Cocaine rehabilitation. Benzodiazepine addiction treatment. Detox from prescription drugs. Long stays at heroin treatment centers or methadone detox centers. Whatever your personal problem drug, there are professional-help options for getting off it—and professional help from detox treatment centers is vital. But in the long run, the best treatment center in Los Angeles, the United States or the known world won’t be able to solve your addiction problem for you—unless you contribute your own cooperation and initiative.
Most people with addiction see themselves as victims of an unfair world and others’ whims. If anyone appreciated them … if life hadn’t disappointed them so often … if their jobs weren’t so stressful … if someone would just give them a break … if they didn’t always have such bad luck … if they hadn’t been born as weaklings destined to fail … they wouldn’t have been “driven” to seek what comfort they could in chemical substances. Unless they lose that attitude before leaving their detox treatment centers to return to the everyday world, they’ll soon be back to seeking the same old false comfort for the same old problems—and feeling more bitter than ever because the world failed to appreciate their detox efforts and now there’s one more thing they couldn’t make work.
The secret of losing the victim mentality is to cultivate its opposite: confidence in your personal power and willingness to use it.
1. Know where your real power lies and doesn’t lie.
The Serenity Prayer, a classic favorite of 12-Step detoxers, begins by seeking “serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Truthfully, most of us already have that wisdom: we just don’t want to use it. If you plan to take charge of your life and stay sober, understand first that “taking charge” refers only to things we can personally control.
The place where we have the most power is in our own attitudes, and that’s usually where we least want to make changes: it feels too much like letting the rest of the world get away with something at our expense. But the alternative—railing against the weather, the traffic, the economy or the international situation—will change nothing except that you’ll sink further into the angry-victim pit. Take deep breaths while you wait, count your blessings and look for anything you can do, and not only will you feel calmer and more in control—your influence on the rest of the world will increase because you’ll be giving off positive energy and becoming a person others naturally want to please.
Some other things you have personal control over:
- What you say to others—face to face, on the phone or via social media
- How often you smile
- What you feed your brain (while some exposure to bad news is inevitable, you don’t have to watch CNN eight hours a day)
When you leave your treatment center, Los Angeles traffic and air pollution will be as bad as ever, but you don’t have to pollute your own soul by fuming over hard reality.
2. Make sure you don’t trade one instant-gratification approach for another.
Many people graduate from heroin treatment centers only to wind up in methadone detox centers, because they forgot that the purpose of a crutch is to learn to walk without it. Most people trying to detox from prescription drugs had too many expectations that the original prescription would solve all their problems. And many people manage to stay sober after leaving their detox treatment centers—but transfer the “use it whenever you hurt, even after it starts causing more problems than it solves” attitude to some other “quick fix” such as gambling, shopping or gorging themselves on comfort foods.
Blaise Pascal talked about people whose problems are rooted in the inability to sit quietly in their own rooms and face up to the imperfections of their own selves. If there’s anything you automatically jump up and start doing when the alternative is to clear your head and just think, that’s a sign you need to stop and figure out what’s bothering you—even if that proves painful—and decide whether to live with it or do something about it.
3. Follow your dreams.
That may sound anything but practical, especially if your address for the past few months has been “alcohol rehab Los Angeles” because you came to Hollywood to be a star and couldn’t take the reality of all the searching and all the rejections. Or especially if it’s been 20 years since you put aside your dream of opening a curio shop because everyone nagged you to be sensible and work where the money was. But following your dreams does lead to a fulfilling life when balanced with patience, sound thinking and self-confidence. Your dream won’t likely come true tomorrow, perhaps not even this decade. You’ll probably spill a lot of sweat and tears along the way. But if it’s a dream that comes from your heart, you can believe in it enough to not give up on it.
A few hints:
- If you aren’t sure what your dreams are, take inventory of the things that bring you the most joy, the accomplishments you’re proudest of and the needs you’d most like to see something done about.
- As long as you’re staying responsible for yourself and not hurting anyone else, don’t worry about what others think. Only you can make the final decision on the dreams that work for you.
- Don’t say you “don’t have time.” Even if you’re a single parent working 50 hours a week, there will be some nonessentials you can trade out of your schedule.
4. Accept help from others.
Taking charge of your life does not mean being completely self-sufficient. Humans are naturally communal: we need support, assistance and also the fulfillment of serving others out of more than duty. All good detox treatment centers know that effective sobriety means regular contact with others who support us in that purpose. Even in more mundane matters, don’t be afraid to delegate duties so you can focus on what you do best.
5. Take care of yourself physically.
No matter what other responsibilities are in your life, keep fitness, healthy eating and adequate rest among your top priorities. When your body feels good all over, you’ll be better equipped to resist temptation—and better motivated to nurture that healthy good feeling by staying off drugs.
Inland Detox, top center for drug and alcohol rehab in the Los Angeles vicinity, is located less than two hours away in the Temecula Valley. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and need professional detox help, please call (888) 739-8296.