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How to Get Through Withdrawals Successfully
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How to Get Through Withdrawals Successfully

Learning to get through withdrawal symptoms can make or break your recovery, so we will cover some of the basic ways of working your way through this challenging time. Withdrawal symptoms will vary depending upon which addiction you are trying to recover from, but there are also some basic similarities we can focus on. Withdrawal symptoms fall into three basic categories; 1. Physical symptoms, 2. Psychological symptoms, and 3. Spiritual symptoms. We will cover each area in a little more detail, to better understand each of them separately.

Physical symptoms- Our bodies were created to incorporate new drugs into our systems so that the side effects from those drugs would not debilitate us from functioning normally on a daily basis. Our brain can also get addicted to pleasurable activity releasing endorphins. Our physical chemical mix adjusts to the new drug and gets used to it, so that we can press on with our regular daily duties, without the side effects lasting forever and bogging us down. When we take a drug out of our normal chemical mix, our bodies get confused because it has trained itself to think that it needs that drug to function normally. Whether it is nicotine, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, or whatever, your body or mind have become dependent upon, your system will send alarm signals out to tell you that you need to gratify its desire for that drug or habit, much like your stomach tells you that you need food. The difference is, that your body can live without the addiction if it is not required to treat a legitimate medical problem, but you cannot live without food.

Typical physical withdrawal symptoms may include the shakes, delirium tremens (DT's), headaches, profound confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, hyperactivity, mild to extreme cardiovascular disturbances, itching, sweating, nausea, anxiety, rapid heart beat, and increased blood pressure. Some of these symptoms can be serious, and can possibly lead to seizures, strokes, or even heart attacks, so extreme care should be taken in such severe cases, and you may need to detox in a hospital detox ward under the supervision and care of a medical staff. It really helps to have someone with you either way, so that they can get you the things that you need while detoxing (water, medications, food etc.), or call someone for help if necessary.

Psychological symptoms- Certain other addictions like eating disorders, gambling, self injury, or whatever other non-substance based addictions, may be more psychologically challenging than physically challenging to overcome, but it has also been proven that psychological withdrawal symptoms can produce physical withdrawal symptoms as well. You see, extreme fear of not being able to practice your addiction can set off all of your fear and panic alarms, which can lead to a physiological reaction to not having it. Those of us that have become mentally addicted to something, can feel that our addiction protects us from harm, and fulfills us in life, so facing life without it can set off our fight or flight responses and get a lot of adrenaline pumping through our bodies. Actually, ironically, addictions produce the very threats that are causing most of our problems, so it is actually creating the very danger and trouble we think it is protecting us from. It is pure deception at its worst. Plus we have trained our brain to live off of the endorphins we have been making it produce all the time. When we are withdrawing, we can become very defensive, aggressive, adversarial, oversensitive, and over-reactive, (like a "dry drunk" so to speak), so we create our own threats and problems by lashing out at those around us, and we can actually create an atmosphere for a possible relapse. This crazy, angry, irrational stage will pass in time.

Spiritual symptoms- This may sound like an odd area to have withdrawal symptoms from, but when we practice an addiction long enough, it can create a spiritual dependency upon the addiction where certain spirits with the nature of that addiction, can actually try to pressure us into continuing that addiction so that they can gratify their lustful desires for that addiction through us. Many people that use drugs are trying to reach into the spiritual realm, and this can be very addictive as well. I believe that many of our so called "demons" are nothing more than our own attempts to gratify our lust for pleasure and protection, but I also think that there are spirits that gain control over our lives through the very addictive habits we practice everyday. You see, spirits of addiction are attracted to activity that is similar to their nature, like a spirit of alcoholism gratifies its lust for alcohol through someone who gets drunk, or a spirit of nicotine gratifies its desire for nicotine through someone that smokes or chews. This does not mean that you are possessed like in the movie the Exorcist. It only means that you are being "oppressed", or pressured spiritually to continue engaging in that addictive activity, because that spirit has gained legal rights and control over you, because of the addiction you have been continuously practicing. Possession can happen, but it is rare. When you stop practicing an addiction, that particular matching spirit may try to pressure you into relapsing again, because it wants to continue using your body as a tool to gratify its own particular lust or sinful desires through you. Sick I know, but unfortunately very real and true. But when you starve the addiction long enough, and invite Jesus Christ to take over leadership of that area of you life, that evil spirit(s) must legally leave you alone, since it has lost its legal rights over you through repentance. When you stop practicing an addiction, renounce that addiction verbally, and then command that spirit to leave you alone in the name of Jesus Christ, and it will be forced to leave you alone. Demons must always leave in the name of Jesus.

