So far, the blog postings this year have focused on those who are newly quitting. If you’re several months, or longer, into your clean time, most of this may not apply to you. But you may know someone to whom it does apply. So even if you are beyond these first few days and weeks of recovery, I hope you find something that helps your recovery in some way — if only to remind you of what you might tell a friend who’s trying to quit. In a few weeks, I’ll post again on a broader topic of recovery from crystal meth. Until then…
So you’ve just quit. Here are 4 Actions that will help:
- Replenish Your Body
One of the first things you’ll want to do is to break away from the “meth diet.” This usually consists of Ensure, Gatorade, and the occasional protein drink every other day. Here’s what you need to do.
Eat: Start eating solid foods.
Hydrate: Drink enriched water, vitamin enhanced water, or, even better, coconut water.
Get your stomach back in shape: Try probiotic drinks like Kefir and yogurt. I especially recommend Yakult, a great product from Japan available in most major chain grocery stores.
Vitamins: Take a multi-vitamin daily. Maybe double up for a week. Also increase your potassium intake. Probably the best source is coconut water, but there are always bananas.
And, of course, the next best thing you can do for your body is to rest. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Let your body recover from the intense run you’ve just been on.
- Calm Your Mind
As with replenishing your body, resting is very important. This means not only sleep, but you also might want to rest your mind by “zoning out” with a marathon of your favorite TV shows or movies. “Thank God for streaming Netflix,” one addict told me. “I spent my entire Withdrawal binge watching hours and hours of Glee.”
Basically, you’re just trying to get through the next week or two without stressing your body and mind any more than they already are. In this “detox” phase of your recovery, you may be depressed and, most likely, highly emotional. Your brain is desperately trying to heal right now. Try to give it a break and just zone out with something mindless from time to time.
And if you are quitting under the care of a doctor, she or he can tell if you need Ativan or Klonopin (and will prescribe a limited amount) to help calm you from the immediate physical and emotional distress of withdrawal. No medical advice here, though. Ask your doctor and it helps if he or she is familiar with addiction medicine.
- Banish Shame
It’s natural to feel ashamed of the mess your life has become because of this disease. But, if you are to survive, you’re going to have to jettison any shame, at least for the time being. After you’ve moved through the initial stages of recovery, you will be able to address the damage you’ve done and find other ways to move forward responsibly.
For today, try to remember you have a disease. Your brain is still physically malfunctioning and it’s going to take time to heal. It is crucial that you give yourself this time. Feeling shame can keep you in a loop—or shame spiral—where, instead of moving forward with healthy recovery, you become overwhelmed with guilt and keep relapsing. For the sake of your sobriety, you must banish shame from your life today.
Here’s the blunt fact: shame is the great enemy of recovery, in both the short and long term. And finally…
- Do Not Make Any Big Decisions
Well, this is not really an action, but an inaction. Now is not the time to make any of those “big” life decisions. In fact, you can’t trust your decision-making process at this point because your brain is a mess.
Now is not the time to quit your job or end a relationship. Now is not the time to come clean to grandma about your addiction. Now is not the time to confess anything to anyone, period.
Just sleep, rest, and eat—for now.
This is just a beginning. There are many things you can do to help maximize your success at quitting this awful drug. I know it seems like you’ll never be free of it, that life can’t exist without meth at least somewhere in the picture. But that’s not true. You had a life before you became addicted to meth. Here’s something I like to do. On a Saturday morning, go to a farmer’s market and see all the happy and joyous people interacting, buying food, talking and laughing. These are people living vibrant, full lives in the light of day without meth. You used to live that way and can again.
You CAN quit crystal meth.
Today if you decide to start the journey. These 4 actions will help. They were adapted from the chapter two of my book, Quitting Crystal Meth. The entire chapter is on this website. Just see the tab up top. I hope it helps. Peace.