduce the amount to say, 900 mg or 9 drinks for a week. The next week, you reduce it to 800 mg or 8 drinks and so on. You’ll get to a point where you’ll only need 100 mg or 1 drink, then stopping for good.

This method minimizes withdrawal but can take a very long time. If you do it slow enough, with utter commitment, you won’t experience withdrawal at all.

  • Free Rehab Facilities

They do exist. Some of them are run by charity groups and others by the government. You need to do a bit of research to find them and see what programs they offer. Some of them might not be completely free, often requiring an upfront payment, but it’s significantly less than most rehab centers.

When you find one, quickly get in touch with them and ask as many important questions as possible. Some of them will be residential rehab, where you’ll live there for a month. Others offer outpatient care in the form of daily visitations and therapy.

  • The “Anonymous” Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, PTSD Anonymous, and much more. They are mostly walk-in and all you have to do is find the place and time when the meetings start. They employ a kind of therapy known as the Twelve Steps. This traditional therapy revolves around accepting a higher power to guide you into quitting. It’s not necessarily religious and groups won’t force you to believe in a specific “power.” You can leave whenever you want and come back whenever you want.

If you are lucky, visiting these groups may earn you a sponsor. Usually, these are people who have succeeded in quitting and are paying it forward. They can pay for your treatment, rehab or anything that will directly contribute to your success.

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