Drugs & Health Blog

In Recovery—Steps to Overcoming Addiction

Sara Bellum

Most people know that addiction, can be overcome with treatment. But like many other diseases, it is often a winding road to get there. So, what are the steps to a healthier, drug-free life?

Seek treatment. The first step to recovery is to decide to seek treatment. It’s hard for people to recognize or admit they have a problem, even when they are putting their lives – or the lives of others – at risk. It doesn’t help that the brain’s decision-making center is impaired when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Treatment may mean medications, behavioral counseling, or a combination of the two.

Learn new habits. Relapse (or returning to drug use) is common with addiction and is an expected part of treatment. Returning to the people, places, or things associated with former drug use can actually trigger relapsebefore the addicted person is even aware of it. Behavioral therapy can teach the person in recovery to avoid these triggers and learn new coping skills so they can make better decisions.

Take it one step at a time. Recovery takes time. Treatment works best when it is long-term, at least 90 days in most cases. And because people treated for drug addiction are vulnerable to relapse even after they’ve been off drugs for a long while, most treatment professionals would say that someone with a past drug or alcohol problem is “in recovery” for a lifetime.

Find treatment. If you are interested in finding drug abuse treatment for yourself or a friend or family member, look up facilities near you by using the Substance Abuse Facility Treatment Locator, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Thanks for your post on teenagers and addiction. Alcohol is the drug of choice for most teenagers. About half of all high school students drink alcohol monthly. Unfortunately, there are plenty of teens who suffer from alcoholism or alcohol abuse. The primary reason they don't get help is denial. The parents of teens often fail to recognize that their children may be abusing alcohol. This is largely due to the fact that alcoholism is rarely associated to teenagers. It's important to note, that alcoholism can affect anyone. It doesn't discriminate and teenagers are just as vulnerable to it as anyone else is.

Best to you,

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well i kinda dont agree but then i do cus all the bad stuff people do can hurt them and might even then kill them


u are rit

Don't do drugs.

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How about if a person begins to frequent old places associated with drinking/drugging or begins associating with old friends still using.

Hi Sara your articles are amazing, we love to read them and paa them along to clients and friends.
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Let's all take time to remember it's National Alcohol and Drug addiction Recovery this month (every Sept). Substance abuse addictions are spiraling out of control these days especially now with prescription drug dependencies. It's unfortunate that many rehab centers focus only on getting a person off their substance. There are facilities out there, however, that taper an individual off their addiction first while teaching them new and healthy habits such as weight training, martial arts, healthy eating habits, and learning new skills.


You gat that right bub
Yeah don't be afraid to say no...
truly inspirational mate

If you need a treatment center check this out.
“Finding a treatment program that meets your needs can provide an enriching experience, one that hopefully will change your life forever. When the time is right for you or your loved one to take the next step and pursue drug or alcohol treatment, make the best decision possible, and then trust in those around you, your treatment team and your peers, to help you reach your goals in recovery.”
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Just bookmarked your site! Ill be back to check out your future postings.. thanks !! very helpful post pleasing awesome fantastic. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

i know drugs are used for fun but peeps this chemical can make you mad;last weak i used cantine b4 i wrote my chemistry exam my head was all over the place and i could not even study it can stay on your mind almost 24hour and you are being undr it control.we all need friends but those who put you on drugs say helllllllll noooooooooooooooo they dont give a dam

Thanks for the post. I got help from a sober living called New Life House. It is a place for young adults who have problems with drugs and alcohol. Check out their site if you are looking for help. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

Thanks for the amazing steps to follow in recovery time. I have come across a great website help in overcoming drug addiction check it: [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

It's wonderful to read of all the young people trying to get help. It has taught this 46 year old a lot. Keep up the good work. Mrs. Brown
Alcohol addiction is one of the major problems that our society is being cursed with today. Alcohol addiction is becoming very common among many teenagers, young adults and even among many middle aged and older men and women. Alcohol use and abuse have also been identified to be linked or associated with car crashes, accidents and accidental deaths at the workplace, domestic violence, many physical conditions, mental depressions, aggravated assaults, crimes and many health risks leading to death. So it's apparent that alcohol addiction is a serious problem that should be treated. [link removed per guidelines]
Marijuana is the drug of choice in the teen market. Our attitude is that it is a safe drug to legalize. We thought that about tobacco, even cocaine equipment was sold in the Sears and Robuck catalog in the 1920s Our culture makes light getting high....then thinks that rehab can fix it. Unfortunately prison and mental institutes end up rehab Parents keep your kids away from kids you do not know for as long as you can. You can teach your kids the harm of drugs but when it is fun for the friends and other parents let it be or after all they are 18 ignore it life can turn upside down. Right now everyone is happy for marijuana.......I doubt that will be the story in twenty years Except for those who made the profit
i think that you CAN NOT over come an addiviton from a treatment. its how people think and addiction is all in your mind and if you wonnt to stop FOR SURE it will happen. you have to be really ready and no what going to happen and no how your going to fill !!!!!
I have been in recovery for 2 years. Today is my two year sober mark. I t is absolutely possible to recover in treatment. Being taken away from the world and really focusing on what you want is awsome. You have too want it tho. My drug of choice was heroine. I never thought i could stop, and i had alot of near dealth situations. But i applied what i learned here and i have been Two years sober. THANK GOD. Treatment is possible and it can help.

@keirstynn Thank you for sharing. Congratulations on achieving such a milestone!

JUST STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I recently found out that one of my brothers has been abusing prescription pain medication. We've tried to support him when he was trying to quit cold turkey. He's been relapsing for the past couple of months. I really liked your point about learning new habits to prevent relapsing. I hope that I can help him learn healthy habits so that he can stop abusing drugs. [Commercial Link Removed, Per Guidelines]
There really are just so many ways that people are sneakinging drugs into the every-day life, Man! you gotta be extra careful or you'll fall into the wide open trap!
Say no to substance use and abuse guys speak out, speak up take control yeeeeeeeeeeeeepi
guys can you write some health issues an addict can face while overcoming smoking addiction? pls

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