Alternatives To Taking Drugs: Substitution Therapies

When you are trying to quit a drug habit, you may find that unless you can replace the habit with a healthier habit, you are going to be revisiting rehab centers in the future. Substance abuse therapy involves more than detox and cognitive behavioral counseling. It involves finding triggers and learning how to deal with triggers. That is where the concept of substitution therapy comes in. Here is more on that very subject. 

Trading Good for Bad

Any addiction is about an unhealthy coping mechanism. To stop using drugs and get a better fresh start on life, you have to work with a trained therapist to find out what good habits you can trade for bad habits. It is ongoing process since not every good habit is a good fit for everyone with a similar problem. Yet, if you can find between one and three good habits to replace one bad habit (i.e., drug use), and put those good habits into practice consistently, you will find that things get easier and easier to manage.

Consider the habit of smoking. When people want to quit and find that is really hard, they have to find a substitute. Sometimes that substitute ends up being food, which is not so bad, but it has to be the right foods in the right amounts. Another substitution for smoking is any activity that keeps your hands busy and burns off nervous energy. Instead of a cigarette, squeezing a stress ball, knitting, or weightlifting can help. Even using little barbells you can keep in a desk drawer at work is worth the attempt. With more difficult drugs, you have to find an even better substitute. 


A lot of therapists will suggest hobbies or short-duration activities to distract you from what is causing you to crave your drug of choice. You have to ask yourself what it is that you enjoy doing (besides drugs!), and if you are not sure that you have a hobby, you can explore all available hobbies to find ones you like. Additionally, when you are not spending money on drugs, you are better able to spend that money exploring different hobbies. Keeping your hands busy and your mind off of drugs will help you stay away from people and places where drugs can be found, which is also key in your recovery. 


Your body is going to need help recovering from detox and withdrawal symptoms. Exercise helps restore your body to better health faster. Exercise programs also create the natural dopamine, adrenaline, and endorphin rushes you feel from drugs, which makes exercise the ideal healthy substitution for drug use.