Research has found that in some cases, people are able to quit their object of addiction on their own, without the help of a professional or support group. This process is called ‘natural recovery’.
Individuals suffering from a substance use disorder or behavioral addiction attempt to quit several times before actually quitting. That is because quitting is difficult and challenging. It can also be quite uncomfortable. However, it is not impossible; and the more an individual attempts to quit, the higher the likelihood they will eventually quit completely. Former nicotine smokers have the highest numbers of natural recoverees, researchers suspect. For individuals addicted to certain substances, such as stimulant drugs or tranquilizers, it is not recommended to attempt quitting without professional assistance and supervision.
Some drugs have dangerous, sometimes fatal, withdrawal symptoms on the user when continuous use is suddenly stopped. Severe addiction and psychological disorders play a role in the course of the journey to recovery. If the individual is suffering from a psychological disorder or has a severe addiction, seeking out professional help may be the best course of action for better chances at recovery. One must keep in mind that the higher the addiction severity is, the smaller the chances are that the person can naturally recover.
If you want to begin your journey to recovery through the process of ‘natural recover’, the following is a research-tested list of strategies to follow in order to quit your use:
- Set a date for quitting. Choose a day that means something special to you.
- Alter your environment. Get rid of anything that reminds you of your object of addiction. Don’t allow your friends or family to bring reminders related to your object of addiction, and separate yourself from anyone who may encourage you to use.
- Adapt new skills and behaviors. When the urge to use is present, replace using with an alternative activity, such as going out or taking a walk, until the urge to use is no longer there. Learn to prepare yourself for situations that may trigger your craving.
- Evaluate past quitting attempts. Review what was suitable for you and what was not, and what may have caused relapse. Based on that, think about what you could do differently this time around, what to avoid, and what needs to be changed.
- Create a support system. Have a conversation with your family and friends, asking for their support. Make sure to surround yourself by those who are encouraging of your recover, and not those who use your object of addiction in front of you or encourage you to relapse.
- Obtain meaning to your life. One of the most essential elements of the recovery process is to find what it is that gives your life meaning. Think of something that gave you meaning before your addiction. Find new interests besides your object of addiction, such as a hobby, new relationships, or your career.
Before someone begins their journey to recovery, they must ask themselves, “Am I ready to change?”. It’s important for them to consider what it is that they gain and lose from their addiction. A significant step towards recovery requires the person to understand what they gain from their object of addiction, and how they can receive the same things from other, much safer outlets. They must think of both the negative and positive aspects to their addiction, and afterwards try to find other ways to obtain the same positives, while reducing the negatives.