The period of physical withdrawal from all substances – drugs, medications, and sugars – is called detoxification, or detox for short. If you have been putting an addictive substance into your body on a daily or reoccurring basis, abstaining from that substance will cause some level of physical withdrawal symptoms to occur.

Detox Safely

Your body (mainly your liver, lungs, and skin) will detox you naturally. Toxins leave the body at varying rates of speed, and depending on the type of toxin, can cause a range of physical complications. Commonly during a hard detox, symptoms vary from mild physical discomfort to those similar to a severe flu. It’s best to be under a physician’s care when detoxing, especially when abstaining from drugs like alcohol, barbiturates, opiates, and benzodiazepines, which due to their chemical properties, require monitoring by a medically trained professional. Detoxing is a necessary stage of recovery, but be careful to follow medical guidelines, especially if you’ve had a history of seizures, cardiac issues, or other complications related to detoxification. Get evaluated for conditions such as hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Most people detox at home or in a hospital. There are private programs or publicly funded detox centers that have medical backup. Contact your physician, local treatment program or hospital, or look for “Addiction. . .” “Alcoholism. . .” or “Drug Abuse. . .” in your phone book or on the Internet.

 Note: It can be dangerous to refrain from all drugs, especially if you’re on medications for a severe mental illness or a physical condition. Ask for advice from respected and informed professionals and follow it during early recovery.

Relief of Withdrawal Symptoms

All methods discussed below are effective in relieving physical withdrawal symptoms in the detox recovery stage. Each method can be used alone or together with other options.

Not all withdrawal symptoms are physical. There are also emotional withdrawal symptoms. Addicts build an attachment, or affection, to a particular substance or behavior. Letting go of the substance or behavior can prompt a sense of loss, causing emotional pain. Both emotional pain and physical withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated through the methods below.


Nutritional supplements are a prime option for relieving physical withdrawal symptoms due to their immediate and effective results, minimal side effects, and no potential for abuse. For optimal results, it’s best to work with a nutritionist, whose knowledge will be helpful and sometimes necessary. Many physicians do not have an extensive knowledge of nutritional supplements. If possible, talk to your physician regarding your desire to try alternative approaches, or at least keep him or her informed of the alternative approaches that you are taking.

Amino Acids

Most people can experience powerful symptom relief from basic amino acid supplements. An amino nutrient blend is even more effective, but costs more. Amino acids can relieve physical and emotional pain, and they can reduce or stop cravings, anxiety, and depression. They also stabilize blood sugar and promote the rebuilding of your brain and body to a healthier state. Amino acid supplements are sold over-the-counter; the higher the purity (in the mid 90% range), the better. But ensure your source for nutritional supplements are from a reliable supplier!

When it comes to the dosage, be cautious. Test with 1⁄4 of the suggested dose and wait 30 minutes to see how you feel. The only way of knowing the exact amount you need is with a blood test, which is expensive, trial and error should also work well to help you decide what dosage works best for you. The body’s response to amino acid supplements is rapid. Some people claim to have taken higher than recommended dosages of amino acids with no serious side effects, but to begin, do not exceed the recommended dosages listed on the package. Powdered Vitamin C can eliminate side effects.

An intravenous amino acid drip is known to be effective for extreme withdrawal of difficult substances, but at this time, there is limited documentation and availability of the procedure in the US.

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Getting Started on Your Immediate Recovery

Start Your Journey into Your Recovering Future

Take appropriate action. Plan, build support for, or start a treatment program! You will benefit from reading my complete book – Thriving Beyond Addiction – but reading it without taking action only gives you facts, not results. Recovery is an emotional experience. You’ll need to open up and recognize your feelings, and allow them to guide you. Once you understand what you need to do, take action as soon as possible.


Finding Support

Every recovering addict needs help and encouragement. Even if you decide to use only my book as the basis for your recovery (not recommended), you’ll want an active core support group. Consider friends and family as part of you support group, ideally who are in recovery and can relate, but only accept help from those who’ll give you quality support and good direction, who’ll be there for you in the hard times. Trust those you have chosen to work with, unless you discover you shouldn’t.

Eliminating Cravings and Neutralizing Triggers

Addictions occur because of excessive behavior, like the abuse of substances, that overstimulates the neuropathways in the brain, causing cravings that can be difficult to suppress. Cravings do not go away overnight. All addicts in recovery have cravings, which can cause a range of issues, from occasional discomfort to an addict’s return to using. Though cravings can develop on their own, they are also caused by triggers, environmental cues that initiate the rapid fire of neuropathways, such as when a smoker sees a cigarette. To be successful in recovery, it is mandatory to minimize or eliminate these triggers.