Many times, we experience "cross-addiction" when we stop practicing a certain addiction. We may stop drinking only to start smoking, or we may stop smoking only to start overeating. Our systems are in a state of chemical and psychological crisis and imbalance because we are denying it something that it thinks it needs, so it will automatically seek relief in some other form. In time, as you starve that addiction long enough, it will eventually become weaker and weaker, until it loses all of its power over you and dies out. When you give in to the temptation to relapse, the addictions power over you gets stronger, but when you successfully refuse to give in during temptation, your power over the addiction get stronger. Try to remember that in time, your body will re-balance itself to the new chemical mixture you have given it, and the withdrawal symptoms will end and they will not last forever. Even the mental addiction will be broken, because you will see and understand in your mind that you can live life without that old drug or habit, and that you really don't need the addiction like you thought you did. Also, the spirits connected to your addiction will be forced to leave you alone since its "landing strip" that it used to land on has been destroyed. You will be free, in control, and in your right mind again.

You may find yourself doing a lot of nervous eating at first after quitting an addiction to try to relieve the stress your body and mind are going through. But try not to worry, in time your appetite and stress levels will even out again, and you won't feel so tense and uptight all the time. You can help relieve withdrawal anxiety and stress through light exercise, hot baths, taking a walk, taking a few deep breaths, taking a nap, prayer, reading your bible, or whatever else that you know works for you. Call a friend that has worked through this same addiction and ask for some help. We have been so used to meeting all of our own needs in life through addiction, but this is unnatural, we were created to need other peoples help. Ask God to help you through your time of temptation, and He will help you to get through it one minute at a time if necessary. God will also give you an escape route should things get to be too much for you.

In time, you will be much happier without your old addiction creating problems for you every day, and yanking at your leash to gratify its desires all the time. Addiction takes a lot of hard work and careful planning, and you might be surprised at how much easier life is without all that hiding and sneaking around. Always remember, that withdrawals usually come in waves, so try to sit down, drink a large glass of water, and take a break when things are feeling like they are getting to be too much for you. Try to keep things simple during your withdrawal time and don't start any new big projects or conflicts if possible. During your withdrawal time, you may be tempted to give in and make another quitting date, especially if something stressful happens, but if you do this, you will just have to reach that same spot again later when you try to quit again. Plus you will lose the clean time that you have accumulated. There will never be a perfect time to quit an addiction, so you just have to do it. Think your relapse through to its conclusion and the trouble it will cause you and others should you give in, it isn't so glamorous after you see all the consequences you will face after a relapse. Once you have been free from the addiction for a while, you will be so glad that you are no longer a slave to it. You can get through this withdrawal time my friend, and your life will soon be better for it. Understand that this withdrawal episode will end, and it won't last forever, soon your withdrawal symptoms will cease. You can do this with Gods help.

Here is a prayer to pray when you feel tempted to relapse.

"Dear God, I feel tempted right now to relapse, and I really need your help and strength right now, to get through this. Your word sais Lord, that you will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear, and it also sais that you will give me a means of escape should things get to be too much for me to handle. So please show me how to make my way through this challenging time of withdrawal and if necessary, also show me the door of escape if things get to be too much. Give me the strength I need this day Lord Jesus, to get through each difficult wave of these withdrawal symptoms, and I thank you for helping me in just the way I need it right now. In Jesus name I pray, amen".

Some scriptures to help you.

1CO 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

HEB 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

HEB 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.