Addiction is a powerful and dangerous thing. It can override our other priorities, our decision-making, and even our morals. When you’re in the grip of an addiction, you may find yourself losing touch with everything else in your life. Everything you do will be centered around that one most important thing: your next fix.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. While there’s no “cure” for addiction per se, there are roads to recovery. Addiction may make you feel powerless, but you do have the power to choose a better life. With a few key decisions and the right people helping you, you could reclaim the substance-free life that you had before and deserve.

Do you have a problem?

Every journey to recovery begins with one key understanding. If you’re going to conquer a substance abuse problem, then the first step to recovery is to admit that you have one.

This isn’t an easy thing to do. Denial is one of the most powerful weapons that addiction has over you. Addicts find it all too easy to rationalize their excesses and the decay of their lifestyles. Denial can be a kind of defense mechanism, experts say: It allows addicts to keep giving in to their addiction while also preventing them from reckoning with the damage that addiction has already done to their lives.

Don’t give in to denial. Know the signs of addiction, take online quizzes, and use other resources to determine if you really do have a problem. Once you know that you do, you’ll be able to seek the help that you need and get on the path to recovery.

Getting help

Life is tough, and many of us rely on networks of friends and family members to get us through tough times and rough days. Relying only on these people for addiction recovery is neither fair nor adequate, though. To actually maintain sobriety and reclaim your life, you’ll need the help of professionals.

Fortunately, there are many psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists who specialize in addiction. Addiction, after all, is a form of mental health condition (and a fairly common one, at that).

There are wonderful support groups and twelve-step programs that can help you find and maintain your sobriety. These groups will help you connect with others who have been in some of the same mental places that you have been, and many such groups are specialized by types of addiction (for instance, Alcoholics Anonymous is for alcohol addiction).

Fitting recovery into your life can be tough, because it requires a lot of time, willpower, and focus. Sometimes, taking a break from your daily routine and focusing entirely on your recovery is the best move. That’s why there are respected rehabs in the United States, Canada, and beyond.

These facilities, which include both inpatient and outpatient centers, are designed to provide counseling, care, and an environment in which those things are made easier and more effective. If you feel that rehab might be the right choice for you, then you should speak with your mental health care provider about choosing one.

Counseling, therapy, support groups, and rehab can help you get sober. They can also make it easier to stay that way. Make no mistake: While kicking your habit will transform your life, your addiction will not disappear. To avoid a relapse, you’ll need to stay vigilant and to stay committed to your new life and your mental health. If you take care and invest in your future, you’ll find that you can stay on top of your addiction and live the fruitful, beautiful life that you truly deserve. It all starts with a single step. Are you ready?

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