The First 4 Steps in Stopping Your Drug Use

You know you have a problem with drugs, and you want to stop using. You are facing the consequences of drug abuse: broken relationships, deteriorating physical health, mental health issues and likely money problems. You know that staying on this path of substance abuse is not worth it. Only pain and death will result if you continue to use drugs. This is a very important step—making the choice to live an entirely new life. Know this is not a change that happens overnight. Rather this will require intentional guided steps on the path of recovery. You can do it. Millions have before you. You are not alone in this either, even if it feels like you are. Of the 235 million people aged 12 and over in the U.S. in 2001, five percent met the criteria for substance dependence.[1] You are not alone if you struggle with addiction. In most cases, this is fear disguised as voices in your head telling you negative things that are simply not true. You can live a sober life. No matter what has happened in your life, you can seek out help and pursue the healing and restoration you need.

  1. Talk to Your Doctor

This is step one because what happens can depend on several things. The severity of your addiction—that is how much you are using and what you are using—needs to be taken into consideration. Your current physical health is another contributing factor. If you have been abusing drugs for years, it is possible that your liver or heart may fail if you participate in any more substance abuse. You may even require hospitalization. If your addiction is less severe, it is possible that you may have the option to participate in an outpatient rehab program and start attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Each situation can vary to an extent. It is of utmost importance that you are completely honest with your doctor and do not downplay or understate the amount and kinds of drugs being used. If you do not currently have a doctor, please do not let this stop you from getting help. You could go to a local health clinic or even a clinic inside the drug store. Ask friends for referrals. If you feel this is an emergency, do not hesitate to go to the hospital.

  1. Get Help From a Family Member or Close Friend

You are likely not thinking very clearly while under the influence, so it is also important to get help from a family member or close friend who can help support you by aiding you with the decision making process. This person should not be a participant of drug abuse either as you are trying to get clean and stop using. If you go to someone who uses—even if he or she has good intentions—you are much more likely to slide back into old habits and continue using. When you interact (and live with) with sober individuals, you are more likely to stay sober yourself. The environment around you has a large amount of influence your sobriety. According to the National Institute of Health, the main family factors of drug addiction include family atmosphere, strength of family ties, sense of family happiness, structure of authority in the family and alcoholism. In this context, family atmosphere could be considered to be the environment. If you are surrounded by drugs—even if you want to get clean—you are much more likely to use drugs.

  1. Figure out What You Will Do for Treatment

Getting sober requires treatment. Recovery does not just happen from stopping drug use cold turkey. You will face temptation over time to use again. Remember, addiction is a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes or heart disease. You must have a plan in place. Going to a professional therapist is a great way to get help with this. If you are not sure about how to find a therapist, you can call our helpline speak to a trained counselor right now. Treatment is not just a short-term phase but rather a long-term approach. Your recovery lasts a lifetime.

  1. Replace Drug Use With Positive Behavior

As you move forward, you must discontinue drug use. It is always a best to do this under the care of medical supervision, as you would find with inpatient treatment. Start making healthy, intentional decisions. Over time you will start to fill your life with healthy habits that lead to healthy routines. These will give you balance—a foundation even—to build a healthy life. If you would like to talk to someone about getting sober, there is a counselor ready to talk with you right now. Call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline, and you can get the information you need to get help and start a sober life.


[1] Managing Addiction as a Chronic Condition. Dennis, Michael. Scott, Christy.

[2] Family and environmental factors of drug addiction among young recruits. Jedrzejczak, M.


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