Crack cocaine is a menacing drug. There’s no doubt about it.
It’s volatile and it’s users can rarely handle their habit. Most spin out in a cycle of powerful addiction and self destruction.
If you are a user than I commend you for being here. You’re here because you’re making a sincere effort to recover. That’s a point that many addicts don’t get to.
Here are 10 tips that will help you or a loved one stop using crack for good.
1.) It doesn’t matter how long you’ve used. You CAN get clean.
How long you’ve used, what you’ve used, where you’ve used or how much you’ve used; it doesn’t matter.
You can still get clean. No matter what.
I know this because there’s proof all around. Some addicts have become clean after 30+ years of abuse, some even longer.
If it worked for them, it can work for you.
2.) Recovery doesn’t start until you TRULY WANT to stop being addicted.
Recovery can be simplified down to one single choice: deciding to stop using drugs.
It’s simple, but you have to want it.
Once you want it enough to accept that choice, then you’re done with rehabilitation.
Of course you’ll still have many painful experiences and strong urges to use throughout your life. But as long as you keep a strong determination to be clean, you’ll remain clean. It’s that simple.
You could push away your entire family and still keep using. You could be sexually assaulted while high and still keep using. You could have countless brushes with death, but if you don’t make that simple choice, you will keep using; all the way to your grave.
Recovery is purely a state of mind. Your motivation is only as good as it’s ability to move you towards that one simple choice: to not use drugs anymore. There is no more need to complicate it. No outside force can stop you from using crack if you don’t allow it to effect you’re decision making.
And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been addicted for.
You, just like every other user, can choose to quit right now. This choice is available to you 24/7. You don’t need to wait for anything else to happen. As long as you don’t run the risk of dying due to withdrawals there is no legitimate reason to keep using.
3.) Get involved with a support community.
Recovering from crack use is a tremendous feat, no doubt.
You’re best bet is to get involved with people who have been able to quit. Enroll in AA, NA, an inpatient recovery center, outpatient recovery or any other group.
The support from those who’ve accomplished rehabilitation will be tremendously helpful.
It doesn’t have to be 12-step oriented if that’s not your thing. Just find something. Surround yourself with those who have successfully done it and let them support you.
You’ll have the best shot at beating this thing if you reach out for help and advice.
4.) Apologize to yourself for all the harm you’ve caused to yourself and others.
The downward spiral from crack addiction can be extremely damaging to the person using and everyone around them.
You can’t change what happened. You can’t change the past, the damage is done.
But you can forgive yourself.
To properly recover you must allow yourself to reconcile with the past. Forgive yourself, develop self gratitude for finding the desire to change.
This is a hugely underestimated part of the road to recovery and is much easier said than done. But ponder this often, and soon you will be ready to forgive and forget.
5.) Don’t spend time with people who are using.
You must be able to build new friendships if you want to stay clean.
Inevitably, people who iuse drugs want everyone close to them to use drugs too. Your friends who use will chip away at your resolve to not use drugs or drink. This isn’t because they are bad people or anything, that’s just the way it works.
So don’t go in areas where there is drug use and avoid people who use. You don’t need the temptation.
Talk to people in support groups. If you like them enough, spend time with them outside of the support group. Also, look for people to spend time with who enjoy activities and hobbies outside of support. If you like them, spend time with them too.
Reshape your life around healthy people and healthy activities and you will have a great boost for recovery.
6.) Try to get enough food and sleep.
This might seem like odd advice in a post about recovering from hard drugs. But it’s actually really helpful.
When you’re hungry and you’re body is depleted it craves stimulation, which for us, means an even more intense craving for crack than usual.
But when you eat enough (healthy) food and you allow yourself adequate amounts of sleep then recovery becomes easier because the intensity of cravings are lessened.
This is because you are providing yourself with actual nourishment instead of constant stimulation. The more we’re nourishing our bodies, the less compelled we’ll be to use.
7.) Contrary to popular opinion, you CAN overcome this addiction on your own.
Some people will tell you that you will not be able to stop using on your own.
But in the end, the choice to stop using has to come from you.
You will be told that you cannot overcome this obsession. That will power is not enough. That the compulsion to use crack will always win out.
Yes, it’s important to remove yourself from people who use and the places you’ve used at. Yes, support programs help tremendously and you should seek as much help as you need as it’s helpful to create an environment of support around you.
But in the end, the choice to recover is within you. Just you.
Own that knowledge, and you will be setting yourself up for success.
8.) Life will never be easy and you will never be perfect
Harsh, I know.
But this isn’t meant to be a let down. It’s a motivator.
NO ONE will ever be perfect and NO ONE will ever have it easy in life. There are constant hardships to face, even for people who have never once touched drugs.
Once the drugs and alcohol are removed, we still have to face the problems we’ve been running from.
Severe and incapacitating depression or anxiety, chronic relationship problems, underachievement, unprocessed traumas, insomnia, anger and rage, self-hate, fear of social interactions, inability to pursue dreams, thoughts of suicide, feeling lost and alone, and constantly thinking about using.
These feelings are important to acknowledge. The agitation they cause might have been what compelled us to use in the first place. These emotions are still lying dormant, waiting to be expressed. Waiting for you to quit using drugs so you can adequately process them.
You have to give space to your wounds. You have to let the pain well up unhindered by intoxication. Allowing them to run their course is the only way to heal.
9.) BEWARE: the “Pink Cloud” syndrome
Coined by A.A members, the “pink cloud syndrome” provides a way to explain the initial excitement and enthusiasm that comes in the beginning stages of sobriety.
This is the same type of excitement that people get from new relationships or from a big move to a new city. It is a honeymoon period, and those strong initial effects will not remain in full force forever.
You are so happy to be clean. You are feeling a surge of clear energy and you sense some of the haze of drug use is lifting. This is an intoxicating feeling and carries a lot of risk with it.
You may feel good now and have no desire to use, but everything changes. No good feelings will last forever. If you are attached to these good feelings then you will become desolate when they fade and you’ll have a higher likelihood of relapse.
Bottom line: don’t be seduced by the initial good feelings of sobriety. Always be ready for new discomforts to arise as you grow into a new person.
10.) Never shy away from asking for advice/support.
Kind of funny. My last tip is to ask for more tips.
Get a sponsor. Find an online community. Ask questions from authorities on rehabilitation.
Also, feel free to ask questions here in the comments or send an email. Every week I will create a Q&A post where I answer your questions about rehabilitation.