■ Be prepared to have to fight the addiction. At some point you will feel tempted to return to the addictive habits. A doctor or support service will be able to advise you on how to deal with withdrawal symptoms.
■ Have someone you trust that you can talk to at times of weakness or temptation. It also helps to write down the reasons you want to beat the addiction- remind yourself of these reasons when you are going through moments of doubt.
■ Plan ahead- if you know there are situations or times when cravings are likely then have a plan established that will keep you busy and distract you at such times.
■ Consider counseling. Talking to a trained counsellor may help you realize why you have an addiction and help you overcome any personal problems or worries.
■ Tell others that you have decided to beat your addiction. Ask close friends or family to stand by you and be there for you when you need to talk or if you need a distraction.
■ Friends should be supportive of your decision, if you think that the people around you are a bad influence then it’s time to find a new group of friends.
■ Avoid situations and people that could tempt you to use the addictive substance. For example if you are addicted to alcohol, don’t go to the pub or clubbing at the weekend. Instead, have friends round to watch a DVD or for dinner (reminding them not to bring alcohol). The same goes for drugs: avoid parties or places where people will be taking drugs.
■ Stay busy! Take up new sports or past-times to prevent you from getting bored or tempted to lapse.
■ Recovering from addiction is a slow process- it can help to join a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous.
■ Take your recovery one day at a time; don’t think too much about the future, just concentrate on beating the addiction right now.
■ If you have a relapse and return to the addiction- recognizing the problem as soon as possible is crucial. Ask for help straight away so that you can get back on the road to recovery. Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help or support.