Drug withdrawals are an unfortunate and unavoidable part of the recovery process. If sobriety is your ultimate destination, making an uncomfortable pit stop with the detoxification process is a guarantee. However, there are different methods and helpful techniques you may employ to quell some of the more difficult parts of drug and alcohol withdrawals as well as curve the inevitable drug cravings. Understanding what is going on physiologically will only provide so much relief when it comes to drug withdrawals; try these helpful tips:
1. The Four D’s.
This is a method used by Quit SA initially designed to assist nicotine addicts in finding a way to successfully put down their cigarettes. Despite its original purpose, this method is also extremely beneficial when it comes to drug and alcohol withdrawals as well. Should you begin to experience any symptoms, implement the “Four Ds:” delay acting, deep breathing, drink water, do something else. By engaging in these proactively, you may be able to successfully surmount the PAWS or “Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms” as they come in waves.
It is no secret that physical activity has a plethora of health benefits in a generalized sense, and these include dealing with drug withdrawals. Physical activity releases natural chemicals, such as endorphins, which naturally combat physical pain as well as other problematic symptoms. Should you ever experience a drug and alcohol craving encroaching, immediately engage in some sort of physical activity whether it’s weight lifting or even just going for a brisk walk. The effects are basically immediate. While there are times in dealing with drug withdrawals that you may feel incapable of performing any sort of exercise, even just taking short laps around the block may have a profound impact on your symptoms.
3. Accountability Partner.
It can be very advantageous to have a partner who keeps you accountable for your actions. Much like a “workout buddy”, this individual will be your biggest advocate and cheerleader when it comes to the small victories and coach during the difficult times. You accountability partner should be someone you both trust and respect, as you are essentially putting your life in his or her hands. They must be capable of tough love and cannot be easily manipulated. An accountability partner may be found through a variety of channels, whether it’s an AA group, a sponsor, a friend, or family member, so long as they meet the criteria of a solid accountability partner, it’s up to you.
Drug and alcohol withdrawals bring with them a multitude of symptoms. Whenever you begin to feel these problematic and troublesome symptoms begin to become too much, laying down for a nap or rest if you cannot actually fall asleep will help substantially. As your body adjusts to functioning normally once again without the assistance of whatever substances you were using, it needs time to repair the years of damage that it has been subjected to.
An integral part of recovery is celebrating your milestones in sobriety. No matter how great or small it may seem, by reveling in your successes it helps keep your eye on the prize and everything seem worth it. Your self-esteem and self-worth greatly benefit from celebrating as well, which is great for managing the emotional symptoms of drug withdrawals such as depression and anxiety.
It is common knowledge that meditation presents numerous mental and health benefits from regular practice, and it definitely applies to drug and alcohol withdrawals. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be incredibly helpful in recovery and addiction treatment already. Meditation has also been around for thousands of years as a holistic treatment alternative for chronic pain management. During the actual process of meditating, by engaging in the multitude of breathing activities, which raise your core body temperature, various hormones are subsequently released within your body that acts as natural pain relievers.
7. Go to a meeting.
This should be a no-brainer when it comes to recovery, as going to meetings and working a program are synonymous to finding sobriety. During the infancy of your sobriety, meeting attendance is absolutely crucial. While attending meetings may not do anything physical assist in dealing with drug and alcohol withdrawals, it gives you access to an audience who can both empathize as well as offer first-hand experience and support during this trying time, improving your emotional state. By opening up and sharing exactly where you’re at, it allows you to reach out and expand your support system which will provide you the fortitude to manage any cravings you may be experiencing. It is essential that you are engaged in your program, all the time, but especially when you are experiencing drug withdrawals.
8. Do something fun.
While recovery must be taken seriously, that doesn’t mean that any and all fun is destined to become a distant memory! In fact, in sobriety, you’ll find you’ll have more fun sober than you ever did using. Utilize your newfound freedom from drugs and alcohol to experience real-life happiness. When it comes to drug withdrawals, engaging in a fun activity you enjoy can provide a nice distraction from the uncomfortable experience. Remember that PAWS are not going to last forever, it is merely a transitional period in between you and the rest of your life. Making a list of all of the fun activities you’ve always wanted to attempt but never could thanks to active addiction can also allow you a brief reprieve you’re your drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Journaling is quite popular among mental health professionals as a very useful and successful therapy option for their patients. It allows a creative outlet for your feelings and thoughts to flow unbiased and by viewing them on paper may help you process them in a healthy manner. Keeping a journal throughout the entire withdrawal process and even into the first few months of recovery and beyond can be both therapeutic now and in the future should you ever look back at your writings in the future. Keeping track of your progress on a day to day basis will also help with the drug and alcohol withdrawal process by providing tangible evidence that every day you’re getting a little bit better, providing hope and encouragement.
10. Join an online support group.
By joining an online support group, you can have additional support from fellow recovering addicts should you feel too sick to physically attend a meeting. It is by no means a viable replacement for meetings in the future during your recovery after the withdrawal process is a thing of the past, but at the very least access to your fellows in the program may provide hope and support instantaneously as you wait out the more severe withdrawal days.
11. Set goals for yourself.
By setting both long and short-term goals for yourself and recovery, you’re setting an outline for success. This allows for looking ahead in a positive light rather than with fear and anxiety of uncertainty. Projecting positivity in less than enjoyable situations such as drug and alcohol withdrawals helps create a buffer between yourself and the negative drawbacks of the current situation. By doing so, you’re also reminding yourself that this current state of being is completely temporary and sooner than later the PAWS will subside and you will begin your new, happy life in recovery. Reaching your goals over time will also reaffirm your commitment to your recovery.
While dealing with drug withdrawals is neither easy nor fun, by implementing any or all of these different methods of management, you can at the very least make the experience less painful. The only way to really get through drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms is by allowing time to work its mysterious magic. Keep this list handy with you during your detox process to help you manage your PAWS to the best of your ability, and always remember- this is only temporary! The rest of your life living drug-free is worth it in the end!
Withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a very real thing. If you or someone you love is suffering from withdrawal, be sure to follow these tips. Remember the Four D’s, get plenty of exercise, find an accountability partner, make time for extra sleep, and celebrate the milestones! For more information on withdrawal, addictions, and treatment, contact Drug Treatment Center Finder, today.