Breaking The Addiction Cycle: How To Curb Your Substance Abuse In 11 Steps

Breaking your substance abuse addiction cycle is a long-term process. You must be committed to learning new techniques and seeking help from professionals and others in recovery. You’ll need to develop the skills to recognize when you are using, how much you are using, and why you are using. This can help you learn to identify triggers that lead you back into the cycle of use. 

If you’re ready to make a change for yourself, then you can get started by reading these eleven-step process for controlling your substance abuse. 

1. Identify Your Triggers 

Many triggers cause substance abusers to use drugs repeatedly. The most common ones include stress, loneliness, boredom, pain, and dissatisfaction. Identifying these triggers is vital so you can counter them before they lead to relapse. 

You can determine your triggers by identifying situations or events that cause you to use substances in the past. For example, if you were prescribed painkillers after an accident or surgery and started taking them too often or too much, the same circumstances could trigger your use of drugs again. If you had to have a surgery, you should be honest about your doctor about your history and work out a plan that will not involve painkillers. 

In addition, you must avoid situations that might cause stress or create feelings of loneliness because they can trigger your addiction. 

2. Avoid Triggers 

Substances are addictive and can cause a person to use more than they should. For instance, if someone has a drug or alcohol addiction, they will often seek them out despite knowing that they are harmful. Therefore, it is crucial for those suffering from addiction to avoid their triggers as much as possible. 

You can start doing this by avoiding people who use drugs or alcohol and those who have been known to abuse them. It is also essential to steer clear of those addicted to illegal substances like cocaine and heroin. Doing so can help you stay away from the temptation of using these substances again. 

You may also want to ensure that friends who do not seem like good influence on you are kept at arm’s length. This way, you remain focused on staying clean and on track with life goals instead of facing the pressures of using drugs or alcohol all day. 

3. Seek Professional Help 

If you’re struggling with a substance abuse problem, you don’t have to handle it alone. You should be open to professional help. Seeking intensive outpatient program from a medical professional such as a doctor or therapist will help you better identify the root cause of your addiction and seek treatment. 

You can seek professional help from rehabilitation facilities like or something similar. These medical experts can help you treat your addiction and find ways to break your substance abuse cycle so that you can live a happy life free from drugs and alcohol in the future. 

4. Find Support Groups 

Surrounding yourself with positive people who can help you through this challenging time is essential. It’s equally important to find people who are going through the same thing as you. A support group can make you feel better about yourself and the situation. 

Ask your loved ones to join you at meetings and support groups related to your addiction if possible. Especially, include family members affected by addiction, so they can understand what it is like for someone who lives with this disease every day. 

5. Recognize Your Motivational Factors 

Motivation is critical in breaking any addiction, especially with substance abuse. To break your substance abuse addiction cycle, you must understand what drives you. This can help you identify the parts of yourself that are holding you back from succeeding as you break your addiction cycle. 

When recognizing these motivators, you may discover deep-seated emotions or beliefs that have guided your behaviors for years. These thoughts and feelings are often part of the root of the problem (and sometimes even cause) for many struggling with substance abuse. Once you identify these things, it becomes easier to take steps toward changing them and overcoming addiction. 

6. Develop Self-Awareness Of Your Behavior 

Another vital step in breaking your substance use addiction cycle is to develop self-awareness of your behavior. This will help you understand how you are behaving, why you are behaving in a certain way, and what you can do to overcome it. It also allows you to realize that there is hope for change. 

You can build this self-awareness by gathering information about what is happening within and around you that may contribute to the problem. This includes family history, personal history, current events, habits and behaviors (both good and bad), thoughts, feelings, and attitudes.  

The more information you have at your disposal, the better equipped you will be to handle whatever life throws at you. You can then break your substance abuse addiction cycle and replace it with something more positive. 

7. Set Goals For Breaking Your Addiction Cycle 

Once you have developed self-awareness of your behavior and identified the root cause of your addiction, set goals to break the cycle. This helps you to see the benefits of change and gives you a sense of direction. It also enables you to understand better what it might take to break free from substance abuse. 

Make sure these goals are specific and measurable so that you can measure success along the way. These goals may include going out with friends on occasion instead of staying home every night, limiting how much alcohol or drugs you consume each day or week, and changing your diet or exercise routine. 

8. Have An Action Plan 

When setting goals, it’s essential to create an action plan. The action plan should include a timeline, steps, and any other necessary items that will help make sure that everything is on track. 

When you create your action plan, you may write down all the things that make it hard for you to stay sober, such as triggers and cravings. Then, you can figure out ways to deal with them, whether by limiting how much alcohol or drugs you drink or using different coping strategies when these triggers occur. Say someone reminds you of an old friend who used drugs or alcohol all the time. Then, it may be helpful to avoid seeing them altogether until they’ve changed their habits so that they won’t trigger you. 

9. Know When Your Withdrawal Symptoms Subside 

When recovering from a serious addiction, you might deal with mood swings, cravings, and even physical withdrawal symptoms such as headaches or nausea. These symptoms tell you that your body is trying to repair itself from years of drug use. It means that your body is trying to get used to normal life again after years of being high on drugs. 

You must identify how long it will take before these withdrawal symptoms subside so that you can make the right decisions while recovering from your addiction. For example, if you’re a heavy drinker and have recently stopped drinking cold turkey, your body will take about six weeks to recover fully. If you’re a marijuana user who has suddenly stopped using the drug without tapering off gradually, it could take up to two months before your withdrawal symptoms subside entirely. 

10. Establish Healthy Coping Skills 

When you’re going through addiction recovery, it’s normal to go through relapses since your body might still crave substances. However, if you want to totally break your substance abuse cycle, you need to learn how to cope with cravings. This way, you know how to prevent yourself from falling back into the same old habits. 

You can create healthy coping skills by doing fun things. For example, find a hobby or pastime that you enjoy regularly doing. You can also look for ways to relieve stress and anxiety by taking yoga or meditation classes. Following a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the harmful effects of substance abuse on your mind and body. 

11. Keep Track Of Your Progress 

If you’re determined enough and have the right motivation behind your sobriety efforts, you can expect some success with breaking your substance abuse addiction cycle. But if there’s one thing most people don’t do often enough when breaking their addiction cycle, it’s keeping track of their progress. You are advised to do so, as this helps you understand how far you’ve come and how much more work must be done to completely break free from substance abuse addiction. 

You can monitor your progress by keeping a journal or writing down the things you did each day while staying sober. You’ll see if you’ve been making progress by looking at what you did each day and what you have not done as much lately because of your sobriety efforts. It can also help you avoid relapsing back into old habits if they start showing up in your journal again after being gone for a while. 

Key Takeaway 

Substance use disorder can affect your lifestyle in a big way. It can cause you to lose friends, family, and your job. Substance abuse can also lead to legal problems, such as driving under the influence or arrests. This can result in losing custody of your children or getting evicted from your home. Breaking a substance abuse addiction cycle is critical to taking back your life. 

Dealing with your cravings for drugs and alcohol is challenging. Many people fall into addiction repeatedly—and their lives can become unmanageable. Fortunately, there’s something that you can do to break this cycle: you can use these eleven steps to start living a better life.