You may have experienced enough pain or frustration from using that you are considering abstinence.
Contemplating abstinence can activate strong anxiety for those who have grown accustomed to a regular habit of using. It can seem like an impossible task and calls for considerable courage and sustained motivation. Many come to choose abstinence after a long or severe history of use. There are numerous advantages to having a season (or a lifetime) of abstinence from using drugs/alcohol.
Some of the advantages of abstinence:
- a safe option (and saves money)
- simplicity: all decisions regarding the substance use are resolved.
- harm from using is eliminated
- psychological / physiological repair can take place
- risk of the consequences of full blown relapse are minimized
- facilitates personal growth, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skill building
- fosters self regulation and developmental opportunities
- helps to enhance self efficacy in breaking other habits
- provides insight into how /why you became dependent on substances
If you are struggling with a decision to continue using or abstaining, take the time to reflect on your goals. This is an important decision that must be made for yourself first. Take the first steps to consider how it could benefit your life. Educating yourself about recovery, speaking with a professional therapist, getting an assessment, looking at your goals as well as your history of using, journaling…are all good ways to begin.
You can do a free online assessment of your alcohol use at www.drinkerscheckup.com.