The thought of being addicted to drugs or alcohol is frightening. Your entire life could be taken over by these substances. You could lose your friends, your job and your home. All the things that are important to you today – all the things you have worked so hard for – could be lost forever.
Many people assume that they will never become addicted, and some of them will be right. But others worry about their addiction risk. If you are one of these people, what steps can you take to not just avoid drugs and alcohol but also lower your risk for addiction?
Assess Personal Risk Factors
Start by identifying your personal risk factors. These include:
Lack of support
Poor social skills
Access to drugs and alcohol
History of substance abuse
Being at risk for addiction is not the same as saying “you will become an addict.” There is no perfect recipe for becoming an addict, and addiction does not discriminate. People with no risk factors can struggle with addiction, too. If you have many personal risk factors, don’t assume you will become an addict. Instead, take the appropriate steps to protect yourself.
How to Lower Your Risk for Addiction
You have more control over your life than you realize. It all starts with making smart choices. Let’s look at some of the ways to reduce your addiction risk.
Make lifestyle changes. Identify areas in your life that are lacking. For example, if you don’t have a strong support network, find ways to grow your support system. Become more active in your community, take part in local activities and join a gym or library.
Decrease exposure. Distance yourself from the substances you are exposed to. This could mean moving out of the home or changing jobs. It’s a big decision, but it could seriously impact your future.
Address negative feelings. Unresolved issues in your past and present must be addressed. Not dealing with these emotions leaves you vulnerable. Consider speaking with a therapist, joining a support group or educating yourself through books and articles.
Know your temptations. Discuss any use history with a professional who specializes in addiction treatment. Be aware of your temptations and the warning signs of relapse.
Self-awareness is a powerful tool. By acknowledging your risk and being honest about your feelings, you can create a strong foundation that distances you from a life of drugs and alcohol. And, if you have already completed a treatment program, consider adding outpatient treatment. It’s less intensive than inpatient treatment, but it offers recovering addicts structure and support during their busy lives. Call The River Source to learn more about this convenient, affordable care.