Drug use can affect your short-term and long-term health in many different ways. Medicinal marijuana and prescription opioids, for example, are two types of drugs that can improve physical and mental health. However, when the same substances are consumed recreationally, they can be associated with possible poor health outcomes.
In 12-Step programs, it is often taught that past drug use keeps you damaged even if drugs are in your distant past. At Saint Jude, we think this belief prevents people from reaching their full potential. If you have a history of recreational substance use, don't assume you'll always be less healthy than peers who never did drugs. Learning from the past, focusing on the present and building for the future will make you wiser, stronger, and more productive, and it could also make you even healthier than you were before.
After you've detoxed your body of substances and improved your habits, it's up to you to keep substances out of the picture for good or determine if moderation is a healthy choice for you. Withdrawal symptoms are temporary, but the long-term effects of excess substance use include other unhealthy habits.
To keep your brain and body in the best possible condition, you need well-balanced meals, physical activity, plenty of sleep and sunlight. These are important for everyone, regardless of past drug use, but overcoming substance use is an eye-opening experience. You're aware that you deserve to take good care of yourself and a daily schedule which balances these physical and mental needs will ensure your mind and body are in good working order.
If you used drugs because you enjoyed the "high" they created, you may have been unsatisfied with your lifestyle or state of mind. Intoxication can temporarily replace everything from guilt to boredom, so once you realized that drugs could provide an escape from your own thoughts or moods, you continued to seek them out. This behavior pattern of substance use doesn't serve you well long term so now that detox is over, find more productive ways to handle boredom, stress, anxiety and other moods. In the past when you repeatedly pursued instant gratification, it paid off only for the short term but it's time now to buy into habits that emphasize long term delayed gratification and healthier options.
For example, if drugs provided stress relief — or you were just easily bored and liked the thrill of an adrenaline rush — better options could include activities that produce similar short-term "highs". Rigorous physical activity triggers our bodies and brains to produce the very same hormones that are responsible for making us happy and relaxed. If you incorporate regular exercise into your daily or weekly routine, you elevate your own moods on a short-term basis while making your body stronger and healthier in the long term.
We welcome all our guests to focus on improving their lives, whatever that means to you. If you want to stop using drugs and start prioritizing your health, start now. Your experiences could help you make better choices from now on. If you'd like to learn more, call today and talk to one of our Guest Services Consultants about our Cognitive Behavioral Learning (CBL) program and how you can plan for your best outcomes.