I know there’ll be a lot of people interested in this thread because figuring out the best time to stop using isn’t easy. There is a simple answer though……………THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE PERFECT TIME TO STOP USING!!!
As your chosen date gets closer you’ll more than likely start doubting if you’re ready. There’ll be a birthday or some other special occasion coming up and you’ll want to use “one last time”. The withdrawals will get to be too much in the early few days and “just one more time” to stop the discomfort or pain will seem like the best thing to do. You’ll start telling yourself that “life isn’t that bad” even though a week earlier you wanted nothing more than to be clean and sober. You’ll tell yourself that “life will be boring without it”. You’ll find the changes necessary “too hard” and convince yourself that “I can do this my way, I’ll just stop using this time because I’m serious”.
That thinking is all crap………….but everyone who’s lived with addiction has been through it. You can wait till the pain becomes too much, till you’ve lost all friends, family, connections employment and worst of all……….until you’ve lost all hope………..and then you become willing to try anything to stop. It’s called the gift of desperation but trust me……..it’s not a nice place to be………..and not everyone makes it back from there. Addiction is deadly and what’s deadliest is that it’s just as dangerous whether you’re in active addiction, detoxing, early recovery or established recovery.
Addiction is a mental battle. Sure there’s the physical element of the substance but when you’re trying to make change it’s your mind that will beat you. It’s your mind that’ll convince you that you can’t do it or it’s not worth it. There’ll be sleepless nights. There’ll be times where all you want to do is sleep. You’ll be edgy, fidgety, agitated. You’ll have moments where you’ve got surges of energy. You’ll want more medication from the doctor to “take the edge off” because your mind is trying to convince you that you need something to survive. Your thinking will be affected because of the sleep issues. Your diet will be affected and this will affect your thinking. Your mind will continue to play tricks on you.
When you get through the detox your mind will tell you that you’re “fixed”. That you can “do it differently this time”. The trouble with life after the detox period is that it doesn’t seem as exciting or as enjoyable because you’ve been living in a false sense of reality with false expectations of what normal feels like. It takes time for your body and mind to get back in alignment and for the enjoyment of life to return. There are just sooooo many tricks your mind will play.
As you get into a decent period of recovery and further down that road the mind plays tricks again. This is why people lapse or relapse after months and years of abstinence. It’s life that throws problems at you and your mind that convinces you that you “need” something to help you get through. Doing everything you can to prevent yourself from using again is key here because……………THERE IS NO GOOD TIME TO START USING!!!
So there’s no perfect time to stop and there’s no good time to start. Once you start you’re back in the cycle and it’s bloody hard to stop again because your mind is back playing the tricks it’s been playing the whole time. In order to stop you have to prepare for the hard times. You have to accept that it’s going to be hard. That your body will convince your mind you don’t want to do this…………but you can do it.
Preparation and acceptance are key. I’m not here to tell you that it’ll be easy………..but I am here to tell you that it’ll be worth it. My worst day in recovery is better that my best day in active addiction.
There is no perfect time to stop using………….but whatever time you pick is the right time.
I'd love to hear your thoughts
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