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Total Abstinence: Staying Drug-Free during Addiction Treatment

Total-AbstinenceThough any steps made toward reducing drug use are moves in the right direction, those in addiction treatment for stimulants like cocaine should make total abstinence a priority. Attempts to control stimulant use instead of ceasing it will seldom be successful, and continuing to use even in a limited way can put you at a high risk of legal and medical repercussions.

While stimulant addicts are of course at the highest risk when using stimulants, “total abstinence” means avoiding other psychoactive substances as well. Though some resist this notion because they’ve been able to use substances like alcohol and marijuana in moderation, there are compelling reasons to avoid all intoxicants during your addiction treatment in Princeton or New York.

Total abstinence is so important because any psychoactive substance can:

  • Make it harder to resist temptation. Just about any intoxicant will strip you of inhibitions, making you far more likely to give in to impulse. Alcohol in particular seems to make it more difficult for cocaine and methamphetamine users to resist stimulants.
  • Lead to substituted addictions. When recovering addicts quit using their drug of choice, they may turn to other substances in an attempt to reach a substitute high. This can lead to dependencies on other drugs, which can make addiction treatment much more difficult. Because of its legality, availability and social acceptability, alcohol is particularly risky for recovering stimulant addicts.
  • Slow the brain’s recovery from previous chronic drug use. Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine have an impact on the brain’s functions. Though the brain will naturally begin to heal during treatment for substance abuse, many intoxicants have similar impacts on the brain and can slow its progress back to normality. Staying completely abstinent will make it more likely for your brain’s recovery to be quicker and more substantial.
  • Make you crave stimulants. Though stimulant addicts often use drugs like alcohol and opiates to ease stimulant side effects, this can lead to an association between using these different kinds of substances. As such, using other drugs can be a direct trigger to the brain, setting off cravings that may eventually lead to stimulant use, even if you have never had a problem with these other drugs before. For recovering stimulant addicts, relapses are frequently preceded by drinking alcohol.

Because the idea of abstaining from your drug of choice can be intimidating enough, it can seem like a burden to avoid all psychoactive substances during your addiction treatment in Princeton or New York. However, avoiding intoxicants of all kinds will give you the best chance at making a healthy recovery from substance abuse. To stay relapse-free and on the road to recovery, total abstinence should be a high priority.

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