Positive Living: Looking After Yourself (cont.)
Don't Deprive Yourself
Drugs and Alcohol
Be sure to tell your health care provider(s) about your drug or alcohol use. Without this information, they could misdiagnose your symptoms or prescribe a drug that could worsen your condition. Of course, your health care provider may encourage you to quit or cut down, but don't let this stop you from getting the medical care you need.Cutting Down or Quitting - While stopping the use of alcohol or drugs is usually the best way to maintain or improve your health, abstinence is not a realistic goal for everyone. If this is true for you, then decreasing the amount and frequency of your tobacco, drug, or alcohol consumption is still a positive step toward better health and may be more manageable. Some people have managed alcohol addiction by limiting the number of drinks they allow themselves. The same is true of some heroin users.
Substituting other activities for the use of addictive substances is a way to fill time and experience other things that make you feel good. Think about things you enjoyed doing before you started using drugs - you may still like them. Dancing, running, bicycling, exploring the city, reading, meeting people, cooking and repairing things around the house are a few beginning ideas.
For some people, joining Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or another support group is a way to spend time with others who are not drinking or using while building a spiritual program to help maintain sobriety. In general, if the people around you are supportive of your attempts to quit or cut down, the changes you make will be easier to maintain.
Some people find that getting into a treatment program is the easiest or the only way they can quit. Programs use different methods (methadone maintenance, aversion therapy, etc.) depending on the addiction and the philosophy of the program. Sometimes it takes a while to get into a program, so you may find that some of these other techniques will help you in the meantime. (Pregnant women have priority for getting into treatment.)
Relapse or "slipping" is a common experience for many people who try to quit or cut down on drinking or using. Rather than view this slip as a slide to doom, look at it as a detour that you can learn from. Relapse can be used to examine what and how certain thoughts, situations and cues may have led you to start using again, and you can choose to avoid these triggers in the future. Relapse can be an opportunity to renew your commitment to change, to seek further help and to remember your prior successes.
If you get a cold or another infection, hold off on exercising until you feel better. Your body will need all its energy to recover. And make sure you eat enough calories to keep your weight up. Energy foods that are also high in vitamins and minerals include bread, potatoes, pasta and rice.