When a person goes into recovery, resides in a sober living home, and eventually develops a new and different lifestyle, they learn to stay sober through friends, family, and a large network of professionals assisting them. A person in recovery slowly learns to live life not only in a sober way but in a healthy way. They might not only learn how to avoid cravings but they also learned to change their thought patterns, feel grateful for what they have, and take good care of themselves. Their life in recovery is much different than their life as an addict.
But what if efforts were made to help people avoid the whole dangerous cycle of addiction in the first place? What if there were educational and prevention programs that assisted people to maintain sober living from the start? What if there were organizations that helped people steer clear of drugs and alcohol?
Well, there are. And research shows that these programs are incredibly effective. Those efforts that involve family, schools, communities, and the media are incredibly effective in reducing drug and alcohol abuse. Research has shown that when people perceive drug use as harmful, they reduce their alcohol and drug intake. Because of this, one of the most effective preventative measures is to educate the public on various substances as well as their negative health consequences. Once people realize that taking drugs can produce medical as well as mental health problems, they are more likely to avoid them, even when faced with stressful moments.
In fact, research points to the fact that addiction is entirely preventable. With the right education a person can completely avoid the dangerous cycle of addiction and the need to start over again with sober living. Instead, they can maintain a sober life from the start. If you have a friend, loved one, or family member for whom you’d like to help prevent addiction before it starts, these are suggestions to consider:
Communicate: Talk to your friend or loved one about your feelings. Let them know that addiction is entirely preventable. It only takes saying no to drugs from the start.
Listen: Hear your loved one out. What are the reasons behind their desire to drink or use drugs? Perhaps it’s feeling overwhelmed by stress or grief, perhaps they feel pressured by coworkers. Or perhaps they simply enjoy the high or buzz they experience. Whatever the reason is, your loved one or friend deserves to be heard.
Set a good example: Although you might think setting a good example means to do so for a child, you can also model sober living for a friend or loved one too, regardless of their age. In fact, you can show them that it’s entirely possible to live an exciting life even without the use of substances.
Strengthen your friendship or bond: Experts are aware than when a person feels heard and understood in a relationship and when that relationship is caring and loving, a person will tend to avoid drug and alcohol use. Also, a strong bond between you and your loved one has been shown to reduce the likelihood that a person will use drugs.
Prevention means not using drugs in the first place, and the best way to curb addiction is prevention. Consider the four above tips for preventing drug use and addiction in loved ones, coworkers and community members.
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