There are effective techniques for neutralizing triggers. Cravings can also be reduced or eliminated with options such as: awareness of your desire for recovery (called Your Heart Trigger); distractions like fun and humor, nutritional supplements (Vitamin D, Omega 3, and L-glutamine), and a high-quality diet. Always check with your M.D.

Reduce Cravings

Stress is a major cause of triggering. Reducing stress will neutralize triggers or at least lower the likelihood of being triggered and succumbing to relapse.

Other methods to deter cravings include acupuncture, meditation, progressive relaxation, and sleep.

Medical Exam

Medical Exam

A physical examination by a medical doctor is highly recommended, especially when abstaining from drug and food addictions. Be honest with your MD about your situation and issues. For instance, sex addicts need to get tested for STDs. Ask about vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and nutritional supplements. Medication for relief of physical withdrawal symptoms may be necessary. If possible, work with a physician who specializes in addiction medicine (or at least one who understands addictions) and who will consult with an addiction nutrition specialist. Ask for a referral through the association, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).



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Breathe deeply and slowly!

Welcome to recovery. I bet it took you a long time to get here. Breathe. Your life is about to change for the better – if you stay on your recovery road. You may experience some hard bumps along the way, but it is worth the effort to work through and smooth them out. If you don’t return to using, you WILL realize many positive changes in your life. Until you start recovery, you are stuck in “Nowhere Land,” with your mind confused and your heart caught between two worlds. Treatment professionals call this the pre-treatment stage. During the pre-treatment stage, your addict self falsely believes using is the answer to all your problems, while the dopamine in your brain, altered by your addiction, incorrectly sends you the message that you need to use to survive. At the same time, you know you need to change your lifestyle. What a struggle!

It takes courage to start recovery, courage you have shown even by picking up this book to learn how to change your life for the better. By using your inner and outer resources, you can keep traveling along your recovery road, and be successful, no matter what is thrown your way. Stay courageous! You can do it!

Recovery begins as you commit!

To Get a Good Start:

  • Contact your physician! Have a check-up! Be honest! Follow all medical advice.
  • Practice abstinence from all addictive substances and behaviors.
  • Join a recovery program. Sit there, listen, and take it all in. You do not have to do a thing. Magic can happen if you just keep going back.
  • Accept recovery into your life. It takes work, but consider whatever event that got you into recovery as a blessing. Do whatever it takes to stay the course. As you progress along your path, acknowledge, nurture, and reward yourself.

It's in Your Hands - Honesty, Acceptance, Nutrition, Direction, Support - Five Keys for recovery!

Learn about the PINK CLOUD that is experienced in early recovery. You may not consciously want to use, the abstinence may feel wonderful, but when this “pink cloud” collapses (and it will), your fall to earthly reality will be much easier if you have begun building your recovery structure.

See yourself successfully completing your first steps!

If you want to start your recovery, don’t allow your addict self to sabotage what you want by indulging in, “I’ll do it soon,” or “I’ll be okay,” type of thinking. If you truly cannot begin now, set yourself up for success by taking action to ensure that you will follow through ASAP. Examples of taking action are: contacting a referral center and asking for help; making an appointment with a counselor for the first possible appointment time; going to a self-help support group meeting; or signing a clear and specific, time-limited contract with yourself and putting it in a visible place. Whatever you decide to do, commit, take whatever action you can, and follow through.


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Common Terms Related to Addiction Recovery

Common Terms in Addiction

Some common terms you will become familiar with during your recovery:

Approach, program, and structure will be used to mean the same thing.

Addict will refer to someone actively involved with any physical addictions or addictive behaviors, or at least has not yet embraced recovery.

Clean and sober will mean abstinence from mind-altering addictive drugs or addictive behaviors.

Drugs will include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, over-the-counter and prescription medications, and processed food, especially (processed) sugar, sugar substitutes, and processed carbohydrates.

Feelings will mean emotional feelings and body sensations.

Higher Power, spirit, spiritual, Source, and The Source are used to mean the same thing.

Mental and emotional or mental-emotional are used to mean the same thing as psychological.

Recovery and recovering are used to describe an addict who is clean, or sustaining a maintenance addiction, and actively involved in a recovery program and personal growth.

Triggers and cues mean the same thing.

Using or use mean active involvement in any addiction or addictive behavior.

The 123 approach may not be enough!

Understand that, like every other addict, you can only stay clean by choosing to turn away from the darkness of your addiction and towards the light of recovery – one moment, one breath, one step, one day at a time. Know that every day, even every hour, that you are clean is a success for you. Your experience, knowledge, and confidence will build day by day.

Thriving Beyond Addiction offers you the knowledge that can enable you to have a second chance at a first-class life. And it’s yours if you choose it. Breathe slowly and deeply!

Feel your joy, love, & excitement!

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