In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, we wanted to provide useful resources for people who have struggled to see how valuable their lives are. Let’s help them remember they are not alone.
Content Warning: This article discusses suicide but we believe difficult conversations around how best to discuss mental health in respectful and non-stigmatizing ways is important. If you are in a life threatening situation, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline +1 (800) 273-8255, call or text 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or use these resources to get immediate help.
A life of addiction can lead to a lonely, isolated path. Pair that with the fact that more than 50% of suicides are directly related to drug and alcohol dependence, and the negative cycle of addiction becomes glaringly apparent. Whether people are addicted to drugs, prescription medication, or alcohol the first step is acknowledging that a problem is present.
If you are one of these people, do not make the mistake of thinking you are stuck and beyond repair. You can break free from your addiction or suicidal thoughts through the use of inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, a positive mindset, and a strong support system. Use this toolkit of helpful resources and tips to start along the path to recovery.
You are not alone. There are several helpful resources with the sole purpose of helping you take your life back and break free from your negative thoughts. Here a few to get you started:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
Tips for a Successful Recovery
Seek Professional Help
Although professional help may seem like the go-to route for those struggling with addiction and suicidal thoughts, less than 11% of those addicted to drugs or alcohol receive care at a specialized addiction treatment facility. Likewise, those considering suicide often do not seek help.
The stable environment in an addiction treatment facility will keep you away from any temptations as you embark on your road to recovery. The help you will receive from the counselors at a rehab center is one of the best benefits provided.
These counselors are skilled and trained in the areas of addiction. It is their goal to get you on the right track to living a healthy, happy life. You will learn the proper tools and coping mechanisms that will help you overcome your past and realize you can most certainly live without drugs or alcohol.
If you want a cost-effective alternative to in-person addiction treatment, try online therapy. It can also be a great first step for people who feel like their problems are not severe enough to warrant a stay in an addiction facility.
Eliminate Your Triggers
Relapse triggers are an event, person, or place that gives you justification to return to drug or alcohol abuse. When you are on the path of recovery, it is imperative to your success that you eliminate all triggers. Steer clear of old hangouts and company that condone addictive behaviors. Being around friends with whom you used to partake in illicit activities will only fuel cravings and lead to a relapse.
As you begin to eliminate old behaviors, be sure to fill their spots with new, healthy alternatives. Pick up a hobby, such as joining a community sports league. Or you can volunteer for a local charity, or even start taking a few classes to help you find a career you love.
Surround yourself with supportive people who will be there for you even on your hardest days. It will be helpful to have someone to turn to when you simply need to talk or get out for a bit.
Create New Habits
Substance abuse robs your body of its vitality, so in recovery it is important to get it back. Now is a good time to start exercising and fueling your body with a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
More than likely you did not have the best diet while you were using drugs or alcohol. After such an ordeal, your body may now be showing signs of a long period of malnutrition. Load your body with fresh vegetables, fruit, and lean meats. Be sure to take in plenty of water, too.
Once you become accustomed to filling up with healthy foods, you will begin to notice great changes in your overall health, immunity, and appearance. As you are on this quest to leading a healthy lifestyle, incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Developing a regular exercise routine will improve your mood, energy levels, sense of well-being, and self confidence.
As you continue along this new path, don’t forget to incorporate daily relaxation techniques, especially on those days when your thoughts leave you feeling hopeless. Create a suicide safety plan to turn to when you can’t seem to break free of these overwhelming thoughts.
Other Ways to Cope
The road to recovery is a long one, often filled with bumps. You can get past it, though. Here are a few other suggestions for your recovery:
- Spend some time outside.
- Hum along to your favorite songs.
- Dance it out.
- Hang out with a furry friend.
- Pick up a hobby.
- Practice guided imagery.
As you journey onto your new path, keep in mind that the number one reason you chose to break away from your addiction and suicidal thoughts is because you wanted a better life.
Bio: This toolkit was compiled by Jennifer Scott, founder of SpiritFinder.org. Jennifer has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager, and shares stories about the ups and downs of this on her website.
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