You want to stop using drugs – congratulations! You’ve taken the first step. The decision to stop is the fundamental step to making a much-needed change.

The next step is to set yourself up for success – and there are some important points you should keep in mind so that you can remain drug-free for the rest of your life.

This is not a character flaw

Think of all the ads you’ve seen which are aimed at people looking to give up smoking. These ads consistently speak about trying to quit but failing or being able to quit for a period but ultimately falling off the wagon.

These ads often underline the fact that failing to quit is not about weakness or strength of character.

Understand that drug addiction is a disease

Using drugs is not like having a bad habit such as being untidy. Prolonged drug use can actually make changes to the way in which the brain functions. In essence, you become different person from who you were when you began taking the drugs, whatever drug it may have been when you first started taking them.

Addiction has two components to it. The first is physiological – what you took and how it affected you. The second is the psychological – why you took it and what the effect was as a result. Like many other diseases, there’s a behavioral aspect to addiction, and to overcome the symptoms, you need to understand what causes this behavior to begin with.

Here’s the bad news…and then some good news

Addictive behavior can’t necessarily be cured. But like any other chronic disease, you can learn to manage the symptoms to better deal with them.

It all starts with you

You have already taken the most difficult step, which is to recognize that you have a problem and that you intend to initiate change.

Help yourself achieve this change by being very clear as to why you want to end this addiction. How does your substance of choice affect your life? Try listing all the pros and cons, so you can clearly understand your thought process before moving forward.

Another great technique is to “go public” by asking your friends and family for their support. The people to whom you matter most will certainly be happy to help you in any way they can.

Addiction treatment options

You don’t always have to go cold turkey. If you’ve failed in previous attempts to quit, you may already know why your actions didn’t last for the long haul.

The good news is that there are many treatment options available.

Like wearing a nicotine patch to quit smoking, there are medications as well as professional support available to help you detox. You will need a physician’s assistance to get access to the needed medications but enlisting your doctor’s help will often open a host of options that you may not have previously known even existed.

Medical professionals understand that addiction is different for everyone

When dealing with substance abuse, one size does not fill all – ever. The structure of many detox programs may reflect a generalized approach, but programs are often then tailored to your needs and will ultimately perform best for your individual circumstance.

Sometimes the word “program” can be scary all on its own. Maybe you “just smoke a little weed sometimes, it’s no big deal, right? “

You may be right; perhaps you don’t need medical intervention. But if you’ve been smoking marijuana since you were the age of 14 and you’re about to turn 60 years old, it has long become an ingrained habit. The help of psychologists who’ve helped others to kick the habit might be all you need to move passed this behavior once and for all.

You can succeed

The one big takeaway is that you can succeed, but you don’t have to do it alone. Knowing people who have succeeded at what you’re now attempting to do and leaning on them and their experience for support is an excellent way to get your determination to carry you forward through the process. Support groups are accessible, and one of them is sure to be the right fit for your individual needs.