Addiction Strategies - The Need for Patience

Addiction strategies  to help an addict need to be simple to follow and applied consistently. Addiction does not happen overnight, nor does recovery and to offer the best support that you can, one essential approach to adopt is being patient in recovery. To support a loved one to beat their addiction to gambling, drugs, alcohol or whatever addiction they have will take lots of resilience, patience and understanding.


Progress will not be straight forward and many people in addiction make some progress and then resume old patterns of behaviour. Prepare yourself for fluctuating progress and for the recovery process to take many months, even many years.


During the first stages towards recovery an addict has very little self esteem and can be easily set back by even the smallest barrier or obstacle. During this time, when you are keen to adopt pro-active addiction strategies to support the addict, demonstrating patience and understanding will help the addict find the resources to keep trying. It is at this time an addict may feel ambivalence to changing, even if outwardly they are saying to you that they want to stop their addictive behaviour. In essence they are coming to terms with never being able to do something that has been their focus and purpose for much of their recent history. This period can be better understood as grieving by the addict, grieving for the addict that they are letting go of. As with all grieving processes, it takes time and there is a period of denial, a period of confusion and a period of anger.

During this time they may continue to revisit their old behaviour and take deliberate steps to undermine their progress.

At the same time, as they adjust to a new way of dealing with their thoughts and feelings. These newly emerging thoughts and feelings may feel alien and strange, so even though they may be getting better they may feel lost and alone.Be patient with their fluctuating moods, extreme emotions and foten unreasonable behaviour. To keep you grounded and motivated, see these outbursts as them healing and getting back to themselves.

These outburst are due to them having to deal with their emotions for the first time in a long time. They will be overwhelmed by these emotions and will be learning how to safely cope with them instead of using their addictive behaviours to cope with them. The different addiction strategies will keep changing as new challenges occur so use the website to learn about how to boost motivation, how to see positives in any negative experience and how to keep going when the journey of recovery becomes difficult.

Simple addiction strategies to keep you moving forwards.

1: You are aiming to reduce using first. 

This can be done by reducing the amount or the frequency. Choosing to stop after a certain amount has been used, or to have not using days.

2: Aiming to swap your behaviour.

Here you are choosing to build on strategy one but opting to do something instead of using, including having a walk. You will still be at a point where you are using regularly but learning what else can work for you and what limits the new strategy working.

3: Choosing to stop

At this point employing urge surfing, distraction techniques or engaging the support of others will be vital.

These are just a few of the early reduction techniqeus you can employ. Use them at the right time and with addictions using substances you should seek professional help during any changes.

Lapse is common

This loneliness and confusion of recovery can be a thankless task and the frustrations can come out as anger, short temper, or being very emotional. At this time remain patient and demonstrate that you care. Lapse will still be common here as addicts often revisit what they know to deal with these alien thought and feelings.

As the addict gets used to these new feelings and becomes more experienced at dealing with their emotions without returning to their addictive behaviour, their self esteem will begin to develop and they may challenge themselves more and more. At this point new addiction strategies to support the addict are more likely to be necessary as they may be vulnerable to complacent or contradictory behaviour. Share the relapse prevention strategies on this site  to support them.


This can result in putting themselves in ever more risky situations, neglecting to be honest about how they feel and instead lapsing. Recovery is not regular in progress. Progress ebbs and flows and so does the risk of relapse. It takes time to learn from mistakes, but it also takes time to leave old addict “friends” and build new supportive networks.

During this transition, from old acquaintances to new supportive relationships, feelings of loneliness may re-materialise and with it the loss of desire to remain in recovery accessing groups like SMART recovery can really help make new friends and combat loneliness.

Progress not perfection

Again, even after months of abstinence from the addictive behaviour, to best support a person in recovery, it is essential to observe patience in recovery, allow for and expect mistakes. Allow time and energy to learn from these mistakes and accept that recovery is a learning process built on every changing circumstances and resources. Be realistic, aim for progress not perfection. One of the best resources you can offer someone in recovery is time, so be patient with them.

The range of techniques to support an addict are contained around these pages but the best of all addiction strategies should be built on patience, an acceptance that recovery will take time.

Take your time, be patient, there will be challenges but you will reach the finishing line eventually.

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